The CLEO Institute is the only non-profit organization in Miami, FL solely dedicated to climate change education, engagement, and advocacy. 



Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has produced a 40% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels, principally coal, oil, and natural gas, along with deforestation, soil erosion, and animal agriculture.



Our oceans absorb about half of the CO2 from the atmosphere. The more CO2 they absorb the more acidic they become. Acidic oceans cause major ecosystem disruptions and our fisheries are greatly affected.



NOAA's State of the Climate Report affirms that 2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of recordkeeping.  Florida’s average temperature in 2017 was 4.5°F above the 20th century normal level. Higher temperatures mean more wildfires, crop damage from drought and pest infestation, and intolerable heat.  Heat waves can cause various public health issues such as dehydration and heat stroke.



There are two reasons the sea level rises, the melting of land ice and thermal expansion due to warmer waters.  Hotter days accelerate the melting of land ice.  The two biggest sources of land ice are Greenland and Antartica.



There are 2 types of ice: sea ice (frozen ocean water) and land ice (glacial ice, including glaciers, as well as ice caps and the ice sheets).  While sea ice loss does not affect global sea levels, it does affect global warming.  As sea ice melts, there is less albedo, which is a measure of the amount of light that is reflected back into the atmosphere.  With less white ice, more heat is absorbed by the oceans, thus contributing to temperature increase and the melting of more land ice.  As land ice mass decreases, the melted water flows into the ocean, raising global sea levels. 

Our Story


The CLEO Institute- Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities, is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Miami, FL solely dedicated to climate change education, engagement, and advocacy. 

Caroline Lewis, Founder and Executive Director, founded CLEO in 2010 to address a pressing need to build climate literacy by educating communities and their leaders on the science of climate change and the urgency of the causes and effects.

CLEO builds climate literacy from the bottom up, by educating communities and their leaders on the causes and effects of climate change, especially on the vulnerabilities of the most under-resourced communities.  CLEO knows that to become climate literate, communities must first understand the science behind climate change.  To become engaged, communities must then embrace the urgency of climate change.  

Our Mission


Our missionTo promote an informed and engaged public that supports climate action locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. 

Our vision A world in which all people, governments, and organizations are informed, engaged, and taking action on critical climate issues.  

    CLEO’s Expertise


    Significant infrastructure, biodiversity, and vulnerable populations are at risk from climate disruptions in South Florida.  The CLEO Institute is the only non-profit exclusively invested in climate outreach and education in the region. We: 

    • Work directly with climate scientists to keep up with the most current data and projections
    • Educate communities to better understand the climate science, seriousness, and solutions 
    • Train local individuals to be effective climate communicators
    • Partner with local, regional, and national organizations to inform and engage diverse communities 
    • Build an informed and involved public that demands climate action

    CLEO has been educating communities on climate science since 2010. 

    We share our strategies, successes, frustrations and on-going efforts to engage diverse audiences. Our partnerships keep growing, as CLEO’s simultaneous top-down/bottom-up approach to climate outreach helps broaden the ranks of climate-engaged leaders at the city, county, school, community, and business levels.  Our efforts have successfully:

    • Highlighted climate equity issues including: emergency management, climate gentrification, food, water and health insecurity, and water sewer system vulnerabilities. 
    • Engaged more than 55,000 individuals in South Florida through our town halls, climate literacy training workshops and expert panel forums.
    • Partnered with many groups, with a focus on under-resourced communities, to connect the dots between climate change and climate equity issues. 
    • Identified an urgent need to include under-resourced community representatives in climate resilience planning at the city and county level.
    • Worked with government officials through our mayor's roundtable discussions, which has led to climate resiliency (pro-environment policies) in local communities.
    • Connected with over 323,000 individuals through social media.

    Climate Literacy Training


    At CLEO, we provide climate literacy trainings for anyone who wants to be educated, engaged, and able to communicate on the issue. Our trainings include:

    CLEO Climate Change 101 Training:

    • Causes & effects of global warming

    • Earth’s current vital signs

    • Impacts of climate change on South Florida

    • Solutions we can implement individually and collectively to reduce the carbon footprint

    CLEO Advanced Climate Leadership Training:

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    In partnership with the University of Miami's Department of Geological Sciences, CLEO presents Empowering Capable Climate Communicators, a two-part series that is offered annually on two consecutive Saturdays in February.  Leading climate scientists explain the cause, reality, severity, and impacts of human-induced climate change and discuss mitigation strategies.  Additionally experienced climate speakers conduct sessions on accurate and compelling communication. 

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    Engagement & Advocacy 


    Join us and become part of the solution to the climate crisis. 


    Whether you are a resident wanting to learn more about climate change’s effect on communities, a governmental official preparing for disruptions to municipal infrastructure, a teacher wanting to bring climate science into the classroom, or a student responding to the urgency of the matter:


    Together we can make Florida climate-literate, change our policies and save our state – US’s tropical paradise. Florida will be an example of what happens when we educate communities at a grassroots level.  Education is power, and CLEO is leading the fight in Florida.

