Students rally to spur action on climate change

Carly Buckman

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Craig senior Kenneth Forbeck is on a mission to make politicians and his community understand the gravity of climate change.

“When I heard about such a big issue, I felt obligated to advocate and fight for community support on this important issue,” he said.

Forbeck, along with Molly Schroeder, Jacob Hanekamp and Erik Knutson gathered on Sept. 20 at Upper Courthouse Park in Janesville to demand that legislators declare a climate emergency.  

They heard speeches from youths and adults, then marched to raise awareness of climate change.

Forbeck helped to lead, organize and coordinate the rally, which he called “a climate strike,” and he made signs and gave a speech.  

He put about 30 hours of work into making the climate strike happen.  

“I am so glad that I participated because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be helping to address such an important issue in today’s society,”  he said.

“The reason I led the Climate Strike is due to the fact that we are in the midst of a climate and ecological crisis and our society is not acting like it.  We must act now or we may not have another chance to save our future from the consequences.”

Junior Molly Schroeder helped by sharing a speech, marching, protesting and making signs.  

Schroder hopes to make an impact in the community and to spread the word about an issue she feels is growing in importance. 

She feels any action is important.

“No matter how small the cause, all we can do is try because nothing will happen if we don’t try,” she said.

While Forbeck and Schroeder placed themselves at the front of the rally, junior Jacob Hanekamp and senior Erik Knutson helped out behind the scenes.  

They marched and protested, but most of their work was in purchasing food, setting up speakers, and transporting equipment to the site.  

Though Hanekamp put at least 24 hours into helping with the Rock County Youth Climate Strike, he said, “Everything was one-hundred percent worth the effort!”  

Their efforts did not go unnoticed. 

Katie Grogan, one of the adults who attended the event, called it “well organized” and praised the students.

“The student speakers deserve special recognition for their stirring calls for climate action!” she wrote in an editorial to the Craig Criterion

“These students impressed all who attended the rally with their understanding of the climate crisis and their courage in calling our leaders to task for their failure to act.”