Green Cuttings

Curator/organizer perspective #3

in bottles crop

“The good appears not by proclamation but by conversation.” This, from Lewis Hyde’s Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, captures something of my hope for the Rising Waters Confab. His book tells the story of the commons with a focus on the cultural commons. What I’m learning about the commons, both from him and others, gives me a framework that both guides how I imagine a healthy environmental future and provides a missing piece of the puzzle for how we’ll get there.

With the future in mind, the commons is both an ancient and contemporary way of managing shared resources, such as water and air, creative and intellectual ideas, and scientific discoveries. I suspect that we won’t get far toward creating a more sustainable future unless we develop a stronger commitment to the commons and find ways to operate beyond just market and government spheres.

In reaching for that future, the commons “cannot be achieved by individual decision-making alone; rather, they are created and sustained by common action,” says Bruce Sievers, another commons thinker I admire. Our Rising Waters Confab – and the meals, offsite adventures, play, and work we do together – may be a way to create our own commons and find “the good.” In addition to whatever else we do collectively, the conversation can itself be a valuable kind of common action.


tent white on dark crop

Naomi Klein spoke at Town Hall Seattle last fall about her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. During her talk she said: “We’re allowing sea levels to rise in the name of protecting an economic system that is failing the vast majority…(click to read more)

One response to “Green Cuttings

  1. Pingback: What is the commons? – Anne Focke carries on

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