Our Impact

As of August 2017, Thriving Earth Exchange has launched 65 projects, and over half have been completed. Over 12 million people are part of the communities impacted by these projects.  Our largest project helped a food distribution center that serves over 8 million people become more flood resilient, while one of our smallest projects is helping to clean up a polluted pond in a town of 4000. The table below highlights some of the projects, and you can click through for more detail.



Out·put /outˌpo͝ot/ n. Programs, plans, trainings, workshops, reports, presentations, meetings, tool development, trend analysis, recommendations or predictions made, etc. What do you plan to build or develop?

Im·pact /ˈimˌpakt/ n. Relating to knowledge transferred, decisions made or behaviors changed; they are often tied directly to the impact the outputs made in your community. Who is better off and how are they better off? Did your outputs inform decision-making, policy changes or actions taken by community members?


2017 Impact Update

Community Project Scope Output(s) Impact(s)
Boston, Massachusetts (MAPC)


Develop a flood vulnerability assessment for Chelsea, MA’s Produce (Food) Distribution Industry Cluster A poster presentation featuring a flood vulnerability assessment of the Chelsea/Everett food distribution industry cluster. The UMass Boston-led project helped City and Regional officials understand the climate vulnerabilities of these critical regional assets, and demonstrated the need to invest in greater flood mitigation efforts to protect important food distribution facilities from future flood impacts. MAPC and the City of Chelsea will use the poster and its findings to engage and find solutions with food distribution facility owners and community-based organizations. UMass-Boston’s analysis connected research by the Woods Hole Group and Stantec, as well as visualizations by Climate Creatives and Taller13, exploring green and grey infrastructure solutions that could protect the area. Overall, the project provides scientific evidence and support for why the municipality and state should protect critical food distribution facilities that serve Greater Boston.
Boulder, Colorado


Help every city department understand city climate goals and develop adaptation plans in their own department. If possible, develop cross-sector adaptation plans. Four workshops on climate change, its local impacts, and response strategies. City of Boulder has a climate action plan that includes adaptation measures and more city departments developed adaptation plans. There is now more coordination across departments on adaptation and mitigation
Brookline, Massachussets


Develop a  heat vulnerability map (present and projected future) for the community that is prepared in a way that helps the city plan. A report that downscaled global model projections to look at future heat impacts at the scale of a city block. The report considered climate along with five socio-economic vulnerability factors. Results were presented to the city’s Climate Action Committee. The project helped city leaders draw attention to heat vulnerability and secure a budget for ongoing heat data collection. The project team compared two strategies to mitigate extreme heat: increased planting and green roofs, and recommended green roofs as more practical and effective. If data is acted on and the recommended strategy implemented, less people will be impacted by extreme heat.
Denver, Colorado


Tackle environmental factors that contribute to public health – either water, climate, soil or air. A research plan and materials for a citizen science project focused on testing homes for Radon and dry cleaning chemicals. Informational meetings were held with residents to explore results. 15 residents tested their homes for chemical pollutants. The team raised $4,500, through crowdsourcing to purchase the tests and demonstrated that an $8 test didn’t have sufficient accuracy. Concluded that Radon is widespread in the community and remediation is not.
Eugene, Oregon


Develop a method to downscale a global carbon budget to achieve a safe concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Additionally, establish a community greenhouse gas reduction target – and an associated community carbon budget – based on best available science. Careful analysis and scientific justification for a written community carbon budget that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% annually (based on a request from Council for a science-based target). Established one methodology for downscaling a global carbon budget for smaller geographies. Finally, the scientist provided in-person testimony before city council. City council adopted into city code a new community GHG emissions reductions target to reduce emissions 7.8% annually. This aggressive target now informs energy- and emissions-related Council decisions. Elected leaders gained an understanding of equity in setting and achieving emissions reduction targets. Initiated Mayoral Ad Hoc Climate Recovery Committee to support implementation efforts.
Granite City, Illinois


