SERI is a community-based, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that was created in 1994 as a community participatory research institute dedicated to providing unbiased research to disadvantaged and marginalized communities to solve their environmental challenges and build healthy and safe neighborhoods. Communities in southern Arizona face past, present and future environmental problems including pollution, water scarcity and rising temperatures. Economically disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted and have the least resources to develop solutions. For over 20 years we have partnered with neighborhoods that are under economic, environmental and health stress and help determine the risks to which the residents are exposed and actions to be taken to reduce those risks. We conduct risk reduction and healthy homes interventions, provide technical assistance, conduct community participatory research, offer educational opportunities, respond to community needs and implement programs to make immediate and long-term impacts.
We work to create a sustainable world where there is environmental justice and opportunity for all people regardless of economic, ethnic, nationality or gender status.
The communities in which we live and work have been disproportionately affected by pollution in the past and present and unless things change will be so in the future, especially as human-made global warming impacts the climate. These communities have the fewest resources to address the issues that affect their families and homes. We provide assistance and conduct research to create the capacity necessary to address these problems. Our strategies to accomplish this are:
- To provide communities with methods to mitigate the effects of exposure to pollutants and environmental threats to their health and livelihood;
- To enhance society’s ability to protect the environment and human health by implementing science and engineering solutions with local leaders; and
- To use science and technology to create solutions which respect the earth and understand our partnership with it.
- Conducting home visits – We’ve conducted over 8,000 home visits and helped families improve their living environment.
- Reducing childhood lead poisoning – We’ve referred over 600 families to the City of Tucson Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program.
- Preventing fire injuries – We’ve installed over 20,000 smoke alarms in low-income households.
- Developing community risk maps using GIS – We walked or drove all of southern metropolitan Tucson and recorded environmental hazards and community resources to produce maps which are now used to help target programs and mitigation measures.
- Promoting tree planting – Through our tree planting program with Trees for Tucson, we’ve saved 135,437 kWh of energy and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over 161,000 lb.
- Implementing a business visit pollution prevention program – Businesses have reduced emissions of volatile organic compounds by over 10,000 lb/yr.
- Preventing falls – We’ve installed over 350 grab bars in homes to help prevent injuries from falls.
- Responding to community needs on air permitting issues – We’ve worked with community members to provide meaningful public input into the air permitting process.
- Implementing an air toxics monitoring program – With Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and University of Arizona Department of Atmospheric Sciences we conducted air monitoring of heavy metals.
- Developing a Healthy Childcare Program – We’ve conducted healthy childcare visits at over 200 childcare facilities.
- Installing rainwater harvesting systems – We’ve provided over 50 rain barrels and installed over 300 rainwater harvesting systems with low-income families.
- Developing technologies – SERI has two patents for novel methods of reusing recycled glass.