Palmer Trinity School senior Leandro de Armas is passionate about saving the environment.
“This past summer, July, I started my own non-profit, Climate Commerce,” he says.
His non-profit consults for small businesses about things they can do to help the environment, such as installing LED lighting as opposed to traditional lighting, or making sure appliances are running properly so they aren’t draining resources.
He’s already established a chapter in Wisconsin, the UK and one in Shanghai. Leandro de Armas is vice president of Palmer Trinity’s Environmental Action Club. He is also a GenCLEO certified climate speaker.
“Last year I spoke to three classes.”
A few weeks ago, he spoke to a class in Wellington, UK. He usually gives a 30-minute presentation but he extended it for the Wellington students. His presentation focused on individual action.
He also gives an overview of climate change science and the relationship of climate change to agriculture. The deforestation of the Amazon is a driver of climate change.
“That has direct ties to the meat industry,” he says.
He says that increase in meat consumption correlates to an increase in greenhouse gases.
He says CLEO offers programs through their CLIP initiative and he helps with the students that have signed up at his school. He also helps with his Environmental Action Club’s social media campaign.
At school, they are focusing on actions they can take to help fight climate change. One step they are taking is to work with the school to reduce single use plastics.
“They were reducing their plastic consumption. Now that the pandemic started, there are more single use items.
“We can’t turn a blind eye. We have to at least address it,” he says. “There is a give and take. We want to make the most change possible without sacrificing safety measures.”
His journey as a climate change advocate began in the summer of 2019. He was inspired by Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg. He was following her on Instagram and saw she shared a graphic for a climate change summit happening near him called the Zero Hour Climate Summit Miami. That summit was life-changing for him.
For the Sept. 2019 Climate Strike, de Armas organized a walk-out for Palmer Trinity students. He became trained as a GenCLEO climate speaker. He joined other organizations such as 350 South Florida.
“We understand the power of youth, so we created 350 South Florida Youth, a sister group targeting young people,” he says. “Through them I hosted several events.”
Those events included organizing a panel on climate justice and the inter-connectedness between COVID, Climate Change and Racism.
He’s also involved in the Miami Youth Climate Summit, and is a member of ACE, Alliance for Climate Education.
“ACE had all their members do voter registration work by sending postcards to unregistered youth in Florida,” he says. “Through them, I was able to speak on a panel. The relationship between COVID, natural disasters and the disproportionate effects on minority groups.”
Leandro is captain of Palmer Trinity’s cross-country team as well as the track and field team.
He’s co-president of the French Honor Society, and the founder and president of the Business and Entrepreneurship Club.
“This year we’re working with junior achievement to participate in their company program, to help our students launch and start up programs,” he says.
He plans to major in business in college.
Linda Rodriquez Bernfeld