Roper: VPIRG showcases widespread mental health damages they’ve inflicted on young Vermonters

These teenagers may not have big money to spend on lobbyists – but climate change activist organizations have spent plenty promoting S.5. VDC video.

by Rob Roper

On March 17 the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) held a rally at the State House in favor of passing the UnAffordable Heat Act, S.5, employing a tactic they often use – exploiting young children. What was so striking about this display was how it exposed just how dangerous it is for kids’ mental health to weaponize and politicize children and our public education system to satisfy the agenda of adult activists and politicians.  

The event featured middle and high school students taking the podium to read off talking points that, let’s be honest, these kids neither wrote nor really understand.

One high school student said, according to VT Digger, “The Affordable Heat Act is a big step toward (a safe) future. We needed this bill passed last year when our governor vetoed it, and we need it now, even more.” Who thinks this child has actually read the 38-page bill, can explain how it works, and could, if asked, articulate a reasoned argument for why we “need it now”?  

A fourteen-year-old girl is quoted as saying, “I should be at school today.” True statement! And VPIRG should be asked to justify why they think it’s okay to pull these kids away from their education when test scores have been dropping across Vermont for the past decade. Maybe the steady stream of stunts like this are part of the reason why.

“But,” the young lady continued, “instead I’m here alongside my fellow students continuing to demand real, impactful climate action.” Of course, S.5, would not have any real or impactful influence on future climate trends, so it’s not clear why she would be in support of this bill – except that she’d been told to be so and, like a trained seal, got tossed a fish (or whatever the 14-year-old-girl’s equivalent of a herring is) for doing so.

Another student railed, “Black, Indigenous and communities of color and low-income communities already have limited access to education, jobs, housing, healthy food and transportation. A changing climate will exacerbate these crises.” I guess VPIRG neglected to tell this child the part where Vermont’s Director of Racial Equity testified that S.5 “does not meet the mark” in terms of satisfying equity concerns. Or that BIPOC communities are protesting the classification of biomass as renewable in S.5 because pollution from the biomass plants disproportionately impact health outcomes in their Burlington neighborhoods. If that’s really this kid’s priority, they should be protesting S.5, not rallying for it. And, opposing VPIRG’s support of biomass electricity generation, not standing with them. But again, and sadly, these kids are just being used and manipulated.

The real tragic part of this display was the multiple confessions of mental health impact that are the result of being exposed to VPIRG’s and other similar organizations’ constant, pervasive, doomsday propaganda that is, let’s be clear, purposely designed to scare the living crap out of our children – every day – precisely to twist them into a mental state that can be manipulated by groups like VPIRG into acting as political cannon fodder in in adult PR battles.   

A now high school student recalled, “I remember having panic attacks over the state of the climate before I even left elementary school.” Panic attacks in elementary school due to exposure to this messaging! And VT Digger reported, “While the youth activists were quick to admit the emotional toll the climate crisis has taken on them, referencing feelings of climate anxiety and doom that have at times felt insurmountable, they stood at the Statehouse calling for change.”

Is it any wonder that incidents of suicide, self-harm, substance abuse, and mental illness are up across the board for our young people? And that academic performance is down? This is at best the result of negligence on the part of adults, and at worst the result of calculated cruelty based on selfishness.

If mental health is health, and mental healthcare is healthcare, then exposing young people’s brains to materials that knowingly harm mental health should be illegal—and prosecutable. We don’t allow, for example, cigarette companies to target youth with their advertising campaigns because we know picking up the habit will cause physical harm and potential illness for those who fall for the sales pitch. Exposing young people to perpetual fear campaigns – especially when they are captive audiences in public schools – knowing as we do that it leads to adverse mental health outcomes should be equally banned. Maybe there’s a class action suit in there somewhere. I certainly hope so.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary

12 replies »

  1. “Mental health” is a nebulous concept that can be arbitrarily, universally applied.
    It can be applied to any human situation.

