The ancient concept of the commons is based on the belief that what belonged to one belonged to all. As Maude Barlow explains in the report Our Water Commons: “many indigenous societies to this day cannot conceive of denying a person or a family basic access to food, aid, land, water and livelihood” as these are all shared as part of a commons. “Many modern societies extended the same concept of universal access to the notion of the social commons, creating education, health care and social security for all members of the community,” adds Barlow.
American commons pioneer and journalist Jonathan Rowe explains the commons like this: “The commons is the vast realm that lies outside of both the economic market and the institutional state, and that all of us use without toll or price.”
The Blue Planet Project believes that water should be viewed as part of a global commons – available to all and protected from misuse and harm to ensure its availability for future generations. We need a new narrative for the management and preservation of the world’s fresh water resources so water can no longer be seen as a commodity that can be bought and sold on the market, but as a social and public good that no one owns, shared equitably for the public good.