Collaborate with the Granite City Cool Cities Committee to finalize the city’s sustainability plan and launch complementary research projects to shed light on the sustainability commission’s air quality objectives in a way that is accessible to and engaging to city residents. Technical input and advice on a city-wide sustainability plan and a preliminary greenhouse gas inventory for municipal operations Sustainability was added as a key development priority in city wide efforts (for the very first time) and the city avoided investing in flashy but not substantive actions (e.g. greened City Hall instead of purchasing a pollution eating billboard.) Increased confidence of the cool cities community and concrete actions plans could impact lives of 29,000 residents. Meanwhile, undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to learn about engaging with communities.
Jackson, Wyoming


Take currently available data and work with local stakeholders to assess best practices for managing nutrient pollution in Fish Creek. An extended memo following the release of the a USGS Nutrient Loading Study detailing 1) specific information to consider pertaining to the study itself and 2) how Jackson might implement BMPs to mitigate nutrient loads considering the local factors at play. The community was able to clarify and verify scientific conclusions, ideas, opportunities prior to consideration by the stakeholder group formed to address Fish Creek’s nutrient issues, enabling more targeted and effective recommendations.
Midway, Georgia


Integrate sustainable and flood resilient design features into the community’s new municipal complex redesign. Revised municipal complex architectural designs that integrate mitigation and adaptation features for enhanced sustainability. The city decided to raise funds and invest in a sustainable building and to include novel storm water management features. They also rebalanced the budget to allow more money for sustainability and mitigation. By participating in the project students learned about and gained experience in sustainability principles and design.
Pamir Mountains

approx. 19,600

Use both traditional and scientific knowledge to adapt  ecological calendars for the rapidly changing climate in the region, and make them useful tools for local residents. Developed and integrated 4 ideas for integrating climate data with phenological and biological data in a way that can update calendars. (Achieved using MIT Climate CoLab to crowdsource and select ideas, and a day long workshop to synthesize the ideas) 17 communities in Afghanistan and Tajikistan are using climate data to recalibrate their agricultural/pastoral calendars. This results in improved crop production, less hunger in those villages, more pride in culture. There is also better understanding of the indigenous knowledge system for scientists who participated.

Note: These outputs and impacts reflect immediate outcomes from TEX’s support during the project’s initial launch. As of 2017, the project has expanded to 6 sites in Central Asia. By 2019, the project will result in a proof-of-concept for application of ecological calendars internationally, the transfer of knowledge between communities in different bioclimatic zones, and curricula for inter-generational transfer and continued adaptation of calendar. For more recent updates, please visit Dr. Kassam’s website. 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Improve the city’s greenhouse gas inventory process by standardizing data acquisition and delivery, and producing an uncertainty analysis. Data-sharing agreements with local utilities, to ensure consistent data now and in the future, a documented process for integrating data to produce an inventory, and an analysis that identifies degree of uncertainty in data used in inventories. The City identified key sectors that need better carbon monitoring and now has better access to data that can be used to confidently assess emissions changes over time using the uncertainty analysis. The experience shaped the city’s thinking regarding its upcoming Climate Action Plan. They added emphasis on measuring and tracking progress in the updated Climate Action Plan because of light shed on uncertainty in past data used.


The Resilience Dialogues

TEX helped create and co-led the Resilience Dialogues. The Resilience Dialogues partners with communities to explore their risks from climate variability and change. Through a series of facilitated online dialogues, subject matter experts and communities around the country work together to identify climate adaptation priorities, develop action steps, and connect to resources and expertise, from both public and private sector, to tackle those priorities.

Because of the Resilience Dialogues, communities are positioned to take their first steps toward resilience. Regional resilience networks are informed of and prepared to respond to the needs and challenges faced by member communities. Communities are better integrated with regional resilience networks, and scientists and practitioners are better equipped to collaborate with communities. Context-specific climate resources are making their way to end users.

The immediate output from each dialogue is a synthesis report (available online here). However, Resilience Dialogues communities are doing so much more. In the words of one participant, Resilience Dialogues moved us from “wanting to do adaptation” to “doing adaptation.”

The table below highlights some of these projects. For more detail, you can visit our project page or the Resilience Dialogues website.


