Story & Mission
CROs is living proof that beauty can emerge from disaster. We were founded as a product of Tropical Storm Irene. Prior to the storm, our Founder, Peg Elmer Hough, was a planner helping with state- and local-level hazard mitigation processes and teaching Land Use Planning at Vermont Law School. During the storm, her home in South Royalton was decimated. Her work literally hit home, and she became entwined in restoration processes around the state, while being fascinated by what she was watching transpire. She saw some communities that were hit hard and rebounded quickly, while others are still suffering eight years later. Many of the communities that cleaned up damage and rebounded fairly quickly had something in common: social connections and sense of place. Tunbridge, for example, hosts the World’s Fair and has an incredible sense of community. That unifying piece is what makes all the difference when facing disaster. CROs emerged as a vehicle to help build social connections, emergency preparedness, and break down silos between sectors and organizations that often restrict collaboration.
We have since grown in many ways as an organization. Community resilience is far beyond emergency preparedness - and the urgency of climate change is our greatest global threat while also acting as an important impetus for social change. We recognize that the large-scale, top-down systems that have created the climate crisis over many decades are the same social structures that have created hundreds of years of oppression - those that perpetuate racism, classism, sexism, and environmental destruction. Our mission is to provide useful resources and frameworks for communities to address vulnerabilities and harness their place-based strengths by supporting local resource sovereignty and building social connectivity. The mission is re-localization as a tool for climate mitigation, adaptation, and social change. This is the wider picture of resilience.
This is a mission founded on the belief that the industrialization of basic human needs is a symptom of a deeper root issue of disconnection, which has inspired the crux of our philosophy to prioritize building a parallel regenerative culture and systems to shift power with community and individual empowerment at the core of climate action. A critical piece of the climate change conundrum is re-localization of resources. Re-localization of water, energy, food, and shelter resources is the most immediately available method to systematically reduce emissions at the rate required, while shifting attention back to our local communities and what they mean to us. We believe that this is an opening for social and cultural change - cultivating a movement of supporting each other and providing resources we need to survive locally, knowing our neighbors, and creating scalable, adaptable mechanisms for change.