The U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan details recommendations for policymakers, educators, business leaders, and others to advance solutions at the intersection of the early years – prenatal to 8 years of age – and climate change.
Contact: Clarke Williams
Clarke.Williams@aspeninstitute.org | 1-703-554-7378
Washington, DC, October 12 – Today, the Early Years Climate Action Task Force, an effort of This Is Planet Ed with the Aspen Institute and Capita, released the U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan, Flourishing Children, Healthy Communities and a Stronger Nation.
The Action Plan maps opportunities to advance climate solutions and ensure healthy, resilient development for our youngest children, prenatal through age 8, as the effects of climate change become increasingly intense and frequent.
Launched in 2022, the Early Years Climate Action Task Force is co-chaired by Antwanye Ford, the President and CEO of Enlightened, Inc. and Chair of the District of Columbia Workforce Investment Council, and Diana Rauner, Ph.D., the President of Start Early and the Former First Lady of Illinois. It includes 20 early years leaders, climate leaders, researchers, medical professionals, parents, philanthropists, and more.
“Our efforts to mitigate the realities of climate change must be rooted in the experiences of those caring for our country’s 33 million children aged 8 and under,” said Rauner. “The U.S. Early Years Action Plan is not only a catalyst for action, but also an invitation to families, caregivers, policymakers, educators and business leaders to collaboratively develop and implement solutions that give our youngest learners an opportunity to thrive.”
“Our choices today will lay the foundation for future generations in America who will participate in and lead our democracy, economy, and civil society,” said Ford. “Through the Action Plan and its many solutions, we have an opportunity here and now to build on existing experiences, research, and bright spots to further support young children and their families in adapting and building resilience to climate change.”
The U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan outlines how federal, state, and local policymakers, as well as early years providers, philanthropic funders, business leaders, and researchers can all be a part of the solution to support children and their families, child- and family-programs, and local communities in a changing climate. The recommendations were informed by the Task Force’s nationwide listening tour over the last 18 months. Caregivers, providers, doctors, researchers and community leaders from across the country told the Task Force how climate change is already significantly impacting young children, and discussed multiple opportunities to advance solutions.
“Children, despite being least responsible, will experience the effects of climate change the longest,” said Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, co-chair of This Is Planet Ed and former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush. “With this Action Plan, we seek to ensure that our children’s futures are central to the policy decisions we make today and that children, now and in the future, have access to clean air, clean water, and safe, sustainable places to grow, learn, and play.”
“We cannot continue to address climate change and the early years separately,” said Patrin Watanatada, the Chair of Capita’s Board of Directors. “We need to reimagine health and human services, infrastructure, education, and all programs that serve children and families as we face climate disruption across our society”.
This Is Planet Ed is an initiative of the Aspen Institute Energy & Environment Program that intends to unlock the power of education as a force for climate action, climate solutions, and environmental justice to empower the rising generation to lead a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. This Is Planet Ed works across Early Years, K-12, Higher Education, and Children’s Media to build our societal capacity to advance climate solutions. Visit www.thisisplaneted.org and join the conversation by following This Is Planet Ed on Facebook, X (Twitter) and Instagram.
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners. www.aspeninstitute.org.
Capita Is an independent, nonpartisan think tank with a global focus. Its purpose is to build a future in which all children and families flourish. Capita explores how the great cultural and social transformations of our day affect our youngest children (0-8 years old). From the impacts of climate change to parental loneliness and social disconnection, Capita’s work catalyzes creative new ideas and solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges. www.capita.org