Standing room only for climate plan meeting at South Lake Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif — People filled chairs and stood against walls Wednesday night to kickoff public discussion about an environmental roadmap for South Lake Tahoe.
The packed, informal meeting at City Hall, with councilor Cody Bass in attendance, was aimed at getting residents’ input for a Climate Action Plan.
The meeting was run by Sierra Nevada Alliance members Sam Ruderman and Meredith Anderson. They guided the audience through a presentation featuring reasons why everybody was there, including greenhouse emissions and the consistent rise in annual temperatures.
The alliance partnered with the city a couple years ago to help the city figure out how to become more environmentally friendly.
South Lake Tahoe last year became the 26th city in the country to commit to obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032.
To reach those aggressive goals, the city wants a long-term plan that outlines strategies to reduce emissions while also providing community benefits like improving wildfire resilience, reducing air pollution, improving traffic conditions, and improving public health and quality of life.
Nick Exline, chair of the committee overseeing the effort, the South Lake Tahoe 100% Renewable committee, is a frequent visitor at city hall and was thrilled with what he said was one of the largest crowds he’s seen.
“This is an amazing turnout,” Exline said. “Lake Tahoe is known around the world and we are being watched. The days of the naysayers are done. It’s time to be bold. This is the defining issue of our time.”
The Sierra Nevada Alliance has been providing studies for the city, trying to show where it can save energy.
Ray Jarvis, director of public works, spoke briefly about what the city is currently doing such as examining options for solar power and going through energy audits to prioritize a workable list moving forward.
The meeting was handed over to the audience for their input and several people spoke about various things, like public transportation, impacts of overtourism, trying to deal with Congressman McClintock who doesn’t believe in climate change and that one big wildfire in the basin can change everything.
South Tahoe student Logan Chapman is co-founder of a climate action club at the school and says the group is working to get climate studies incorporated into the curriculum, which drew applause from the audience.
South Tahoe Principal Carline Sinkler watched her students like a proud parent and couldn’t help but stand up and “give them a shout out” for their efforts.
All input was gathered and strategies will be developed with the alliance, city council and public over the next couple of months.
Alliance members said they hope to have city council adopt its first climate plan this summer.