Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network


GPSEN connects diverse organizations in a collaborative network that multiplies our collective capacity to educate, empower, and engage each other to help create a healthy, just, and thriving region where education for sustainability is prioritized and integrated across sectors and  everyone has opportunities to shape a sustainable future.



Acknowledged as a Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development by United Nations University, in 2013, we serve Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon and Washington. 

Our Values



Systems-based approach focused on people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership


Environmental Justice and Equity

Creating and honoring diverse, healthy, and thriving communities


Inclusive Participation

Working together to ensure and engage a resilient and vibrant region


Transformative Learning

Varying ways of teaching, learning, and knowing



Visionary processes, technologies, and solutions-based strategies


Transparency and Accountability

Open and honest in our governance and practices

Years in Operation


Global RCEs

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does GPSEN define sustainability?
We define sustainability to include social, economic, and environmental dimensions that promote healthy, just, and thriving communities where education for sustainable development (ESD) is prioritized and integrated across sectors and where everyone has opportunities to shape a more sustainable future.
What is Sustainable Development?
One of the most widely cited definitions of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition was first provided by the World Commission on Environment and Development in its 1987 report to the United Nations General Assembly. The report was called “Our Common Future [pdf]” and is also known as the Brundtland Report.
What are Regional Centers of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development?
An RCE is a network of organizations within a region that facilitate and deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) to local communities. The education may be formal (e.g., classroom), nonformal (e.g., educational arms of organizations), or informal (e.g., the media). The RCE program is a global initiative of United Nations University, designed originally to support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). As of August 2018, there were 165 RCEs worldwide.

Each RCE has four core elements:

  • Governance: addressing issues of RCE management and leadership
  • Collaboration: addressing the engagement of actors from all levels of formal, non-formal and informal education
  • Research and development: addressing the role of research and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for collaborative activities, including those with other
  • Transformative education: contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to satisfy ambitions of the region regarding sustainable living and livelihood.

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