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Regional Sustainable Environmental Science (RESES)



The goal of the RESES research program is to promote healthy and sustainable communities with an emphasis on combining practical field measures and measurements with effective, long-term, community involvement.  The key to the program is using the best available tools and science to assign value to our shared ecosystem goods and services.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that communities, regions, and the nation need to be able to consider the production and value of ecosystem goods and services when making decisions, developing solutions, and formulating policies related to the sustainable protection of human health and the environment.

Ecosystem goods and services are "Outputs of ecological functions or processes that directly or indirectly contribute to social welfare or have the potential to do so in the future."  Examples include the availability of usable water, soil fertility, opportunities for recreation, catchable fish, etc. 

The RESES program focuses on developing ecosystem goods and service-related data and tools that will be used to enable effective, efficient, and socially responsible solutions to commonly faced sustainability problems.

Six projects were selected earlier this year to demonstrate the value of this type of fully collaborative community-based approach.  They include watershed assessments in Atlanta, GA and rural Puerto Rico; balancing renovation options in an elementary school in Springfield, MA; weighing underlying environmental factors in Tribal Housing decisions; rapid assessment tools for performing health impact assessments (HIA) and incorporating environmental justice (EJ) factors; and, a forward-leaning project that is an important consideration in each demonstration project β€” How to develop practical and accessible approaches to long-term sustainability that are both effective and easily recognizable by the public.

Although these demonstration projects span a range of geographically and scientifically distinct remediation challenges, and some deal almost exclusively with how to shape important environmental policy, the driving force in each case is how to gain a realistic evaluation of a shared environmental resource, whether that is a physical setting, a renewable commodity or even an issue of social fairness.

In short, RESES is meant to be a living, flexible, evolving blueprint to help us address challenging regional environmental issues β€” One that works now because it is based on current data and one that, even though broadly inclusive, responds quickly as new information becomes available. 

Research In Action
  • A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in a Springfield, MA EJ Community Elementary School to Evaluate Proposed Remediation Scenarios for Indoor Sources and Near-Roadway Transportation Exposures (R1)
  • Citizen Monitoring of Water Quality and Sanitation in a Rural Puerto Rico Watershed (R2)
  • Conducting an HIA (Health Impact Assessment) in the Proctor Creek District of Atlanta, GA to assess the distribution of both environmental and health impacts as Green Infrastructure approaches to Community Revitalization move forward (R4)
  • Development of a Sustainability Tool for Tribal Housing Decision Making (R8)
  • HIA and EJ Analysis – developing a rapid assessment tool for assessing environmental justice and community health impacts (R10)
  • Working with Communities to Develop Practical Measures of Sustainability (R1, R2, R3, R4, R7, and R10)

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