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March 24, 2010

Expanding the Meaning of the Commons

As our understanding of the commons evolves, so does our language to describe it

The vocabulary of the commons is expanding as more people realize the practical value of these ideas and actions. No longer simply a noun, the commons is now spoken about with verbs and adjectives.

Here are some examples of the new language of the commons.

COMMONS: What we share. Creations of both nature and society
that belong to all of us equally, and should be maintained for
future generations.

COMMONS-BASED SOCIETY: A society whose economy, political
culture and community life revolve around promoting a
diverse variety of commons.

COMMONS-BASED SOLUTIONS: Distinctive innovations and
policies that remedy problems by helping people manage
resources cooperatively and sustainably.

COMMONERS: In modern use, the people who use a particular
commons; especially those dedicated to reclaiming and
restoring the commons.

COMMONING: A verb to describe the social practices used by
commoners in the course of managing shared resources and
reclaiming the commons. Popularized by historian Peter