October 12, 2018

Thriving Earth Exchange – science, community impact, and much more

Posted by Laura Guertin

I’m a member of the AGU Meetings Committee. Last month, when we met in Washington DC, one of our agenda items was AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX). We were to have a 45-minute discussion that was to include an overview of the Thriving Earth Exchange priorities and programs, a discussion of how the program continues to expand, and identification of opportunities for AGU Meetings and AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange to work together to help make Earth and space science more impactful in communities.

I thought I already knew what I needed to know about the Thriving Earth Exchange. But then, TEX Director Raj Pandya started his presentation with this statement… Imagine community projects designed for impact, equity, respect, nature, humility, and “with” not “for”.

I immediately realized I still had much to imagine and to learn about TEX and its impacts.

The mission of the Thriving Earth Exchange is to help “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.” In its five-year existence, eighty-five projects have been completed or are underway, and over 12 million people live in the communities that have completed TEX projects. By 2019, in celebration with the AGU Centennial, TEX is aiming to launch 100 partnerships, engage more than 100 AGU members, catalyze 100 shareable solutions, and improve the lives of 10 million people.

Below is a video where Dr. Pandya provides an overview of the program.


Where can you catch up on Thriving Earth Exchange’s prior and current projects? In addition to the TEX website (https://thrivingearthexchange.org/), a quick search of the EOS database for “Thriving Earth Exchange” will come up with several articles written in recent years. Keep an eye out at the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting for session titles that begin with Science to Action – these are sessions that focus on community engagement and science impact, representing what TEX is all about. I’m also looking forward to the 3-minute pop-up talks at the Community Science Reception and Story Slam, taking place on Tuesday evening of the Fall Meeting.

In fact, why not just go ahead and start creating your Fall Meeting schedule, starting with the full list of TEX/Science to Action sessions and events taking place, listed on this page: https://thrivingearthexchange.org/fall-meeting-2018/

The Thriving Earth Exchange enhances the second part of AGU’s mission of “advancing discovery for the benefit of humanity”. But perhaps, just as (or even more?) importantly, TEX requires that doing science with people means paying attention to equity and diversity in that process. It means meeting local priorities and serving the needs of people where they live. It means changing the way some of us do science. But more of us need to explore the pathway TEX is laying out for us – please expand your knowledge of TEX activities, networks, and more, by exploring https://thrivingearthexchange.org/ – and I’ll see you at the Science to Action sessions at the Fall Meeting!