Community Questions Explored Next Steps and Actions Launched
Antioch, California


Methods for interpreting climate projections at the local level;
Intersections between climate impacts and community priorities;
Opportunities to increase community engagement
Integrate climate impacts in Hazard Mitigation Plan;
Pursue opportunities to include climate-related educational information on trail markers in community parks;
Increase community engagement by linking climate change and resilience to community priorities;
Develop connections with nearby colleges and universities and explore collaborations.
Boynton Beach, Florida


Climate impacts on redevelopment efforts;
Preparing for climate impacts;
Coordinating with stakeholders
Develop a communication strategy to convey risks to variable stakeholders;
Identify local champions to serve as advocates for community resilience;
Continue to share information with local and regional partners, and participate actively in regional and nationwide networks;
Review and identify gaps among existing vulnerability assessments, sustainability and climate action plans;
Integrate adaptive measures that enhance resilience in current and future projects.
Bridgeport, Connecticut


Prioritizing resilience actions to achieve cobenefits;
Integrating climate resilience into local plans and projects;
Available health and climate models;
Financing opportunities
Broaden community engagement in resilience planning and implementation process;
Convene a formal climate resilience task force;
Review and adopt available tools and resources;
Research and pursue appropriate funding opportunities;
Dedicate city resources (staff, programs, etc.) to development and implementation of resilience actions;
Monitor and assess adaptation strategies. In corporate metrics for social equity;
Engage stakeholders to assess and agree to health-based priorities.
East Lansing, Michigan


Embedding resilience planning into policy planning;
Local vulnerabilities and opportunities to mitigate them;
Involving full fabric of community
Incorporate climate trends in urban forestry planning;
Enhance coordination with local and regional partners;
Consider collection of stormwater management fees to finance infrastructure upgrades
Hallandale Beach, Florida


Full scope of sea level rise impacts;
How the community composition constrains or accelerates risk;
Financing climate adaptation projects;
Opportunities to increase community engagement
Develop audience-specific communication strategies and climate adaptation education;
Strengthen connections to regional collaboratives;
Broaden planning process to include equity and whole community resilience;
Create formal processes to engage local experts.Hallandale Beach, FL participants made a presentation about climate resilience to the mayor and city council.
Menominee Reservation


Local climate impacts;
Mitigating impacts to cultural resources;
Improving communication;
Impacts to culture and language;
Prioritizing action and “buy-in” development
Host participatory workshops with community members do discuss climate impact perceptions;
Explore prospective future scenarios for forest management;
Conduct social assessment and ecological data collection with community input;
Coordinate with Menominee language program to host community summit to discuss cultural climate resiliency.
Mt. Shasta, California


Integrating climate resilience in local plan updates;
Achieving resilience with limited resources;
Identifying actionable opportunities;
Opportunities to increase community engagement and regional support
Host educational workshops focused on climate science and resilience implementation;
Develop shovel-ready projects that integrate green infrastructure;
Leverage local interest via development of multi-stakeholder coalition of volunteers;
Connect and coordinate with neighboring communities for fire prevention efforts;
Explore community education and engagement regarding water conservation.
Mt. Shasta, CA is re-writing their comprehensive plan to apply a climate resilience lens to all city decisions and sectors. The community is also beginning quarterly calls with Whitefish, MT participants to share ideas and support.
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

approx. 270,000

Evaluating and prioritizing adaptation actions;
Supporting local implementation efforts;
Borrowing from comparable models
Pursue conversations with regional entities to encourage collaboration;
Continue to explore effective models for evaluation and implementation;
Host visioning workshop to define priorities and develop coordinated framework;
Enhance review processes;
Develop strategic plan for regional work.
Savannah, Georgia


Prioritizing resilience actions;
Local climate impacts;
Community engagement;
Risks to low-income communities
Use structured decision-making process to direct and engage with stakeholders;
Prioritize and include hazard and resilience actions in city sustainability plan;
Seek support from outside organizations for stakeholder engagement and communication
Whitefish, Montana


Managing local climate impacts;
Engaging diverse audiences;
Financial mechanisms;
Leveraging synergies with other environmental priorities
Engage more directly with regional fire safety groups;
Incorporate water resilience into climate action plan;
Encourage inclusion of climate resilence in recreation and tourism plans;
Organize a climate science day in coordination with local universities.Whitefish, MT is establishing a sister-city relationship with a community in Sweden to share climate-related goals and strategies.
The community is also beginning quarterly calls with Mt. Shasta, CA participants to share ideas and support.