Welcome to the Thriving Earth Exchange’s (TEX) blog space. The purpose of the blog is to inspire thinking, open-participation and discussion on particular topics or themes. We encourage you to leave comments on any blog post by clicking through to each post and sharing your thoughts at the bottom.


Recipes for a ‘Potluck’ Model of Science Engagement

By TEX Director, Raj Pandya In a previous blog, I talked about the loading dock, the dominant model for science engagement and applications since WWII. Honestly, it isn’t really fair to call the loading dock a model for science engagement. It is more about disengagement: the loading dock assumes that scientists just need to produce […]

Partner Profile: Earth Connections

Through service-based learning, offering students the chance to learn while making an impact The geosciences are projected to have a workforce deficit in the coming years—that is, more job opportunities than people to fill them. At the same time, there are a plethora of communities facing challenges that could benefit from geoscience tools and data. […]

Geoscience for Adaptation Decision Support: Fulfilling User Needs

Seeking to improve local decision support, effort finds more gaps than coverage in decision-relevant information By Shahan Haq The international climate science community has made tremendous strides in our understanding of the climate system. We can make more precise measurements from space, while we make quicker measurements from new technologies such as drones and ground […]

A Gap to Fill: Putting People First in Solving Environmental Issues

By Hannah Hagemann The sites I worked at as a geologist for an environmental consulting firm were eerily similar. All located within low income or working-class neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the residents were immigrants and people of color, who face systematic barriers to higher education. Their neighborhoods were industrial; positioned next to railroad tracks, landfills, […]

Barnesville, OH Project Featured in Local Paper

The Barnesville, Ohio project was featured in The Columbia Dispatch on March 21, 2018 in an article titled, “Gubernatorial candidate tours southeastern Ohio fracking and mining sites”:   A March 9 fossil fuel extraction tour of Southeastern Ohio, guided by area residents included Dennis Kucinich, candidate for governor, who requested the tour to gain a […]

Resilient Communities Projects Launch Across the Nation

TEX and the National League of Cities collaborate to help seven cities elevate climate resilience goals TEX is proud to partner with the National League of Cities’ Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI), which recently announced seven cities selected to join this year’s Resilient Communities cohort. In this program, each city will set its own climate sustainability […]

Beyond the Loading Dock

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director In a recent blog, I asked about how to stand up for science. That led me to another question: Why do we even need to stand up for science? Also: How did we get here, and what do we need to differently to move forward? I think the need to […]

Making the Conversation Work

Insights on facilitating community-scientist interactions from an experienced bridge-builder Here at TEX, we’re in the business of building bridges. For us, that often means taking stock of what each side—the community and the scientists—has and what it needs, and finding a way to join the two in a way that meaningfully moves things forward. But […]

Reflections of a TEX Fellow

By Abhishek Rao Editor’s Note: TEX created a Community Science Training/Fellowship opportunity for the Hermosa Beach, CA project in Fall 2016. While TEX projects typically include scientific partners who are more established in their field, we saw an opportunity to engage a student or early career scientist on one of our newer projects. By inviting […]

Cal Poly Pomona Students Process Ontario, CA Water Samples

Undergraduate students enrolled in undergraduate research at Cal Poly Pomona are getting some applied lab experience processing water samples collected from Ontario’s constructed wetlands. Under the supervision of Dr. Shelton Murinda, Professor in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department, students conduct fecal indicator bacterial counts using the IDEXX system.  Dr. Shelton Murinda adds “the students […]

Introducing the TEX Statement on Integrity in Community Science

Introducing the TEX Statement on Integrity in Community Science Community science depends on partnerships that harvest the benefits of many perspectives. To provide a foundation for effective, mutually beneficial and ethically conducted community science projects, TEX developed its Statement on Integrity in Community Science. In addition to guiding how projects are conducted, the statement serves […]

Translational Research or Community Science?

By Thushara Gunda, recent Vanderbilt University PhD graduate A reflection on my dissertation journey as part of an interdisciplinary research project with community partners. Over the last few months, I have been thinking a fair bit about whether my interdisciplinary, dissertation research journey reflects the principles of translational research or those of community science. In […]

How Can We Elevate Community Science within the Scientific Community?

