vegetation - available for our use as inhabitants of the earth (Hardin, 1968). The ‘cultural
commons’, on the other hand, are comprised of the long-term sustaining activities,
tangible and abstract, that have been known for centuries. These are the life-sustaining
spaces and practices, and the intergenerational knowledge and non-monetized exchanges
that have forged our social and cultural lives. The cultural commons are the practices that
leave a much smaller ecological footprint, and tend to be more in harmony with the
natural world than concerned with control of it. These cultural commons are very much
alive today in all urban, rural and suburban communities, and include the creative arts,
craft knowledge, knowledge of food production and its cultivation, forms of bartering and
non-monetized systems of exchange, cultural dance and expression, oral history and
storied narratives, healing and medicinal practices, and various ceremonies and games
and heritage languages. In short, the developed patterns of mutual support and exchange
that sustained communities for thousands of years and will become increasingly
important as the opportunity to earn a living in the money economy become more
elusive. Most often, this knowledge includes responsible knowledge of the use of
resources from the natural environment as well as forms of cultural customs and practices
(Bowers 2006, 2011, 2012).
Both forms of commons comprise a vast range of resources that all people have
historically and collectively owned, but which have been and continue to be rapidly
enclosed or privatized, traded in the market, abused or degraded. The process of
converting the commons into market resources can accurately be described as enclosure
because, like the movement to enclose common lands in eighteenth-century England, it
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