SUSTAINABLE ENERGY RESOURCE GROUP
April 11, 2012
Vermont is a small and very active 'Green' State. For its size, it is amazing that a rural and relatively impoverished State with challenging weather at best, tourism as our major income, could become a leader in this cutting edge arena of energy conservation and general 'greening' of the planet. It is no accident that VT is like this and it has been building decades before 'green' became so politically-correct. The reason for that, in my opinion, is because of the efforts of small, grass-roots organizations lead by visionaries who are also so skilled in the practicalities of taking on long, yet emergency, challenges in a practical, efficient way that they create organizations like SUSTAINABLE ENERGY RESOURCES GROUP. SERG, on a daily basis, makes a practical difference in each person's ability to cut their carbon footprint in our towns and villages beause of it's innovative programs, its decades-long, hands-on experience and commitment in building a movement that will stay productive and in a practical way, get people to gently understand the severe and frightening challenges facing us and then offering, even orchestrating and finding public funding sources to help real individuals make practical changes, weatherizing old homes for little or no out-pocket money bc SERG was instrumental in finding large grant sources, making huge cuts in energy-use and public expense thereon w/our outdated streetlight programs. In our largish-small town, in particular, it has grass-root-garnered support for energy initiatives w/measurable results - generated/coordinated/public funding for weatherization projects on town buildings and countless home-weatherization and energy efficient projects. Day to day in real people's lives, often impoverished persons' lives, SERG has been making a quantifiable difference -- organizing whole brigades of people to canvass our rural area to see who needed help, what kind, and how to make it affordable. This not only helped the people receiving the information, it increased all-out community involvement and commitment by foraging for so many door-to-door teams of volunteers. From nuts to dessert, the whole magilla, and now we have a very large (by VT standards) town populace that is not only far better educated and voluntarily making daily better choices regarding the planet and it's finite sources but are actual physical beneficiaries of a warmer home, a safer to place to live, streetlights that use 1/10th (if that) the power (and money) --a whole town coalesced around energy conversation and conservation in a practical, pass-it-on-to-the-next-generation way that will serve the planet and public good far longer than most of the people on the Board ever envisioned. And it's in my town, and it's changing people, people who otherwise wouldn't have learned or acted AND that's the biggest difference I see w/this organization --it helps in a far-reacing practical way but it also builds community and changes people. Without that level of participation in energy-conservation, that personal commitment, no programs in the world are going to work for long enough to make a difference. -- Plus, SERG has taken it State-wide in building coalitions w/other larger, more 'recognized/sexy' environmental organizations to help them bring the 'theory' into direct practice in the lives of all VT citizenry --but I am privileged to have watched it grow across decades w/the dedication and support of many people but primarily through the hands-on, day-to-day, minute-to-minute, in the trenches efforts of its Exec Dir, Robert Walker, a simple-living, dedicated, quiet example of someone who not only walks his talk but takes it to the far reaches of the State and too often on a shoestring budget. It is a premier, altho under-recognized, charity that I am proud to write an endorsement for. C. Creek Kelsey, Esq. (Juris doctor, cum laud University of San Diego Law School; Masters in Studies of Environmental Law, magna cum laud from Vermont Law School's #1 world ranked environmental program.)
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Personally I have not had occasion to use SERG-only services such as weatherizing, energy audits or programs they have initiated w/other energy-saving partners, as I don't need them yet. I've experienced the results of the organization by participating in the out-reach programs, helping to do weatherization work on our town's Community Center/mtg bldg and seeing firsthand the differences made w/families in my town and thru-out the 'green-community' in VT; plus conferences, education, presentations, etc.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Give it a more reliable source of funding; it appears exceptionally fiscally responsible and to get a tremendous amount accomplished and deserves the funds to continue to do so as efficiently as possible.
How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?
How much of an impact do you think this organization has?
Will you recommend this organization to others?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What is unique about this organization?
It puts the vast majority of any funding directly into effective programs; it is small and can impact people on a one-on-one basis where lasting change has to take place. I personally adore and am involved with larger organizations for the 'place' they fit --helping endangered species, protecting sensitive lands. But often the best meaning of those actions polarizes the sides even more. SERG brings liberal and conservative, even fundamentalist/right-wing, elements together in a practical, cooperative way that will serve to protect rather than divide further. It has remained grass-roots while also being highly respected and sought-out by the mover-shaker orgs here like Vermont Natural Resources Council, Efficiency Vermont/NewHampshire... it's the rare 'charity' that people can initimately, trust, know, feel, and use in their own lives and to the benefit of the planet and society in general.
Professional with expertise in this field & I studied environmental law, practiced in the area, watched SERG grew and was a member of the Town's Energy Commission that helped w/footwork on SERG's projects.