How Can We Elevate Community Science within the Scientific Community? If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to surmise that you may be in the ‘choir’ when it comes to community science. As an organization devoted to helping scientists and communities work together to solve problems, it’s been gratifying […]

Standing Up by Sitting Down

I have a sticker on my laptop that says, “Stand Up for Science.” Nice, but how do you really stand up for science? One way to stand up for science is to be visible, en masse, with your friends. You can organize marches or join existing marches. The March for Science may be the most […]

Breathe Brandywine Forum: Air Quality, Pollution & Your Health

On Saturday, February 3, 2018, the TEX-Brandywine project held its first community education and engagement forum at the Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brandywine, Maryland. The 4-hour event served as an opportunity for concerned citizens in Brandywine and surrounding neighborhoods to engage with and hear from peers, potential political representatives, and recognized subject […]

San Juan College and Drexel University students shape the vision and design of the makerspaces

Students from Luke Renner’s Digital Media Arts and Design Program class have been busy assembling promotional materials to support the design and construction of two 1,000 square foot makerspaces.  The materials highlight the benefits of the makerspaces, intended uses of the makerspaces, costs, partners, and vision for community engagement.  Luke and Judy plan to use […]

Community-Driven Science: Science of the Future?

By Kelly Sanks Ph.D. Candidate in Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences at University of Arkansas   My lifelong goal is to conduct scientific research that makes a tangible impact on people’s lives. In a time of environmental change, it has never been more pressing to bring scientific research to action. I have been fortunate to have […]

Community Science with Indigenous Communities

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director   As much as anything, I hope that TEX can be a group of people learning and doing community science together. Learning together means sharing ideas, even ideas that aren’t perfect, so that we can improve them together.  In that spirit, I offer this blog of imperfect ideas, framed by […]

Evanston prepares for public meeting to discuss air quality monitoring

In order to determine the environmental impact of their waste transfer station, the Evanston team plans to hold a public meeting describing the project strategy with city aldermen, scientists, and its environmental justice task force in attendance.  Although project has stalled due to budgetary issues, the team has made progress in a number of areas. […]

Introducing Adaptation Analytics: Connecting Data with Decisions

There’s data, data, everywhere—but does it apply to me? When it comes to climate, that’s the million-dollar question. While scientists deploy sophisticated on-the-ground sensors, satellites, crowdsourcing and big data tools to gain insights on climate change and its impacts, getting relevant, local data remains a perennial puzzle for communities. TEX’s Adaptation Analytics investigation grew out […]

Peer Learning Approach Builds Competence and Confidence

Sometimes you want a custom-designed project just for you. Sometimes you want to learn from the experiences of others. At TEX, our peer-learning cohorts are designed to strike the right balance—and deliver results. The idea is simple: Instead of running each project as a totally separate entity, why not launch several projects around a particular […]

Science to Action Session Provides Inspiration for Future of Science and Public Engagement

By Rebekah Lee, Boise State University This blog was originally posted on the AGU Blog, The Bridge: Connecting Science and Policy. Lee’s post is part of a series written by student bloggers from the AGU Fall Meeting.    You have probably heard the public calls for more public engagement in science. Many of the issues […]

A Community Science Renaissance at Fall Meeting

By Sarah Wilkins Attendees at Fall Meeting this year were greeted with the question: “What will you discover?” Between local field trips, AGU TV, e-lightning sessions and talks featuring cutting edge Earth and space science research, attendees had vast opportunities to discover new ideas and perspectives across many disciplines. The TEX team was no exception. […]

Making Space in New Orleans: What living with water teaches about community science

By Raj Pandya, Director, TEX In the early part of the 20th century, progress in New Orleans looked like transforming marshes into city blocks using engineered drainage.  Neighborhoods that had been plagued by diseases associated with standing water became livable, which was especially good for the poorest residents—usually African American—who lived in the lowest areas […]

What Brought Eight Community Leaders to a Scientific Meeting

Think of AGU’s Fall Meeting and the first impression that comes to mind is probably “huge.” Coming in at a close second is probably “science.” So why would community leaders from the far reaches of the Arctic to the marshes of the Louisiana bayou wade into this 24,000-person whirlwind of Earth and space science? Because […]

