The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed life in many ways, yet Okemos High School junior Bernadette Osborn and her classmates in the Lansing area have moved quickly and energetically to confront the challenges of climate change. Osborn first heard about climate change when Hurricane Sandy hit her family’s home in Gunpowder Falls State Park, Maryland, in October 2012. In 2015, she moved to Michigan with her family and took a Physical Science course at Okemos High School with teacher Dave Chapman where she was inspired to learn more about the challenges related to climate change. In the spring of 2020, Osborn decided that she wanted to start a Lansing area chapter of the Climate Reality Project, and she realized that goal in September. Since then, the chapter has grown and launched several campaigns. During Earth Week 2021 the chapter has launched a new campaign on water conservation and a new blog.
During the spring of 2020, while businesses were shutting down and schools were moving to online teaching, Osborn saw an advertisement on Instagram for former Vice-President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. She said she was “looking for something meaningful to do.” She was soon off and running, using her free time to make a difference at the
grassroots level. She and her fellow climate activists have worked on climate education and initiatives in the Lansing-area community and across the world through the Internet. During Earth Week 2021, they are launching a new campaign focusing on water conservation. The launch includes daily presentations to help members and others learn about the relationship between climate change and Michigan’s waters.
When Osborn set out to form the Lansing area chapter, she learned that a team of five people is required to start a chapter and that the President of a chapter must be