Students gather for climate strike
Hundreds of South Lake’s students and community members gathered at Lakeview Commons Friday to join the Global Climate Strike.
Led by 17-year-old South Tahoe High School student Braulio Garcia, a handful of students marched from their school to the park chanting, “Save our planet, it’s our home.”
The members of the strike then gathered to listen to speakers.
Life-long democrat Shannon Chandler and life-long republican Dana Turner spoke together on the topic of civil engagement.
“Isn’t it amazing to see Democrats and Republicans finally agree on something,” Chandler said.
Turner added, “it doesn’t matter what political affiliation you’re with, we need to protect our home, Lake Tahoe.”
They both talked about the importance of registering to vote and encouraging others to do so also.
Local activist and AICP, Senior Planner with Midkiff & Associates, Inc., Nick Exline spoke to the students about not getting discouraged by people telling them they’re too young.
“They laughed at me and said I was young, stupid and naive,” Exline said about his own youth. Then he reminded the students, the generation that came before them will not solve this problem.
Garcia shouted from the crowd in response, “we stood up for ourselves, we stood up for the planet and we’re not going to let it down.”
During the speakers, a man with a megaphone interrupted to say, “I’m here representing the opposition.”
The crowd shouted and booed at him before he quickly left the park. Garcia then reminded the crowd that everyone has a right to their opinion.
Once the speakers finished, the crowd marched east on US Highway 50, chanting and holding signs.
Drivers of many cars honked and cheered while driving past.
Organizers and community members alike were excited about the turnout.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with the kids who walked all the way from the high school,” Exline said.
“I’m inspired, I’m motivated and I’m ready to make a change,” Garcia said.
City Councilmember Devin Middlebrook was also in the crowd.
“As a city, we are fully committed to addressing the climate crisis and reducing our carbon footprint,” Middlebrook said.
The speakers all shared the sentiment that this strike is just the start and reminded the crowd that they must vote and keep fighting.
Exline said he is working on getting the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to commit to being carbon neutral by 2050. He’s also working on getting public officials who aren’t committed to the fight out of office.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.