How the CLEO Institute uses education to fight climate change
(Valerie Muzondi / Rowdy Magazine Art Director )
For its first merchandise campaign, Rowdy Magazine has partnered with the CLEO Institute to spread awareness on climate change. In accordance with this partnership, 10% of Rowdy’s sweatshirt profits will be donated to the CLEO Institute. Preorders will be available on September 14th.
Caroline Lewis stood in the blistering Florida heat beneath her visor and sunglasses, exclaiming to passersby that we are, in fact, right in the middle of the sixth mass extinction. In a clip from its video introducing the organization, the CLEO Institute’s founder can be seen at a climate protest holding a photo of the United States engulfed in flames with bolded text reading “WAKE UP!”
Sick of either the vague whispers or total silence surrounding climate action, CLEO is blaring its message: we can’t afford not to care anymore.
The CLEO Institute is a non-profit organization championing climate science education. Its programs aim to build more informed and resilient communities by breaking down the science and the urgency behind the climate justice movement.
From the effects of burning fossil fuels, deforestation, animal agriculture and industrialization, human ignorance has slaughtered species and suffocated nature as we know it in a smog of doomed uncertainty.
The last mass extinction that was responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs could be seen as cruel and lawless fate. Today’s mass extinction is masochistic yet mandated: we’re digging our own graves.
Information is CLEO’s instrument in our resistance and revival.
What exactly does the CLEO Institute do?
Ten years ago, the CLEO Institute was created in Miami to connect the public to officials and individuals to organizations through a common cause: saving the world. Since its founding, the organization has spread its presence to include offices in Orlando and Tallahassee.
Analyzing a global problem that continues to unfurl before us each day requires massive amounts of data and scientific jargon. The lack of guided conversation about the climate crisis makes the fight for justice inaccessible. More than facing foes, we must understand them, and the large-scale destruction of Earth is as formidable a foe as one can be.
That’s why the CLEO Institute works to clarify available findings and help the public navigate the climate movement with agency. Its work breaks down a normally daunting topic to where it becomes digestible.
This work is about empowering people: through education, purpose, and involvement. This work is about liberating the Earth so that it is no longer seen as just ground to walk upon, but rather as where beauty can — and does — flow intravenously through life.
Education is kindling to fire, and advocacy fans the flames. The CLEO Institute offers programs that provide climate training to businesses, schools, places of worship, and community clubs.
It’s even an official partner of Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ STEAM program, spreading awareness and cultivating leadership in today’s youth so they can splinter off and create future social movements. The institute’s board members and expert advisory council, composed of voices ranging from that of educators to city officials, power the programs.
The change that’s needed is needed now.
The fight for a healthier and more sustainable planet concerns every life on Earth. It concerns the millions of flora and fauna species currently at risk of extinction. It concerns the family you currently have, and the one you dream of building. It concerns the Indigenous communities stripped of their land and culture. It concerns the low-income and racially marginalized people that suffer the consequence of environmental racism to a problem corporations perpetuated.
It concerns (or at least it should concern) you.
Want to help now?
Go to the CLEO Institute’s guide on taking action here.
Sign the CLEO Institute’s Florida Climate Pledge to petition the state of Florida hold polluters accountable, ban offshore oil drilling and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 here.
Natalia Galicza is a Staff Writer for Rowdy Magazine. She is passionate about promoting equity and awareness. You can usually find her editing, writing poetry, or playing around with editorial makeup. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org learn more.