South by South Lawn brings entrepreneurship and innovation to the White House

World Today

SXSL at the White HouseThe South by South Lawn (SXSL) festival is inspired by Austin’s South by Southwest. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Inspired by the annual South by Southwest conference that gathers film, media and music insiders, U.S. President Obama hosted a tech-inspired version at the White House, calling it South-by-South Lawn.

The event on Monday was hosted at the White House with the aim of gathering innovators and entrepreneurs in all fields that “work day in and day out to improve the lives of their fellow Americans and people around the world,” according to the White House.

The day at the White House featured visits by Hollywood celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as major musical acts, who were all focused on the advancement of technological innovation.

During a conversation with DiCaprio about the importance of clean energy and environmental innovation, President Obama said the issue is personal. Speaking of his childhood home of Hawaii, Obama spoke of “the native Hawaiian traditions [that] are so woven with nature and the sea and outdoors.”

“What we’re seeing is that climate change is happening even faster than the predictions would have told us five years ago or 10 years ago. What we’re seeing is changes in climate patterns that are on the more pessimistic end of what was possible—the ranges that had been discerned or anticipated by our scientists—which means we’re really in a race against time,” Obama said.