  2. I once spoke at the Brattleboro Union High School Career Day about energy.
    With slight modification I made the same presentation I used to make to State Department designated energy officers assigned to our world wide US Embassies. Although some officers were very knowledgeable, many had no background so I always started with basics.
    Afterward, in the Q and A, both the students and all the teachers involved said they knew nothing of the basics we covered. They only seemed to know the end of world picture painted by Al Gore and the doomsday cult.
    Even whats his name at Middlebury has known that biomass is not a good energy source because of the polutants and particulates.
    Thanks for the reporting Rob.

  3. Young women, in particular, are very susceptible to social contagion. If you watched the livestreams of the riots of 2020, you no doubt heard the high-pitched screeching of those leading the various chants. Almost always young women. The quiet leaders of the left know full well what psychological strings they’re pulling on children in general, and young girls in particular. It’s also why they encourage boys to learn how to manage their emotions the same way that girls do. Emotional reactions are predictably manipulated on large social scales, but at a cost. Note the numerous polls / studies recently showing 50% rates of diagnosable mental illness in liberal women, compared to 20% rates for conservative women. (Even the liberal men are diagnosed at higher rates than conservative women, lest the reader assume I’m somehow attacking women, they’re just the easier target.) Anyway, it’s a quite cynical abuse of human nature to drive all this “social justice,” by means of fear and guilt and doomsday porn, and it’s causing a real crisis in mental health, especially for girls and women.

  4. VPIRG’s use of children is not a new tactic. Children have always been easily manipulated and coerced and exploited.
    However, the fact that VPIRG has resorted to using children is a tell that S.5 is not the slam-dunk VPIRG thought it would be. S.5 is a money bill, a means for VPIRG, CLF, VNRC and others to enhance revenues for their organizations. As none of these groups would exist without a cause and a great way to increase zeal to your cause is fear. So, properly prepare and parade a bunch of school kids in front of a microphone and add to the fervor of climate fear.
    If one focuses on the probable consequences of S.5, it becomes apparent that S.5 is a means to control Vermont citizens by using their need for heat- and increasing their reliance on government to solve the problem of enough heat. Consequently, by insisting on the use of electricity for heat, use can be monitored and controlled. The investment into smart meters by utilities was to decrease labor costs, we were told- but- much like Canada’s trudeau did with striking truck drivers- government can and will shut off electricity just as quickly as bank accounts.
    In short, programming and indoctrinating children is ages old- and a very effective method to force change- for good or bad. We as voters and taxpayers in Vermont need to decide if this GWSA and the AHA (S.5) really makes a difference in reducing CO2, really reduces climate change- or just makes some savvy grifters rich.

  5. At least they know the tactics formulated in Germany circa 1934 are working nicely! The script is memorized, the talking points succinct, the fear-mongering effective, and they have secured plenty of patients to continue their drug dispensing and medical interventions with impunity for decades to come.

  6. As I’ve read elsewhere, only about 30% of our population see behind the propaganda curtain. It is most discouraging that children are being used as pawns and most adults are oblivious.

    Although unrelated to the so called climate crises, but with the same lack of common sense, I saw a cartoon showing Minnesota Gov. Flanagan saying to a Mom in regard to sex change for minors; “When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them”. The mom, with a little boy in tow replies; ” Okay, today he said he’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex….”

    We need more parents being parents and adults “adulting”. Children are impressionable and take the lead from the adults in their lives. Instead of encouraging courage and resourcefulness we seem to be producing a lot of fearful and compliant young people.

  7. How about mental health declines on old Vermonters? Living in this State for twenty-three years has begun to take a real toll on my mental health the minute the Super Majority got ushered into the legislature. I’m guessing it’s just mere coincidence. Right?

  8. And VPIRG recruits good looking young people to fan out in the communities to hand out brochures and to collect donations. I have a friend who used to give money to the cute youngster who showed up every year at his door on a bicycle. I informed him of what VPIRG was all about and he quit the donations. These people are chameleons and manipulate young kids to sell their snake oil which provides millions for them to hire 15 or more lobbyists to stick it to us taxpayers. This should be illegal because of how they scare these kids to join them in the poison they sell to make the green industry wealthy and to take care of the loyal foot soldiers and conspirators who swallow their climate change elixir knowing that it’s nothing more than a scam industry. Men can not change the climate nor can they rule over Mother Nature.

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