Charter Campfire: end of year edition

Our 2015 series of talking across shorelines with supporters of the Great Lakes Commons Charter has ended. More on our 2016 plans below.

We hosted our last Charter conversation on December 17th and once again heard a range of perspectives about moving GLC work forward (blogs on our November and summer Charter series also connect this community).

We started with how we each arrived at the commons framework and our mutual need for an integrated approach. For one person this was the combination of working across Canada/USA borders with regional Ojibwe tribes, having a lake-wide perspective lead by many grassroots efforts, participating in discussions about the Rights for future generations, and learning from the leadership of Anishinaabe women.

We talked about the need to 'animate' this water commons as a living being by learning about and respecting Indigenous languages such as Anishinaabemowin with its 'verb-based' bias. Our theme of 'integration' included talking about the need for good storytelling and the arts to celebrate all the beautiful relationships and values. 

With examples of the Ontario Greenbelt and cottage associations we talked about balancing private property interests and shared commons needs. Appealing to people's care is possible through ongoing trust building and with powerful questions such as "how would it feel if these things were lost?"

We talked about the complexity of commons-based governance and how difficult it can be to create and maintain these models with funding cuts, a lack of commons awareness, and the layers and scope of valuing local relations within regional relationships. 

Our last topic was tools -- how to create an inventory of who's doing what, what are key commoning patterns, and how to celebrate and integrate the various voices for a Great Lakes Commons. People were supportive of the Great Lakes Commons Map for such a purpose - and luckily one of the authors of Patterns of Commoning was on the call with us who highlighted the Commons Map to a global audience. Check out the video to hear everyone's keen perspective. 

We closed with a shared reading of the Commons Charter which best honours the needed unity of this invitational and participatory water agreement .

We'll be keeping our monthly schedule for Charter conversations in the new year. More details to come but we'll be using this forum to focus on key GLC projects for 2016 such as journeying the waters (Feb) and commons communications (March). Add your name to the Charter and watch for updates and invites in your inbox.

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