RCE Greater Portland - 2020

Bridging for Sustainability
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Bridging for Sustainability
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Portland
Contributing organization(s) : 
RCE Greater Portland, USA
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Additional resources: 
First Event: https://gpsen.org/collaborative-efforts-to-battle-climate-change-a-conversation-hosted-by-gpsens-bridging-for-sustainability/

Second Event: https://gpsen.org/decolonizing-sustainability-cooperative-approaches-to-environmental-preservation/
Sustainable Energy; Clean water.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Neeraja Havaligi <drhavaligi@gmail.com>, <Tahira Abbas <abbas.m.tahira@gmail.com>, Pranoti Deshmukh <pranotipdeshmukh@gmail.com>; Owen Rudloff <orudloff1114@gmail.com>; Justin Barrieault <bjustin@pdx.edu> and Erica Risberg <erica.l.risberg@gmail.com>
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The project is hosted for the diverse community stakeholders in Portland Metro and surrounding areas that are geographically included in GPSENs work. These include Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon State and Washington State.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
GPSEN's research and Curriculum committee hosts 'Bridging for Sustainability' events for the Greater Portland Community.

This event was designed to address the felt need for a common platform that hosts communication between researchers, practitioners (education institutions, private and public sector, policy-makers and community members to address sustainability issues from different perspectives. The felt need for this is across all the 17 SDGs, in understanding and bringing community members and stakeholders upto speed with the work going on that align to the individual SDGs, identifying the overlaps in work, potential for collaboration, and gaps in the work that needs to be addressed.

January, 2020
We find that often the priorities and needs of diverse stakeholders may not be aligned on identification of sustainability needs and challenges and how to best address these, and support the changes necessary to achieve and amplify Sustainable Development Goals. Hence, there exists therefore a need to better understand and integrate these multiple perspectives as well as to accelerate stakeholder collaborations between research and practice to address sustainability issues in the region. As an organization that envisions a region where ESD is prioritized and integrated across all sectors, GPSEN can play a role in minimizing this existing gap between sustainability stakeholders.
Recognizing these needs, and the potential GPSEN has in connecting researchers, practitioners and policymakers to collaborate for a collective shift towards a sustainable future, GPSEN’s Research and Curriculum Committee developed the concept of ‘Bridging for Sustainability’ event.

Host a thematic platform for communication between researchers, practitioners (education institutions, private and public sector, policy-makers and community members to address sustainability issues from different perspectives.
Each event is centered on a theme, usually identified in context of current local events, discussions or challenges or could even be aligned to the UN international days and local work that speaks to these UN days.
The objective of the event is to provide an opportunity for the diverse stakeholders to discuss their needs, challenges, share ideas and solutions aligned to the theme of the day. In pursuing this objective GPSEN hopes to create an atmosphere of trust and facilitate collaboration through empathy based dialogue to identify sustainability needs and challenges, potential solutions to address them, explore ways to support changes necessary to achieve and amplify local sustainability goals while adding momentum to the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
As an organization that envisions a region where ESD is prioritized and integrated across all sectors, GPSEN can play a role in minimizing this existing gap between sustainability stakeholders.
Through this event, GPSEN connects stakeholders from research, NGOS, Business, Education, Policy and Community to be on a common platform for empathy based dialogue on the day's theme in context of science, practice and policy. For example if the theme is sustainable energy, as our first event was, the event hosted speakers from Science, Practice and Policy and invited others such as NGOS, community, etc to discuss the challenges to sustainable energy in Portland and surrounding areas. Based on this event, the organizers decided to facilitate the next events centered around the three questions in the Talanoa Dialogue. These are 1. Where are we? 2. Where do we want to be 3. How do we get there?
These three main questions help all stakeholders to share their perspectives, and gain a collective understanding to what might be needed (e.g. collaboration, minimize overlap, fortify financial support etc) to make an equitable and inclusive shift towards a sustainable future,

