HUNTINGTON – While the state prioritizes increasing Vermont’s stagnant and aging population, some residents are raising their voices against what some are calling “climate refugees.” As coastal regions become more dangerous, some are already leaving their homes and moving to landlocked, mountainous areas like Vermont, and as the global climate worsens these numbers are expected to increase exponentially. Huntington resident Bronwyn Goodpeace, who moved to Vermont in 1969 from New Jersey, is not happy about the potential influx of “wetlanders” and has organized a group hoping to slow, if not stop, the oncoming deluge.
“There’s a crisis coming to Vermont, and it’s already starting. I’ve lived here for 50 years, came here when I was 19 to start an alpaca-milk dairy farm. That didn’t work out, so I took a few years off to just ski and connect with the land. It was a different time, man, you know? Wait, what was I saying? Oh, right, the crisis. We just don’t have the resources to house all these people. Where will we put them? We’re already too full and doing damage to the earth. Why won’t anyone think of the forests? Why won’t they think of the mountains?”
Goodpeace formed Aging Hippies Against New Development, Jobs, or Business (AHANDJOB), which she says is not against the people themselves that may be trying to move to Vermont, but rather is opposed to any new infrastructure that may be proposed to support them, such as housing, schools, or economic centers. AHANDJOB has been criticized by some Vermonters as being hypocritically composed primarily of “flatlanders who already ruined the state,” but Goodpeace doesn’t see the comparison as valid.
“This is totally different. When we came here to live off the land and double the population, we didn’t cause traffic jams or use up all the electricity. We lived in tar-paper shacks and hauled our water from the creek. These new immigrants — the wetlanders — expect to have civilization when they get here. They have another thing coming to them.”
In the coming months Goodpeace hopes to recruit more members, and says that anyone looking for AHANDJOB should contact her directly rather than googling the information, as there have a been a few complaints regarding common search results. Google has so far not responded to complaints from the group regarding its algorithim.