STATELINE — Some young people would have been excited to go to the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Summit to hear The Killers perform, but a handful of 14-year-olds came for the politics instead.
“I knew that this was going to be President Obama’s last year in office and I wanted to see him speak,” said Dayton teenager Lynda Zarate.
Obama was the keynote speaker on Wednesday at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena, and talked about the importance of conservation and the effects climate change will have on places like Lake Tahoe.
“I think this conversation is gonna help us take care of Tahoe more,” Zarate said.
Two Truckee teens also were present, and their interest in helping to stop climate change comes from their love of the snow.
“We are both skiers, so it (climate change) has impacted us a lot,” said Lacey Norris and Tallulah De Saint Phalle.
“I saw President Obama in 2008, and both of our parents are really into politics,” Norris said.
The girls shared in the feeling a conversation about what can be done to stop the impacts of climate change was greatly needed.
“I think it’s good that it is getting talked about,” said De Saint Phalle.
The event highlighted the work that has been done since Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., started the first summit 20 years ago.
While they have improved transportation, fire safety measures and lake clarity, Reid said they will continue to do more work, even after he leaves office this year because of retirement.
“There is more work to be done,” Reid said. “We can’t be complacent.”
South Lake Tahoe resident, Tina Sitachitt, brought her 8-year-old daughter to the event to see President Obama speak and learn more about climate change.
“A lot of people out there are hiding behind the shades and ignoring the truth,” Sitachitt said.
Another South Lake resident Carey Brown wanted to come to the summit to hear more about what’s going on with the environment.
“I think people that deny climate change are not well informed,” she said. “We are living it.”
Most people in attendance shared in the excitement of seeing Obama and Reid speak for what could possibly be the last time since they will both be leaving office.
The last president to visit Lake Tahoe for a summit was Bill Clinton in 1997.