    Want to keep up with all of CLEO's initiatives and programs? Click here to be added to our quarterly newsletter!

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    School Chapters- CLEO is developing chapters in high schools throughout South Florida.  We currently have chapters at:

    • The Cushman School
    • Coral Gables Senior High

    • Palmer Trinity High School

    • Palmetto High School

    • Ransom Everglades High School

    If you would like to open a chapter, email us at with the headline: High School GENCLEO Chapter Request


    Teachers Network- We educate teachers and school administrators to effectively implement Climate Across the Curriculum in their schools.  To join our teachers network and receive our monthly newsletter click here.

    CLEO Speakers Network- Build your knowledge of climate science and the capacity to effectively communicate the urgency to different audiences. Help us expand our climate education efforts. There are two ways to join:

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    • CLEO Climate Speakers Cohort: We need advocates for climate change!  CLEO will build your knowledge of climate science, the seriousness, and solutions, so that you can effectively communicate the climate change information as a CLEO-certified climate speaker.  We provide members with resources and coaching from scientists to help develop your presentation.  Click here to join!
    • Climate Conversation Club:  As a member of the club you will receive monthly e-newsletters with current information about climate change that will help you spark conversations among family and friends. You will also be invited to special forums featuring experts and CLEO partners where you will continue to learn about current climate issues.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

    GenCLEO Climate Literacy Education-  Through our trainings, town halls, forums, and climate interactive workshops we aim to educate the public on the climate science, seriousness, and solutions to build an informed and engaged public that will demand climate action.

    Community Outreach:

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    • Under-resourced communities: CLEO conducts listening sessions with local community leaders and engaged activists to understand their concerns.  Then, we facilitate a Climate Change 101 workshop to help people connect the dots between climate change and the impacts they are experiencing. Lastly, the community drafts an agenda and CLEO convenes a forum or town hall with residents, City and County staff, scientists, and local business leaders to discuss concerns and solutions.
    • Neighborhood civic associations: CLEO conducts Climate Change 101 trainings at homeowner and civic associations to inform residents on the science, seriousness, and solutions facing South Florida.    

    • Faith-based groups: CLEO works with faith-based groups by conducting listening sessions and Climate Change 101 trainings that address the concerns of the community to help connect the dots between climate change and climate equity issues.     

    To request a training in your community, email: with the title: CC101 Community Request

    Business Partnerships-  We partner with businesses across South Florida to advance their climate action by promoting their sustainability efforts at our trainings and educating their employees. For more information on how you can become a business partner, email: with the headline: Business Partnerships Request 

    Municipal and Mayor’s Roundtable Partnerships:  We convene an annual roundtable where government officials share climate resiliency efforts and ideas in their cities and communities.  We also provide climate literacy training workshops to municipalities across South Florida.  For more information on municipality trainings or to join our mayor's roundtable email: with the headline: Municipal/ Mayors Roundtable Request 

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    Florida's Seas are Rising



    Florida at Risk

    • 20 of the top 25 cities most vulnerable to coastal flooding are in Florida, according to Climate Central. 
    • 22 of the top 25 cities identified by FEMA, as having socially vulnerable communities are in Florida.
    • Florida’s cities, infrastructure, beachfront homes, and natural ecosystems are among the most vulnerable. 
    • It is estimated that sea levels along Florida’s coastline could rise an additional 9 inches to 2 feet over the next several decades. 
    • Climate change will impact Florida’s tourism, real estate, agriculture, and fresh water supply. 

    Now more than ever Florida needs to act on climate change. Understanding the economic and social impacts that Florida is facing, we are one of the most vulnerable states to climate change impact.  2016 was the hottest year on record and 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been one of the most active seasons on record.

    With sea-level rising at an unprecedented rate, along with intensified heat, and shorter winters, Florida faces many climate disruptions that will exacerbate our quality of life. 

    Sea level rise

    • Salt water intrusion will put our fresh drinking water at risk. Florida is made of porous limestone which means the ocean water is seeping into our freshwater aquifers.
    • Coastal community infrastructure
    • Increased tidal flooding as well as king tides
    • Sewer systems will become more vulnerable increasing contamination risk
    • Inland areas will become more susceptible to storm surges during hurricanes
    • Beach erosion      

    Heat & Health

    • Increased health risks like heat stroke, dehydration, as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease.
    • Increased pest infestation like mosquitoes, which can lead to more diseases such as zika, dengue, chikungunya, and west nile virus
    • Drought which will affect our crops, creating food vulnerability
    • Extreme weather events such as increased wildfires and intensified storms.

    Climate gentrification

    • Some of our most under-resourced communities are facing climate gentrification because their neighborhoods are on higher ground.
    • Property developers are buying out low-income neighborhoods due to elevation, pushing out residents.


    • Florida's tourism industry could lose $178 billion annually by 2100, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists.
    • Cumulative costs to the US economy of response to sea level rise and flooding events could be as high as $325 billion by 2100, with $130 billion expected to be incurred just in Florida
    • Hurricane Irma cost Florida agriculture $2.5 billion in damages, according to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.