What Are The Commons

The Commons are the shared resources of nature and society that we inherit, create and use – the collective heritage of humanity. They range from the traditional (biodiversity, clean air, rivers, forests, historic knowledge, indigenous cultures, public places) to the emerging (solar, wind and other natural energy, intellectual property, non-commercial aspects of the internet, including platform cooperatives). The social aspect of our Commons includes resources for healthcare, education, and labor relations, among the many things that we all share. They provide the foundation for our social, cultural and economic life.

Commons-based economics strives to achieve a balance between individual and collective rights in managing access to resources. A Commons functions most effectively when it is managed by the very people who benefit from it through self-governance, collaboration and collective action, with priority given to fulfilling the basic needs of everyone.

Why are the Commons important?

To ensure a hopeful future for ourselves and coming generations, we must vigorously protect and govern the Commons.

If we cannot answer questions such as:

  • will water supplies remain adequate and accessible?
  • will food be plentiful and affordable when our grandchildren come of age?
  • will the environment always be healthy and access to needed resources plentiful?
  • will my own contributions and input always be honored to influence our system?
  • … then we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

    But if we take the necessary steps now to protect our Commons through education and coordinated action for new legal and managing structures, we can answer these questions in the affirmitive. Our determination to act will leave those who come after us with a more balanced world than we are leaving through the ‘ownership society’ of exploitation and aggression that we see today. When we claim our inalienable right to equitably manage and revalue our common goods, civilization will be transformed.

    Action Priorities

    EDA’s primary focus is on food, water and energy, since these resources are fundamental, interdependent and vulnerable to future shortages. Given that land and water sources are being acquired for exploitation by commercial interests and vast underground aquifers are being drained at alarming rates, we are presently analyzing the management of food and water resources.

    We are here to support you in educating your elected representatives through our information base. Through our messages and training programs, we are identifying and prioritizing key legislative issues at the Federal, state and local levels to enable focused action. As your advocate, our goal is to provide comprehensive, relevant information in assuring that our common resources are managed for the public good.

    We want to shift decision-making structures into a fair and transparent balance between the needs of business and industry, and citizens within the general public. Trusting the wisdom of an informed and engaged community, we are committed to restoring an equitable and fair voice to all stakeholders within our Commons.