Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX)
This program from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) helps volunteer scientists and community leaders work together to use science, especially Earth and space science, to tackle community issues and advance local priorities related to natural hazards, natural resources, and climate change. Goals of the program include launching 100 partnerships, engaging over 100 AGU members, catalyzing 100 shareable solutions, and improving the lives of 10 million people by 2019. The program focuses on:
Local priorities. Conversations, projects, and actions are directed by local priorities, values, and goals. Local context and priorities are the basis for determining the most relevant science skills to bring to a project to make an impact.
Collaboration. Community science depends on combining expertise from within and outside of science. TEX brings Earth and space scientists to the same table as local experts and regional leaders. Through such collaborations, both science and local knowledge are brought to bear to make communities safer, healthier, and more resilient.
Concrete impact. Community science produces local impact and will result in a physical, institutional, or knowledge-based change in the community. Community science has ripple effects: it can change the ways scientists approach research, alter public perception of science, and generate solutions that can be shared by many different communities.
TEX is for anyone interested in community science—the use of science to advance local and regional priorities. It is a network for people to connect, launch projects, solve problems, and share their results. It is also a platform with tools, resources, and opportunities that help projects with everything from collaborative idea formulation to implementing a co-designed solution. Projects usually go through four stages: Scope, Match, Solve, and Share. To help teams make progress in each stage, stages are broken down into milestones. TEX project teams use them to co-develop projects that address community priorities, collaborate effectively, and share solutions that can help other communities facing similar challenges.
As of August 2017, TEX has launched 65 projects, and over half have been completed. Over 12 million people are part of the communities impacted by these projects. The largest project helped a food distribution center that serves over 8 million people become more flood resilient, while one of the smallest projects is helping to clean up a polluted pond in a town of 4000.