Lessons in Resilience: Living with Water in New Orleans

Water—and sometimes, flooding—is a fact of life for residents and planners in the city of New Orleans. Water has shaped the city’s infrastructure, history and culture for 300 years. In a four-hour field trip organized as part of AGU’s 2017 Fall Meeting, journalists, public information officers and others got a first-hand look at the water-related […]

Science, Privilege, and the Princess Diaries…

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director   If you’ve read previous blogs, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about power, equity, and science. For me that means thinking about how being a scientist intersects with privilege – and what you can do with that privilege. I started with a premise, but it quickly became a […]

Community Voices Part 2: Standing Up Against a ‘War on Science’

Two ongoing projects illustrate what can be accomplished when community advocates partner with TEX scientists to amplify their voice. In this two-part series, hear community leaders’ perspectives on the ins and outs of working with scientists.    Part 2: Standing Up Against a ‘War on Science’ The environmental hazards facing residents in Brandywine, Md. are […]

Community Voices Part 1: Rubbertown Reacts

Two ongoing projects illustrate what can be accomplished when community advocates partner with TEX scientists to amplify their voice. In this two-part series, hear community leaders’ perspectives on the ins and outs of working with scientists.    Part 1: Rubbertown Reacts “We are responding to the chemical assault that has been launched against our families […]

TEX launches new cohort of projects on Hydraulic Fracturing at GeoPolicy Connect

By Natasha Udu-gama Our recent Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) project launch workshop opened on a lovely day in Pittsburgh on Friday, October 6th. The event followed AGU’s GeoPolicy Connect, a solutions-focused initiative designed to foster relationships between different types of stakeholders, help communities, and advance science for policy and society. The topic of this year’s […]

Hydraulic Fracturing, Honest Brokers, and Adaptive Management: Scientists’ roles in contentious issues

By Raj Pandya As you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about equity, power, and science. It isn’t a long walk from there to thinking about the appropriate role for a scientist in issues that deal with power and who has it. This seems to come to a head around issues that are especially contentious, […]

Helping Local Governments Lead the Way to Climate Resilience

Cities and towns are where the rubber hits the road when it comes to climate adaptation. It’s at the community level where key decisions are made about where to build, how to prepare for disaster and what modes of transit to support, for example. Local government is also a first line of contact for concerned […]

What Would I do With an Earth Scientist?

By Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange This blog was originally posted by Meeting of the Minds.   It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a community in possession of a good population must be in want of an Earth Scientist. OK, not true – but I wish it was. I think there should be […]

Wondering how you can help flood victims? Contribute to long-term flood resilience in a community near you.

The recent devastation in Texas, Florida, South Asia and other areas has drawn a lot of attention to big questions about climate, development and the risk of future disasters. But if history is any guide, the attention to those questions can ebb as the waters recede. Events like these offer a stark reminder that if […]

Science is Knowledge, Knowledge is Power…and vice-versa

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director   Science is entangled with issues of power, and community science – either explicitly or implicitly – is about exploring and challenging that entanglement. Grappling with these power dynamics can make for an uncomfortable conversation, for scientists especially but also for community leaders, but it is an important conversation to […]

TEX Responds to Hurricane Harvey

TEX works with communities to improve their resilience by leveraging Earth and space science to prepare for and mitigate the threats posed by destructive storms, flood and other hazards. Flood Forum USA supports grassroots flood groups across the country by helping them develop strategies for a sustainable future, and TEX is working with ten of their […]

Santa Cruz focuses on finalizing SLR assessment, social vulnerability analysis and outreach plan

In June, the team received feedback from an internal/external review (inclusive of local and technical scientific advisors) of the draft. Pending a few additional responses to comments and receipt of vulnerability maps from consultants, the final draft will be ready as scheduled.   The City has been very involved in applying for technical assistance through […]

Forging Partnerships Beyond the “Village”

Sometimes, a village isn’t enough. When grappling with complex problems like climate change or resilience, those who manage cities and counties often need to bring in expertise from beyond their local community and learn from the collective experience of others facing similar challenges.    The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) is a global association made […]

