A couple of years ago, I first read Heather Menzies Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good. It is a combination of memoir and manifesto. In the ‘dog days of Summer’ it was time to re-read it.
Menzies states ‘ To reclaim the commons as a model for how to organize and govern society, then, we must assert the legitimacy of knowledge and ways of knowing that help define that model’ p.98
Before defining her manifesto, she identifies a set of capacity building activities:
- Healing and Connecting with Our Selves
- Healing, Habitats and Reconnecting with Nature
- Ecoliteracy and Knowing through Implicated Participation
- Commoning Knowledge and Knowledge Commons
- Commons Organizing and the Common Good
- A Spirit Dialogue, Reconnecting with Creation.
Picking up the Menzies book, came about after finishing the book by Chris Benjamin Eco-innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada. Benjamin interviewed a number of innovators. One of them was Alan Warner at Acadia University. He teaches in the Department of Community Development. Warner offers a number of noteworthy comments.
“Creating healthy, happy, caring humans was as simple as designing better communities, one where people work and play together, take care of each other, and take care of their environment”. p.184.
” In the trickle up model, individuals collaborate as organizations and communities to influence their municipalities which work together as municipal associations, which influence provinces, which eventually influence nations” p.187.
” We’re pretty good at community in this part of the world. We’re backward compared to modernity. That ‘backwardness’, that old fashioned sense of interdependence, connectedness, and community, is hopeful.” p.189.
The third ‘comm-‘ word is communications. One of the pleasures of rural living is access to local newspapers, in both printed and electronic format. Only this week, did I realize (by mistake) that we have the Annapolis Valley Register serving Annapolis and Kings County and the Valley Journal Advertiser serving Hants and Kings County. Plus, there is The Reader, published by the Endless Shores Books in Bridgetown, serving the communities and people of Annapolis County. Thanks to Larry and Lewis. Such richness !
Chris Benjamin. 2011. Eco-Innovators. Sustainability in Atlantic Canada. Nimbus Publishing.
Heather Menzies.2014. Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good.New Society Publishers.