On August 14, 2003, the lights went out in cities across the Northeast. This rolling blackout, one of the worst in U.S. history, was a cascading failure, in which a local power surge on an already-overloaded system triggered failures across the network. Five years later, much of America was in the midst of another type of cascading failure. Like the Northeast blackout of 2003, the collapse of the housing market in 2007 flowed through multiple and interconnected systems, resulting in the deepest and most sustained global economic slowdown since the Great Depression.
In certain respects, the threat of lost human potential and the science of early childhood development are much like the threat of global warming and the science of climate change. Can the human development movement take a few useful lessons from the global warming movement? Can we more effectively engage science to advance a progressive politics of early childhood development?