As Summers Bring Searing Heat, Cities Turn to Innovative Maps 

By Anne Johnson The heat of the summer is not just a nuisance but a significant public health threat. In most years, extreme heat causes more deaths than any other type of weather-related disaster. The danger is most acute for elderly people, who are more vulnerable to the effects of heat, and for people living […]

Urban Resilience Summit Brings Resilience Leaders from Around the World

During the week of July 24, 2017, an impressive group of experts and practitioners from all over the world gathered in New York City to talk about urban resilience at the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Urban Resilience Summit.  The summit united Chief Resilience Officers (or CROs) and their staff, strategy partners (organizations that provide strategic […]

What is and isn’t science? How I learned not to sweat the boundaries.

By Raj Pandya In the last several months, I’ve had lots of prompts to think about how science fits into the wider world. It started with questions about a TEX project that seeks to use scientific data to update indigenous communities’ traditional ecological calendars. The concern was that the calendars themselves aren’t based on scientific […]

Communities and Experts Collaborate for Climate Resilience

This article was initially posted in Eos on July 11, 2017.  The Resilience Dialogues program provides resources and expertise to help communities build individualized plans for resilience in the face of climate change. By Nancy D. Lamontagne   Climate change is global, but its effects are felt locally. Although many communities try to plan for […]

Resilience Dialogues Update: 2017 Beta

The 2016 Resilience Dialogues pilot supported five climate-savvy and well-resourced communities. We supported ten communities in our 2017 Beta, including several communities that have been historically underrepresented in climate adaptation efforts and several which were new to climate resilience. We are pleased to share the dialogue synthesis reports documenting highlights, resources and next steps for […]

Evanston’s Sensor Deployment Budget Gets Preliminary Approval

On 23 June 2017, the Evanston TEX team met with 3 Evanston aldermen, 3 community members and 5 Evanston city staff to discuss the budget for the proposed air quality monitoring work Gaj Sivandran intends to do with Evanston as part of their project. The meeting successfully concluded with the aldermen approving Sivandran’s budget proposal […]

Bringing Science to the Table

TEX Director, Raj Pandya, participated in the first session of the University of Colorado Boulder Engaged Scientist Series. This program was designed to provide a source of knowledge and continued support for building relationships between scientific research and community engagement.  Following the event, Amanda Grennell (CU Boulder) shared what she learned on the blog, Science […]

Refining Budget Recommendations for Air Pollution Monitoring

After their introductory meeting in late March 2017, the Evanston TEX team has determined that its major deliverable will be to cost out what a monitoring plan would look like, inclusive of samples and instruments that they would do, by end of summer 2017. TEX scientist, Gaj Sivandran (Loyola University) along with colleague, Mark Potosnik […]

Chelsea team meets local Environmental Justice organization and gears up for summer public meeting

In the Chelsea-TEX team has made strong strides towards completing a overall climate vulnerability assessment. They have been able to meet with most stakeholders in the community and have only two remaining meetings. The highlight of their stakeholder meetings was meeting with Chelsea GreenRoots, a local environmental justice group. Chelsea GreenRoots does a lot of […]

TEX Partner, ICMA, highlights science impact in three ICMA communities

In their May 2017 of PM Magazine, TEX partner, the International City and County Management Association (ICMA), highlighted stories from three ICMA communities collaborating with TEX scientists. Bob Hart, formerly of Kennedale, TX (now with Corinth, TX), Laura Allen (Berlin, MD), and Becky Merrow (Colebrook, NH) describe how their scientific partners are helping their towns […]

Santa Cruz makes a solid start refining its project scope

The Santa Cruz, CA team met each other and commenced their community science project in late February. Since then, the team, comprised of Tiffany Wise-West, with Santa Cruz’s Climate Action Program, Ben Preston, RAND, and Juliano Calil, University of California – Santa Cruz, have made significant strides towards updating the city’s climate vulnerability assessment. Ben Preston will […]

Remediation of Berlin Falls to start Monday

The March 23, 2017 issue of the Bayside Gazette featured an article about the remediation of Berlin Falls and the community’s partnership with TEX to determine the types of bacteria present in the sediment.  Click here to read the article.