A recent field trip along the Lower Severn Vale with a group of Landscape and Applied Ecology MSc students highlighted some of the opportunities and challenges associated with weaning ourselves off large-scale and centralised electricity generating systems. The area of interest is part of the Severn estuary between Gloucester and the old suspension bridge carrying the M48 from Aust to Chepstow.
John Powells writes about two developments related to society’s capacity to deal with the management of global commons problems.
One of the pleasures of urban living is the opportunity to be surprised by artwork that may appear, literally overnight, on the side of buildings, on railway carriages, under bridges, and particularly on large expanses of smooth bare concrete.
The way people experience, use, and access urban space depends in large part on their socio-economic situation. High personal income and a good job can bring access to all the cultural and artistic pleasures a city has to offer, a place to live with the security of property ownership.
There is a new interest in the management of cities and the conceptualisation of shared urban spaces as commons. Scholars and activists have recently been exploring the management and governance of shared spaces such as city streets, green spaces, parks, public squares, and even community gardens (allotments).
On Day 4 of the IASC 2015 Commons conference in Edmonton, Alberta, the headlines in the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper, referred to Canada’s treatment of First Nations people as ‘A history of cultural genocide’, in reference to remarks by the Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin.
One of the great things about IASC conferences is the opportunity to explore local issues, and the recent global commons conference in Alberta has been no exception. Due to the close working relationships developed between the IASC Conference Organising Committee and the First Nations we were given the opportunity to visit the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation at their reserve, around 72 Km north-west of Edmonton, Alberta, on the shore of the sacred Lake Wakamne (also known as Lake St Anne).
“We lived here, we were a nation, we were sovereign. We still believe we are a nation, that this land we live on is ours. But if we don’t continue to move forward as a people, then I foresee more problems. We need to remind this country we are here to stay. We are not immigrants – we have nowhere else to go.” Rose C. Laboucan, Driftpile Cree Nation (speaking at the IASC International Conference, May 2015).
Two interesting keynote presentations at the IASC Commons Conference in Alberta last week, provided alternative views of the problems facing the Arctic in the immediate future. Rob Huebert, a research fellow at the Canadian International Council and Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, focused on ‘Arctic Sovereignty and climate change’.
Opening Ceremony of the 15th IASC Global Conference on Commons, Alberta, Canada There are two overarching benefits to being a member of the IASC; first are the people you get to know from other countries, other disciplines, and those involved in other aspects of commons activity – whether it is defending their own commons, working for an NGO in some remote corner of the globe, or fighting private interests.