The Dr. Lynn Leverett Award honors leaders in climate advocacy—particularly individuals whose initiatives paved the way for innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

In 2018, The CLEO Institute gave its first-ever Circle of Change Awards, but in 2019, we decided to give the top recipient of these awards a more profound meaning; as a result, we renamed it after one of our most influential founding members and first CLEO Board President, Dr. Lynn Leverett.

Leaders in Climate

Whether for the creation of edible beer can rings that eliminates plastic pollution and provides food for the turtles or the creation of the New York Times bestselling book Drawdown, the most comprehensive book ever written on how to reverse global warming, or a collaboration between top local news media outlets to elevate climate issues in our community, the Dr. Lynn Leverett Award is The CLEO Institute’s way of recognizing agents of change.

“Although the magnitude of climate change may make individuals feel helpless, individual action is critical for meaningful change.”

—Mia Armstrong

Dr. Lynn Leverett is a champion of change!

Dr. Lynn Leverett has been supporting The CLEO Institute since the beginning. She shares our cause! Which is to bring climate literacy, engagement, and advocacy to our community. She is a lifelong environmentalist who believes in the power of the individual.

She has been instrumental in shaping CLEO’s mission. Her vision has allowed us to make the connections between science and social issues. She is a pivotal member of our organization, serving as CLEO’s President for four years and then as a board member.

Perseverance and Climate Action

Throughout  the years, Dr. Lynn Leverett has been an inspiration to many, young and old.

It is with great privilege that we honor Dr. Leverett’s significant contribution to The CLEO Institute by naming our most prestigious award after her lifelong dedication to climate advocacy.

How to be an agent of change?

Climate change affects all Americans—regardless of socioeconomic status—and many of these impacts are worsening. It is well-documented that individuals do not experience these changes equally .

The CLEO Institute embraces those individuals that, like Dr. Leverett’s,  improve everyone’s understanding of the impacts of climate change.

According to an study by the EPA,  socially vulnerable populations— defined based on income, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, and age, are more exposed to the highest impacts of climate change. Therefore, by “understanding the comparative risks to vulnerable populations is critical for developing effective and equitable strategies for responding to climate change.”

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”


The Honorable Congresswoman Kathy Castor

The CLEO Institute was honored to present its highest award to Congresswoman Kathy Castor representing Florida’s 14th Congressional district, which includes Tampa and parts of Hillsborough County.

Congresswoman Castor has a long-established track record of fighting for all that makes Florida special.

She has been a trailblazer and a climate champion who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. In June 2020, she led Democratic members of the Committee to unveil a comprehensive plan titled “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” This summer, Congresswoman Castor was pivotal in passing the biggest climate legislation in our history, the Inflation Reduction Act. This law allocates 369 Billion dollars for climate action/resilience and would reduce about a gigaton (a billion metric tons) of global warming emissions by 2030 and position the U.S. within reach of its climate goals by no later than 2050.

We could not think of anyone more deserving of our highest honor!



A true champion of change focused on helping other doctors and her patients understand how the climate crisis impacts health. As a trailblazer in her field, and as a doctor working at ground zero for the climate crisis, Dr. Holder advocates for comprehensive medical prevention and care for poor communities impacted by the climate crisis. Dr. Holder is a leader in educating and communicating the climate crisis in her community to her peers and patients.

In a passionate Ted Talk: The link between climate change, health and poverty Dr. Holder proposes impactful ways clinicians can protect their patients from climate-related health challenges — and calls on doctors, politicians and others to build a care system that incorporates economic and social justice.



Ellen Bowen is the Site Director for Food Rescue US – South Florida. As Founder and Managing Director of the popular Miami food blog MIAbites, she heard from many of her contacts and chefs about the excessive food wasted daily at hotels, restaurants, events, and markets. As a result, she partnered in 2018 with the national non-profit Food Rescue US to launch a food rescue platform in Miami and Broward counties. Using the app to connect donors with social service agencies and volunteer rescuers, more than 2 million pounds of food have been kept from landfills and directly provided to local shelters, soup kitchens, and individuals experiencing food insecurity. During COVID-19, the Food Rescue US – South Florida Community Kitchens provided over 65,000 fresh meals and supported over 25 partner restaurants impacted by the pandemic.

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