Often it’s hard to acknowledge the value of the things that we do not pay for directly like clean air, water,public spaces and public assets like libraries and recreation opportunities.
The Idea of the Commons…
This comes historically comes from small farmers sharing grazing land with rules to ensure it is not over-exploited. Valuing the Commons also includes community decision making and ensuring that democratic processes and people rather than corporate processes and wealth determine public outcomes. Community gardens and farmers markets are obvious examples of the Commons but more broadly the Commons include all the assets that are held in common including the assets of government and local government. Managing the Commons needs systems of rules to ensure they can be sustained and kept healthy.
from the US-based organisation On the Commons
They speak to an inclusive and holistic democracy. On the Commons take a perspective that to create a commons based society people need more than exposure to new ideas; they need tangible ways of experiencing, practicing and living in the Commons.
(@ Principles reproduced with permission from On the Commons)
·To ensure the survival of the community and of our common assets, we must create new customs, understandings, systems, and structures.
- Without exception, we all belong to our community, and we each have an equal stake in what happens.
- We must recognize and repair the damage that has been done, and the inequities that have been created, by our current, market-based society.
- The things that belong to all of us must be named, claimed, defended, protected, and improved. We have a mutual responsibility to take care of these commons and pass them on to the next generation in better shape than we found them.
- We must honour our full humanity. We are not merely individuals and consumers —we are neighbours, community members, citizens, and experts on the places we live.
- We are surrounded by abundance and opportunity that the market does not recognize or value. We must see and claim this abundance for the benefit of all.
- Everyone should have the chance to participate in defining, restoring, creating, managing, leading, governing, and owning anything that is important to the future of the community.
- People most affected by critical decisions must be included in the process of making them.
- History, cultural distinctiveness and people’s personal stories are important factors in setting goals and making decisions, as well as simply understanding our community.
- Sufficiency and resilience are the opposite of the folly of growth.