Vermont Press Releases

VNRC releases scorecard on community resilience

For Immediate Release — Vermont Natural Resources Council
April 24, 2013

Kate McCarthy, 802-223-2328 x 114

Now Towns can Figure Out How They Stack Up

Montpelier, Vt – A new checklist is now available to help towns rate whether or not they are economically, environmentally, and socially resilient.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council today released The Resilient Communities Scorecard, which builds on the Smart Growth Scorecard published by the Vermont Forum on Sprawl in 2001. The update makes it the first scorecard developed in Vermont that looks at resilience.

“Knowing how your community stacks up is the first step in developing goals, actions, and investment strategies to build or reinforce community resilience in a changing world,” said Kate McCarthy, VNRC’s Sustainable Communities Director.

McCarthy noted that Vermont is facing not only a changing climate, but also increasing energy costs, housing affordability challenges, and the fragmentation of the landscape. This Scorecard helps communities understand how to build resilience across all of these areas in order to help sustain their quality of place and save towns money over the long-term.

Deb Markowitz, the Agency of Natural Resources Secretary, applauded VNRC’s efforts to help communities assess their resilience.

“This scorecard is a useful tool to help Vermont communities think creatively about how to make investments today that will help us survive, and even thrive, in the face of the uncertainty caused by climate change,” she said. “It prompts us to rethink how we build, or rebuild, our transportation infrastructure, how we get and deliver our energy, where and how we grow our communities and preserve or restore ecosystems, and how we create greater economic opportunities for ourselves and our neighbors.”

The term “community resilience” became very common in Vermont in 2011 as a result of the spring floods and tropical storm Irene. But it’s become clear that community resilience applies to far more than the ability to recover from floods.

The 48-page scorecard can be used by planning commissions, select boards, conservation commissions and other local and regional groups. On a variety of topics, it offers questions and multiple-choice answers. After scoring the answers in each category, towns get one of three ratings: “resilient community,” “in transition,” or “needs your attention.” These ratings then connect to resources that communities can use to improve their resilience.

Jeff Forward, Richmond’s town energy coordinator and chair of the Richmond Climate Action Committee, noted that his town has made progress on clean energy and has an active energy committee that’s helping the town and individuals to save money through efficiency and promoting renewable opportunities. He said, however, that recently, local voters failed to pass an important zoning change that would’ve promoted more compact settlement in the village.

“Where development occurs is not just a zoning issue, it is also a big energy issue and the scorecard could be a really useful tool for communities like mine to help us make the case for strategies and approaches that will set the town up for long-term resiliency.”

Montpelier Mayor John Hollar is a strong supporter of increasing bikeability of the capital city and has embarked on an effort to make the city more bike friendly.

“There are a lot of elements to a resilient community,” he said. “One of my visions for Montpelier is a more energy efficient, clean and healthy transportation system – bikes will likely be a big part of that and this scorecard can help cities and towns move that direction.”

The Scorecard can be found online in the “tools” section of VNRC’s Community Planning Toolbox at

A limited number of hard copies are also available at VNRC’s offices at 9 Bailey Ave, Montpelier.

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  • timothy price

    Agenda 21, anyone? Look at how the environmental movement, the “green movement”, the “sustainable communities” ideas are being used to remove private ownership rights. Look at the program of Agenda 21 put forth by Rockefeller, the UN, and the intention to force “a one-world government”. Just because it is promoted to protect the environment does not make it so, nor is Communism preferable to the USA Constitution. It gives us rights which are intolerable to the globalists, and they use any way possible to take us down.


    And it would be a good idea for the Secretary of the ANR to pony up for the 6 million dollar “mistake” in the over-running cost for their now Waterbury facilities. Breaking us financially is also a tactic that is used. Markowitz needs to be held accountable.

    • Kate McCarthy

      Thanks to all who’ve read our press release.

      It’s our hope that sustainability really comes down to giving local communities the tools they need to make decisions that, ultimately, save them money and create the communities they want. Better planning can lead to more cost effective solutions – and now more than ever, people from all sides of the aisle are looking for this kind of fiscal responsibility. This kind of comprehensive thinking can help.

      For other readers I’d like to offer additional information about Agenda 21. It was an initiative of the United Nations, discussed in the early 1990s, particularly to help people in developing nations prosper instead of accepting the environmental degradation that can come along with modernization. The first President Bush endorsed it on behalf of the US. In recent years it has become a focal point for many groups concerned that it underlies a wide conspiracy to remove private property rights and increase government involvement, when in fact it is a document aimed at prosperity. Conspiracy claims distort the original purpose of the bill and are unfounded.

      It’s always worth having a conversation about who does what (government? private individuals? market? neighbors?) so that we can have the lives, land, and privileges we want. The Scorecard can serve as a starting point for the conversation.