Bridging for Sustainability event, seeks to bring sustainability researchers and practitioners in our region together by holding regular SDG-oriented/themed meetups to:
1). Provide a space for both academia and practice to share their various perspectives around the implementations of the SDGs in our region, as well as to identify shared priorities, assess divergences and discuss implications from the diverse stakeholder lenses. These include stakeholders from Research, Education, NGOs, Private Sector/Business; Policy and Community, brought to a common platform of science, policy and practice.
2) Encourage research dissemination on sustainability & encourage a more active role of practitioners (users of research) in shaping these research agendas
3) Ideally, inspire and accelerate joint collaborations between researchers & practitioners in the region in relation to the SDGS in order to achieve coordinated solutions.
4) Advance practical knowledge & experience-sharing: analyze trade-offs and identify opportunities
Size of academic audience: 
upto 50
Event 1 Summary:Collaborative Efforts to Battle Climate Change: A Conversation Hosted by GPSEN’s “Bridging for Sustainability https://gpsen.org/collaborative-efforts-to-battle-climate-change-a-conversation-hosted-by-gpsens-bridging-for-sustainability/
Event 2 Title and Link : Decolonizing Sustainability: Cooperative Approaches to Environmental Preservation. https://gpsen.org/decolonizing-sustainability-cooperative-approaches-to-environmental-preservation/
Lessons learned: 
The process of planning this event and hosting it was a reminder of the enormous collective effort needed by the research and curriculum team to
Identify the theme for the day- aligned with UN international day or the current event/discussion/challenge around a sustainability issue
Identify speakers, stakeholders and participants early enough, and ensure their attendance for the day. Prepare notes for outreach and the time consuming outreach.
The first event -identifying location to host the program (physical venue) was a challenge, which was resolved by the gracious offer by Community Energy Project, our local collaborator who agreed to provide space to host these events.
The second event we hosted online (due to COVID). It gave us a sense for what it takes to plan to keep the punch for the event, and the outreach to ensure online participation.
Community networks are important to host such events.
In person events would be appreciated with some drinks -like hot tea/coffee especially during winter, and some snacks. Our events were held between 4-5.30pm,
We feel the need to make more intentional strides towards having wider representation of our community to ensure it is equitable and inclusive and represents our community diversity.
Key messages: 
The key messages include
A felt need for dialogue from diverse stakeholders, an appreciation of the Bridging for Sustainability model which enables such a platform to host diverse people to share their concerns, needs and ideas to solve challenges.
The event has the potential to map the identified needs, ongoing work, accomplishments and innovations aligned with the 17 SDGs at the local level. These could potentially provide insights and opportunities to other regional and global RCE partners to learn from and collaborate forward.
The Talanoa dialogue format facilitated the conversation and flow of events, as evidenced in the blog.
These events are a step in the direction that can create intentional networking between individuals, institutions, organizations etc in our community to advance SDG work ground up. This network will provide the foundation for GPSENs sustainability clearing house database and the community based network to bring climate messages at the GPSENs Virtual Bridges for UNFCCC COP.
The event helps Incorporate a lens of equity into all of our work; helps identify new partners, members, and projects with a specific focus and alignment to the SDGS to highlight local (and regional/ national efforts) to achieve these goals.
The event provides a common ground for stakeholders to review new and upcoming policies, potentially providing a conduit for the voices to be heard by the policy makers.
In promoting diversity in all of our events, drawing on expertise and participation from as indicated in the diagram for this model, the event exemplifies a simple but intentional effort to resonate with diversity, equity and inclusion through this work.

Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The Bridging for sustainability model which is centered on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to identify and enable all stakeholders in the community to participate in sustainability dialogues is a unique effort from RCE Greater Portland.
The model also uses the Talanoa Dialogue approach to host empathy based dialogue between diverse stakeholders. This model can speak to and can be adopted by other RCE's to host their local sustainability bridges, to identify and fortify their community networks.
Participation of diverse stakeholders at equal footing ensuring equity and inclusion is critical to achieve the SDGs, with the 'All for All' approach for Inclusion and Education, highlighted in UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) ) published in 2020. This model can effectively serve other RCE’s in pursuit of diversity, inclusion and equity goals, which form the foundations to work toward the SDGs.
The event won a grant from IAP2 (https://iap2usa.org/cascade). This Community Capacity grant award was awarded based on the IAP2 committee being'impressed with the project, how well it aligns with our Core Values and know it will continue to benefit the communities you work with and in". (Source- the Award letter from IAP2)


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon GPSEN FLYER - BRIDGING FOR SUSTAINABILITY-MARCH 26TH.jpg (804.24 KB) Bridging for Sustainability Poster Tahira Abbas
Image icon Bridging For Sustainability- A Multi-Stakeholder Framework.jpg (118.05 KB) Bridging for Sustainability Model Owen Rudloff, Neeraja Havaligi and Tahira Abbas
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level