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April 30, 2012

Handy Tools for Achieving Commons Based Solutions

10 Questions for working together

This is an introductory module that we have used to engage people in discussions about ownership, belonging and stewardship of a common resource. We begin with handing out the quote or putting it up on newsprint and then facilitating the questions below. We draw people’s attention to begin thinking about a given issue or situation through the lens of creating a commons based society.

“A commons arises whenever a given community decides that it wishes to manage a resource in a collective manner, with a special regard for equitable access, use and sustainability. It is a social form that has long lived in the shadows of our market culture,  but which is now on the rise.”  -David Bollier

We have used these questions both with hypothetical stories and with real situations that face a community or organization.

1. What are the resources at stake that we want to lay claim to?

2. Why are they at stake? (This helps elicit the market based society’s threat to our common resources.)

3.Who is the community, who is the we?

4. Who has something at stake? ( State why we get to have a say.)

5. What would have to change for people to be able to act on that stake together?

6. What would the nature of relationships need to be and how could they act collectively?

7. What would managing the resource in a collective/shared way look like?

8. What would it mean to manage the resource collectively?

9. How could we insure equitable access and use?

10. How would we sustain the resource for future generations and future use?