Ancestral Relations with the Land

If we are to heal the earth, we must also heal ourselves, individually and as communities. Moreover, the two are inter-connected. It’s all about relations — relations of mutual recognition and respect and mutual support and sustainability. It’s also about the daily practices of mutuality and responsible self-governance that support these relations.

 

Menzies_tweet_AncestorsBy Heather Menzies

As memories of giving the opening keynote at an International Conference on the Commons (IASC2015) start to fade, the lasting learning for me is twofold:

  • First, that we all have ancestral relations to the land; and,
  • second, that positioning ourselves to reclaim this, at first just in our imagination as a possible shift in perspective, is a critical step in reconnecting with the earth and the urgent task of transforming our economic and political relations with it, for mutual survival.

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On why a “People’s Climate” works, but only so far

“The People’s Climate” Blog Series, Part 1

Countdown to Paris, Dec., 2015: The People’s Climate & 350.org

This article starts “The People’s Climate” blog series by Heather Menzies, author of Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good: A memoir & a manifesto.

In Reclaiming the Commons, I praise Bill McKibben and 350.org as Luddites for our times for championing limits on energy extraction.

– Heather Menzies

Source: http://peoplesclimate.org/

Source: http://peoplesclimate.org/

# One: On why a “People’s Climate” works, but only so far.

If you’d marched to the UN shouting “the people’s climate” 20 years ago, it wouldn’t have made sense like it does now. Two things have changed.

Back then, scientist-experts informed government decision-makers who spoke and acted to defend common-good things like the climate and the environment on behalf of people and the planet. Sometimes they needed a nudge from opposition parties and civil society groups, but that generally moved things along, sort of; though the crisis kept deepening, becoming more palpably obvious too. Now civil society groups –the people– are taking the initiative, informing themselves of the science and telling decision-makers what to say and do, NOW. The fate of the earth, and of its climate is no longer a scientists’ or official policymakers’ issue. It has become a people’s issue.

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David Bollier reviews Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

Commons blogger David Bollier has reviewed Heather’s new book, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good.

“The great virtue of Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is its willingness to probe into the deep personal and spiritual dimensions of commoning — while not losing sight of the entrenched, all-too-real political and policy structures that also must be confronted.  We need more such approaches to the commons — because if the commons aspires to bring about a more integrated, holistic way of life and self-governance, we must begin to pay as much attention to the inner, invisible mysteries as the outer, visible dramas.”

Read the full review on David’s blog.

My new book, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good begins as a memoir, my personal journey into the Highlands of Scotland to find that place on earth where my ancestors once lived in direct relations with the land, in self-governing commons.  It ends with a manifesto that identifies commons-keeping practices that could be reclaimed today. I link these practices to some promising initiatives in current social movements to frame what I see as a possibly emergent movement to reclaim the commons of earth, and perhaps a lost identity as commoners, too.

Order your copy from New Society Publishers today!

Heather`s New Book: Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

Book cover: Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

“Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an admirable, even noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster. There’s more than a little irony in the fact that it is the indigenous people all over the world who are at the forefront of the struggle to rescue us from the fate that the most technologically advanced societies are creating, day by day. There’s not much time, and it’s a huge task. I hope what this book has the impact it deserves.”
— Noam Chomsky

“Globalization of the corporate mandate — maximize growth and profit — has been incredibly destructive of the social and ecological fabric that are the keys to sustainability. When the great Crash, ecologic or economic, comes, Heather Menzies’ brilliant critique, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, provides an understanding of why it came about and a path towards a truly sustainable way for humanity to live on the planet.” — David Suzuki

Commoning was a way of life for most of our ancestors. In Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, author Heather Menzies journeys to her roots in the Scottish Highlands, where her family lived in direct relation with the land since before recorded time.

Beginning with an intimate account of unearthing the heritage of the commons and the real tragedy of its loss, Menzies offers a detailed description of the self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles of this nearly forgotten way of life, including its spiritual practices and traditions. She then identifies pivotal commons practices that could be usefully revived today. A final ‘manifesto’ section pulls these facets together into a unified vision for reclaiming the commons, drawing a number of current popular initiatives into the commons and commoning frame – such as local food security, permaculture and the Occupy Movement.

An engaging memoir of personal and political discovery, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good combines moving reflections on our common heritage with a contemporary call to action, individually and collectively, locally and globally. Readers will be inspired by the book’s vision of reviving the commons ethos of empathy and mutual respect, and energized by her practical suggestions for connecting people and place for the common good.

Order your copy from New Society Publishers today!