What’s Next for Our Global Commons

This is a conversation between International Economist and Kosmos Journal featured-contributor, James B. Quilligan and David Bollier, author of Think Like a Commoner and Green Governance. It was recorded at Kosmos Associates Headquarters in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on January 31st, 2014.

An Immediacy Production, for Kosmos Journal.

Commons Economy Rising

Here is an example of a Commons community using a crowd source funding vehicle and a video that describes what is fueling the rising visibility of the Commons as a valued based collective choice for a peaceful and collaborative human presence on the earth. Take a look at this video and share within your networks.

Help Make the Commons Visible

Tell Your STORY…

In 2013, Commons Action for the United Nations will actively create opportunities for raising public awareness as it relates to the Commons, and notable commoners serving the greater good in the form of commoning. Some of the most resilient communities and workplaces are ones where commons-based approaches are foundational in every day decision-making.

v_squigglyTHERE are several ways to share your Commons story….

- Make a video and post it on the web and on the Commons Action Facebook Page

- Write an Article and post a link with an excerpt from your article to the Commons Action Facebook Page

- Create a tele-seminar that shares the nuts and bolts of your Commons story featuring the Commoners and the lessons in Commoning unique to your community and send a notice for inclusion in our It’s the Commons Newsletter

- Or send your story, videos and photos to us at CommonsActionUN@gmail.com and we will post it to our Facebook for you









The infamous image from space known as the Blue Marble is now 40 years old. In the video, enjoy the view of our common home, EARTH from space.

UN Ceremony Highlights Cooperatives

20 November 2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the role of cooperatives in empowering communities and catalyzing inclusive development during a ceremony to close the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

Cooperative representatives, civil society and governments gathered to celebrate the Year and share lessons learned. Representatives from Indonesia, Malta, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkey shared their experiences and achievements throughout the Year. The Indonesian speaker, for example, described how cooperatives promote equitable growth that also helps achieve environmental and poverty reduction goals.

Ban recognized the collaboration between the UN and the cooperative movement “to empower people, enhance human dignity and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” He also highlighted cooperatives’ contribution to sustainable livelihoods, social protection and youth empowerment.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2012 as IYC, under the theme “Promoting Cooperatives Beyond 2012,” in recognition of the role of cooperatives in socio-economic development, including employment generation, poverty reduction and social integration. Cooperatives are characterized as member-driven enterprises that balance member and community needs and interests with the pursuit of profit. [UN Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [IYC Website]


Commons in your Language?

Thanks to our Language Centers Coordinators and their team of translators, Commons Action for the United Nations has the latest flyer available for download in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. To download a copy in your language click HERE or go to our Commons Resources tab and click on Powerful Tools Flyer.

Are You a Commoner?

If you are a Commoner — stop by our FACEBOOK page, introduce yourself, share your story and LIKE our page.


Together, let us make the Commons more visible!

Commons at Work

The COMMONS ACTION FOR THE UNITED NATIONS team worked through December 2012 to answer the call for input during the current phase of the United Nations global consultation process on the Post 2015 process on Environmental Sustainability, MD7 goal. The long version of the document and the CAUN’s supporting documentation is now apart of the Commons here on this website. You can lend your support by adding your organizations endorsement.

Click here to download CAUNs most recent submission…

↑ Return to OWG 10

OWG 10 – Overarching Goal (SDG)



(This goal is equivalent to Goal 2 of the UN’s SDSN document)


This SDG relates to all focus areas of the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG)

Rationale:  This is a matter of survival and so nothing less will suffice. A Safe Operating Space is outlined in the following article by Prof. Will Steffen et al.: Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. http://www.commonsactionfortheunitednations.org/?s=pLANETARY+BOUNDARIES



The following targets will help humanity to live within the planetary boundaries that support human life. They are mutually reinforcing and each one relates to all 19 of the focus areas set out by the OWG..

Target 1. All People Are Accountable for the Impact of their Individual Footprints on the Earth System and Reap the Benefits of Successful Stewardship.

Rationale: The sum of the actions of all people determine the degree to which the Earth System will support human life and thrivability. Once people measurer their individual footprints and become conscious of their impact relative to others, then public pressure and businesses stressing their sustainability for positive publicity are likely to lead to people living within their individual footprints. This process would be further promoted as people notice the positive effects sustainable living has on the quality of their lives, society and the economy.

Implementation: The metrics exist (e.g. ecological footprint; water footprint; carbonfootprint, etc.) and will become increasingly refined with use. See articles by Alessandro Galli on www.CommonsActionfortheUnitedNations;

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/images/uploads/Resource_Constraints_and_Economic_Performance.pdf; www.waterfootprint.org;

Target 2: All People Participate in Open, Inclusive, Democratic Decision Making on Resources and Other Matters that Relate to their Capacity to Thrive.

Rationale: Where people participate with their fellow stakeholders in an inclusive, transparent and democratic form of decision making with regard to the resources they need, common resources tend to be better cared for;  and social relationships become more mutually supportive. Examples include commons based communities, including (digital) networks and cooperatives, (the business arm of the commons with one billion members worldwide.) These tend to be successful even in times of economic downturn since the interests of the individual and the community coincide.

Implementation is already taking place in town hall meetings, through local and (inter)national referenda and global consultations as well as the thousands of commons based communities. Wheresover people are dedicated to the well being of all people and nature the foundation grows stronger for a sustainable global community..

Target 3. All Are Educated in the Basic Skills Required to Live and Thrive within the Planetary Boundaries Required to Support Human Life

Rationale: To enable people to live sustainably and to close the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” that is tearing our world apart, it is necessary to expand our basic education. Such education would include peaceful conflict resolution skills, unblocking conscious use of feeling and intuition the basis for empathy and our umbilical chord to Mother Nature, calculating ones individual footprints (starting with carbon, ecological and water footprints) and ongoing awareness of the health of the various bio-regions of which each is an integral part.

Implementation: Bioregion health could be communicated as a part of weather forecasts, drought and smog alerts and mention actions that each citizen can/must take while an undesirable state exists. The development of intuition, feeling and reasoning abilities can be taught via the Internet where increasingly courses and simple tools for sustainable living are becoming available free of charge. It will be essential if we are to have a level playing field that all must have access to computers and develop IT skills. Web sites listing best practices for sustainability can be increased. With Internet savvy and accessibility new horizons open up.

Target 4: All people contribute to a shift from a debt-based economy that depletes the environment to a commons-based economy at all levels where all live in harmony with one another and nature. See Measures to Shift to a Commons-Based Economy based on the Well Being of All People and Nature.


  1. The present debt based economy requires people to produce and consume so that it can keep itself going, thereby destroying the environment and human health and increasing the chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” It is essential to shift to an economy where all are accountable for their consumption and production and well being is central. http://www.caringeconomy.org/content/what-are-social-wealth-indicators
  2. A commons based economy centres around communities at all levels that have formed to steward specific resources for the benefit of all stakeholders. Here stakeholders tend to be mutually empowering  for their interests are aligned.

Target 5. All Nations Implement the Targets they Have Agreed to in the Past 20 Years.

Target 6: Using Peaceful Means to Resolve Conflicts between People(s) and between People and Nature. See article: Conflict Prevention statement and handout

For more information: www.CommonsActionfortheUnitedNations.org; Lisinka Ulatowska: CommonsActionUN@gmail.com.