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Are you a Commoner?


1. If you question the prevailing myth that all problems have private, individualized solutions.

2. If you notice how many of life’s pleasures exist outside the money economy—gardening, fishing, conversing, playing music, playing ball, making love, watching sunsets.

3. If you take time to appreciate and enjoy what the commons offers. (As the visionary Brazilian educator Paulo Freire once declared, “We are bigger than our schedules.”)

4. If you keep in mind that security and satisfaction are more easily acquired from family and friends than from money.

5. If you offer a warm smile or greeting to people you pass. The commons begins with connecting in brief, spontaneous ways.

6. If you treat commons spaces in your community as if you own them (which, actually, you do). Tidy things up. Report problems, or repair things yourself. Initiate improvement campaigns. This includes streets, which should be safe and comfortable for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists.

7. If you are interested in exploring how things you now pay for could be acquired in more cooperative ways—checking out DVDs at the library or quitting the health club and forming a morning running team.

8. If you watch where your money goes. How do the stores, companies and financial institutions you use harm or help the commons? This includes their impact on the environment and poor communities around the world.

9. If you share your knowledge and ideas via commons such as Wikipedia, online communities open-education projects, and open-access journals. Or you could form your own online community to share what matters to you.

10. If you volunteer in your community to solve problems and take advantages of opportunities.

11. If you think of yourself as a commoner and share your enthusiasm. Raise the subject in conversation, around the neighborhood and at work. Stand up against threats to the commons in your community and around the world. Speak out in favor of opportunities to expand the commons.