Great Lakes Commons Initiative

From P2P Foundation
Jump to: navigation, search

= The Great Lakes Commons Initiative is a cross-border grassroots effort to establish the Great Lakes as a commons and legally protected bioregion [1]

URL = http://www.greatlakescommons.org/


Description

"The Great Lakes Commons Initiative is a cross-border grassroots effort to establish the Great Lakes as a commons and legally protected bioregion. It is led by a growing network of activists and artists, scientists and teachers, Indigenous leaders, urban and rural communities, commons scholars and public trust experts, and small business owners and recreationalists—people like you who want to see the Lakes thrive for generations to come.

The work of the Great Lakes Commons Initiative is to:

   Awaken and restore our relationship to these incredible waters;
   Activate a spirit of responsibility and citizenship in the bioregion; and,
   Empower stewardship and governance that enables communities to protect these waters in perpetuity.

In order to establish the Great Lakes as a commons and protected bioregion, we believe the work itself must be treated as a commons. Activists alone will not be able to accomplish our goals. It will require participation from us all to succeed.

In this spirit, we have sought to build the Great Lakes Commons Initiative by activating a broad-based constellation of leaders throughout the region who can cultivate a sense of connection and belonging among the network and who share a deep sense of responsibility for the initiative. Through this effort we have laid the groundwork for the steering committee and commons governance we will ultimately need to see the work into the future.

The Great Lakes Commons Initiative is a collaborative, incubated project of On The Commons (OTC), a commons movement strategy center with a focus on elemental commons such as water, seeds, and land that face various threats and require new stewardship approaches." (http://www.greatlakescommons.org/about-us/about-us/)


History

" The Great Lakes Commons initiative grew from a concern for the future of the Great Lakes and a troubling question: Why, with all of the remarkable efforts to protect and preserve the Great Lakes, are our waters ever more jeopardized? This question was at the center of a 2010 gathering of environmental and environmental justice activists, First Nations and Native American leaders, scientists, legal advocates and other allies who shared a love of the Great Lakes.


Those at the gathering concluded that as important as our issue work was, all of our efforts would not be sufficient to insure healthy Lakes without also addressing the deeper problems that undermine the governance of the Lakes. These included:

  • Policies and attitudes that are biased toward private and commercial interests at the expense of ecological and human wellbeing;


  • That people of the Lakes are not seen as central to water stewardship and largely lack standing or power in the water decisions that affect them;


  • Political boundaries in the region that fragment decision making in ways that do not correspond to ecological realities;


And stunningly, that we appear to have forgotten that we too are part of this eco-system, not outside it, and that our lives and those of future generations depend on the Lakes.

We could see that we would be stymied in creating the future we want if we continue to fight the attacks on the lakes one by one without also developing a transformative vision and ground-breaking strategy.

And we knew we could not wait for someone else to lead, that citizens of the Lakes would need to step up and act. The Great Lakes Commons Initiative was born.


We left the gathering determined to see the Great Lakes established as a commons and legally protected bio-region. We looked to the wisdom and practice of commons and indigenous governance, both long-standing traditions, distinct yet each embodying a kindred attention to:

   care for the water
   shared responsibility
   equitable and sustainable use
   a multi-generational perspective
   the integrity of the eco-system
   the participation of all in the stewarding of our waters.

While this may feel a long way from the way we treat the Lakes now, these commitments exist in our histories and cultures, our faith traditions, our public trust laws and many of our community practices. They reflect both scientific realities and our beliefs about the significance of our Lakes. We must build on these as the legitimate basis for determining what happens to our waters and who decides that.


We created an organizing approach congruent with our vision. A commons requires the leadership of many. So rather than base this effort in one organization or even a coalition, we have intentionally created an open network capable of catalyzing and supporting broad, unlimited and unexpected leadership.

We created an organizing approach congruent with our vision. A commons requires the leadership of many. So rather than base this effort in one organization or even a coalition, we have intentionally created an open network capable of catalyzing and supporting broad, unlimited and unexpected leadership.

This Initiative is growing. It is not the work of any one organization or group of leaders but of many people in many places. You can become part of this unfolding story, of people who have decided the Lakes are too important to leave up to others. In fact a Great Lakes Commons isn’t possible without you, your voice, ideas and energy. It truly is up to us – us all." (http://www.greatlakescommons.org/about-us/our-story/)