Young child holding her grandmother's hand

New Report! The U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan

In a new blog post Start Early President & Co-Chair of the U.S. Early Years Climate Action Task Force, Diana Rauner, discusses the release of the new report “Flourishing Children, Healthy Communities, and a Stronger Nation: The U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan.”

Diana Rauner October 12, 2023
  • Health and Development
  • Policy and Systems
  • Blog
  • Publication

Please join me in celebrating the release of Flourishing Children, Healthy Communities, and a Stronger Nation: The U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan. Since its launch in June 2023, it has been my honor to serve as Co-Chair of the U.S. Early Years Climate Action Task Force, and I am grateful to my fellow Task Force members for their contributions and to Capita and the Aspen Institute for creating a forum for this important work. We owe the success of these recommendations not only to their hard work but also to the insights that were so generously shared with us by caregivers and other early childhood, health, climate and systems leaders through listening sessions.

Start Early believes that our early childhood system should be high-quality, equitable and responsive—and climate-resilient. Adapting and expanding our child- and family-facing services in the years ahead is especially critical to our ability to support those most impacted by climate disruption: pregnant people, infants, and young children, particularly those with disabilities and those impacted by environmental injustice and racism in America.

Together, the early childhood and climate change mitigation fields must look to the strengths and protective factors offered by our early childhood system to support these high-priority populations in the context of a changing climate. The challenge of climate change is daunting, but well-resourced, accessible early childhood systems are key in helping young children and their caregivers prepare and adapt. Child- and family-serving programs are key resources in both helping children and their families remain safe amid climate emergencies and helping them prepare for the future of our changed climate by building resilience, navigating information and resources and strengthening community networks.

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As you review the Task Force’s recommendations, I hope you’ll take them as both a call to action and an invitation for partnership. The actions proposed for policymakers; federal, state, and local systems change leaders; funders; and researchers can only be meaningfully implemented in true partnership with the families and early care and learning providers. As we collectively face the daunting challenges associated with climate change, our policies and resiliency planning efforts must be rooted in bidirectional relationships with caregivers of young children; we must center their voices and experiences and collaboratively develop solutions that work.

The parents and caregivers who shared their experiences with us made it clear: even as coordinated, systems-level solutions begin to emerge, parents and providers have already been innovating and identifying their own solutions to keeping pregnant people, infants, and young children safe and happy in a changing climate. Let’s partner with them to advance these innovations and move forward together to co-design a more climate resilient future for our nation’s families, expectant parents and youngest children.

About the Author

Diana Rauner headshot

Diana Rauner


Diana Rauner, Ph.D., is president of Start Early, a national nonprofit with over 40 years of experience advancing quality early learning and care to help close the opportunity gap.

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