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What If Water Was More Than A Resource? Protecting Water As A Shared Commons

Join Paul Baines from the Great Lakes Commons Map for a short presentation and discussion on water as a shared commons. (meet at 6 - presentation at 6:30).

A commons is all that we inherit, share, and pass on. Commons are our collective wealth and they need social agreements to preserve, protect, and enrich them. The past few years has seen the rise of a Great Lakes Commons community. We are inspired by broader commons and indigenous rights movements. 

What can be learned and changed from the past 40 years of water protection? How would a commons-approach change how we govern the Great Lakes (or any waterway)? What are some principles and practices that can make this commons shift happen? How can this water commons ethic be applied and adapted to how you care for water?

View the Great Lakes Commons Map here:

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  • paul b.

    August 20, 2014

  • paul b.

    adding to Korice's overview (and i really wish i took some photos) was the disruption of the 'bi-national' agreements that currently exist between only Canada and the USA (fun fact: the International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes doesn't include Lake Michigan). I talked about Wampum Belts and the One Bowl One Spoon
    agreements between First Nations in the Great Lakes region. so yes - the questions "who speaks for the Great Lakes?", "what kinds of agreements are the most powerful (legal, sacred, personal, social, scientific, economic)?" and "how should various Nations (native and non-native) honour Treaties and apply a 'water-commons' ethic.

    thanks to all those who came out and stay in touch.

    2 · May 8, 2014

  • paul b.

    thanks for coming Korice -- many good conversations about water commoning. i left with more notes than what i brought in. hopefully the commons approach can be that shared vision some folks are looking for while also being a paradigm that not only is already lived in many examples, but one that can develop and scale up to the bioregional level. it's so much more energizing to talk solutions rather than problems.

    2 · May 8, 2014

  • Korice M.

    Glad to have attended last night's Meetup in Toronto.
    Paul Baines framed his talk around two questions: Who speaks for the Great Lakes? What are the most powerful agreements we can braid together to create a new story? Good discussion followed on the value of mapping place-based stories and successes, and the benefits (and challenges) of citizen science and community-based monitoring.

    I learned the word "commons" means both a "gift" and a "duty". Indeed! Thank you for organizing this event.

    1 · May 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello Paul, Thank you for putting this group together. I am confused, however, as to how I can participate as I live in Milwaukee, WI, on the banks of the Great Lake Michigan. Thank you again, Emily

    1 · April 30, 2014

    • paul b.

      hi emily - good question. there's also an event may 7 in Milwaukee listed on this group - and as we grow we hope to organize in other places as well. this Meetup group lets us have a more bioregional perspective, keep in better contact with one another, and act as a 'collaboratory'­ for this participatory work. have you seen the Commons Map yet? or the discussion forums (to be more developed in the coming weeks). thanks for your question - hope this helps keeping us moving forward.

      1 · April 30, 2014

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