Sustainable Seattle’s Story

Sustainable Seattle was founded in 1991 by a dedicated group seeking to make sustainability work community-owned. Our UN award-winning Indicators for a Sustainable Community is emulated as a model of assessment by over 90 cities.

Founded in 1991


It all started with…

Community Forum hosted in Seattle by Global Tomorrow Coalition spurs a dedicated group of local community members, who created an Indicators Task Team.

Centering Knowledge in Community

S2 convenes a Civic Panel and hosts community participatory research sessions and workshops. The sessions predated both Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment (est 2000) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (est 2013). S2 laid a framework for local communities to take part in ensuring the integrity of our planet, starting with what’s happening in our immediate surroundings,..Read More

Introducing Indicators

S2 publishes the first Indicators of A Sustainable Community, representing 250 local voices and defining 40 environmental, social, and economic indicators providing measurements of the city’s progress towards sustainability. This and subsequent reports produced by S2 were emulated worldwide and garnered multiple awards, including from the United Nations.

Sustainability Applied

S2 adds to its participatory research efforts with a “Center for Applied Sustainability” and begins consulting for sustainability projects worldwide. Shortly thereafter, S2 forms an alliance with Cascadia Consulting Group.

Resources For Community

S2 launches the B-Sustainable database and a focus on making indicators actionable with the Regional Sustainability Information Commons. S2 continues hosting community workshops for youth, neighborhoods, and the general public, producing Action Agendas and specialized participatory research programs. 

Social Justice and Community Leadership

S2 introduces the STARs program to more directly embed social justice in the environmental and sustainability sector, and introduces workshops examining race in sustainability. S2 presents the first Sustainability Leadership Awards as SCOLA, the Sustainable Community Outstanding Leadership Awards. Community leadership is further supported with S2’s Incubator program.

Happiness Initiative

S2 is tapped to lead a comprehensive assessment of well-being and engage and inspire people, organizations, and policymakers to action.

Greening the City

The Green Blocks Blue Sound, Stormwater Solutions, and Depave projects put green infrastructure development into the hands of neighbors and community members.

It’s 5:00 somewhere!

S2 adopts Seattle Green Drinks, one of the longest running and largest in the world. S2 continues to regularly convene the local sustainability community at happy hours and vibrant celebrations with live music and subject matter expert speakers.

RiSE-ing Up

Our neighborhood initiatives gain focus with the Resilience, Sustainability and Equity emphasis, with specialized services to meet the specific needs of Frontline communities.

Still Centering Community Voices

S2 introduces participatory research and Think Tanks to the vibrant community networking and celebrations. The research results in quarterly summaries and analysis through Sound Listening and In Sight. The Campfire Stories theme is introduced to the Leadership Awards, using storytelling to inspire leadership from within our communities.

From Theory to Practice

S2 adapts to the global pandemic with consistent programs that provide resources and analysis regarding public health, racial justice, and disaster preparedness. Interweave launches, which further refines S2’s incubator and RiSE programs into focused and streamlined capacity building accelerator program for visionary, community-led solutions to the most pressing sustainability challenges of our time.

Aligned Impacts

Intewreave Peers launch three major community co-designed multi-year projects bringing together grassroots organizing, research, design, policy, and inter-organizational collaboration, managed by S2: Soil Health & Justice Initiative, Just Circular Communities, and Healing with the Environment.