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2014: What a Year

When I look back on this year, I am blown away. Kate Gordon, Vice President and Director of our Energy and Climate program published a new blog post today calling 2014 “The year of climate action.” It’s an astute observation, and I agree – from global deals to California transportation policy, this year has been jam packed with big actions on climate – but of course, we can’t stop there. I think it’s also been the year of climate talk, or a new kind of climate talk, from a previously unlikely group: business leaders. That was one of our main goals for the Risky Business Project, to explain climate change in the language of risk and create a space for business leaders to talk about climate change and understand the impacts.

In many ways it’s also been a year for kids and families. On the national scene, our Children and Families team, led by Ann O’Leary, with our partners at the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, elevated the issue of the word gap to national significance through Too Small To Fail. The initiative leveraged a media partnership with Univision to reach thousands of Hispanic families, featured language on the importance of talking, reading, and singing to kids in popular shows like Orange is the New Black, launched major campaigns on the ground in Oakland, CA and Tulsa, OK, and convened expert discussions at the White House. At the same time, the team scored major policy victories in California, not least among them the recent passage of legislation to provide 6.5 million workers statewide with paid sick days and a first-in-the nation San Francisco bill to ensure predictable schedules for retail workers.

As much as I am certain that the impacts of this work will continue to be felt well into the future, I am aware that we still have much work to do. But rather than getting into what comes next or going on about more of my favorite moments from 2014, I want leave you with this feature, in which the Next Generation staff recount their favorite moments from this wild year. I hope this holiday is a fun and restful one for you and yours.

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