Glenwood students join global climate protests

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Students protest at the Garfield County Administration Building Friday in Glenwood Springs. The march and protest was organized by GSHS senior Hannah Juul, who was inspired to join worldwide climate change marches that took place around the world on Friday.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

Inspired by the activism of a Swedish high school student, high school students from Glenwood Springs and Rifle marched to the Garfield County seat to bring attention to climate change Friday.

Around 20 students, most of them from Glenwood Springs High School, walked down Grand Avenue during the school’s lunch hour, chanting slogans like “Climate change is not a lie, do not let our planet die.”

The march and protest at the county administration building was organized by GSHS senior Hannah Juul, who was inspired to join students around the world in protesting climate change.

Greta Thunberg of Stockholm, Sweden, skipped school in August to protest climate change.

“I have my books here, but also I am thinking: what am I missing? What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter any more, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?” Thunberg said in September, according to The Guardian.

Now 16, Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has inspired students around the world to participate in protests, sometimes walking out of class.

“She’s made such an impact around the world,” Juul said of Thunberg. “I want to make an impact where I am.”

Lily and Zoe McCann-Klausz, both of Rifle, came to support their friend Hannah and bring attention to climate change.

“More people need to believe in (climate change, and that it’s more than just a phase of the Earth. People are causing it,” Lily said. “We can start to make changes, like more electric cars.”

Climate change is “something we’re experiencing here in Glenwood Springs,” said Logan Juul, Hannah’s brother. He remembers getting snow measuring in feet in Glenwood when he was young, and now the winters are much more clement.

Logan said his parents instilled a sense of environmental responsibility in him and his sister.

“We care about the environment, but my kids have taken it further than I have,” Adam Juul, Hannah’s father, said, adding that he “couldn’t feel any prouder” that his children are pushing for climate change activism.

“I love that the youth are trying to take a stance, and take charge, and maybe fix some of the mistakes our generation have made,” Adam Juul said.

“Hopefully, this will make our politicians and leaders make better decisions, and realize the youth are right behind them.”

While Thunberg skipped school, the Glenwood students made it back to the high school for afternoon classes.

More students joined the throng downtown, and for 20 minutes, about 25 high schoolers stood with signs in front of the Garfield County Administration building chanting slogans — “No more coal, no more oil! Keep your carbon in the soil!” — and waved to cars, many of which honked in support.

For Hannah, the protest is only one part of the fight. She has built an energy-efficient tiny house, and is developing a “bacto-box,” an ultrasonic device that uses sound waves to clean clothes using less water and far less electricity.

“I’m arguing for my future. If global warming keeps up the way it is, I’m not going to have a future,” Juul said.