Of the commons

The tragedy of the commons is often taught in the beginning of any AP Environmental Science class and it comes down to one basic principle. The idea that when a resource is defined as ‘public’ it then becomes abused by everyone as no one person has the need for the resource to last indefinitely.

Lockean economics argues that the answer to this perpetual problem is to privatize public resources and land, giving the responsibility to conserve and protect to the individual landowners.

In theory this idea could work, except in these modern times of globalization, land can be bought by outsiders who outprice locals and then monetize the resource with little regard to the effect on local communities. For all intents and purposes the new owners could have no intention for the common good, but only look after his own bottom line.

This is not a rant about capitalism, because I fully support the free market. This is a mission call to the people who believe in something more than increasing the number in their bank account. It is up to us, those who care about the preservation of vital ‘common’ spaces to support the communities and organizations who work diligently to protect natural heritage.

The United Nations has declared certain parts of the world as Common Heritage of Mankind spaces. This mainly focuses on space and the ocean, but I think that it can extend to the dwindling parts of the world that hold within it biodiversity and important global ecosystem services.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate a connection between the broader public and the conservation organizations the fight everyday to preserve biodiversity and protect ecosystems which people depend upon for their livelihoods. It’s focus will be on community conservation projects with the end goal of helping to raise money for individual projects.

This connection will help the donor to see their money in action and give their voice to the daily mission of biodiversity protection. Through capitalistic methods of letting money speak, this will enable donors to take an active role in conservation issues and provide a more fulfilling experience than simply donating to an organization.

The end goal is to show that the tragedy of the commons does not have to be all encompassing. The humanity in us all compels us to help each other and to protect the remaining areas of our natural heritage for the betterment of our lives and the possibility of better lives for our children.

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