We recognise that the world is in deep trouble.
International science is warning of multiple existential crises brought about by our insatiable thirst for economic expansion.
In the absence of sane reactions from the powers that be, we strive to create ways for everyday folks to band together and make the decisions themselves that will turn our society towards a sane, healthy pathway.
This pathway has three foundations:
Community is the basic level of Humanity.
Going back well before Humanity emerged from the Apes, every group has had community.
A strong, well connected, largely self-reliant community is vastly more resilient to the inevitable disruptions and disasters.
A society of disconnected individuals, unknown to their neighbours and reliant on money for every aspect of their lives is vulnerable on many fronts.
All communities are reliant on some form of productive assets.
At the basic end is the natural world, which has provided for all of our needs since life began.
On top of this base we have created all sorts of technologies – from language, cooking and writing right through to nuclear weapons, the internet and space travel.
When left to organise themselves, communities tend to organise around the commons model. This model comprises 3 basic elements:
- A productive asset of some form. This may be land, housing stock, infrastructure, or knowledge, such as the institutions of Mozilla, Linux, and Wikipedia on the internet.
- A community who has a stake in the upkeep or outputs of those assets
- The set of rules that this community has created to manage the assets.
An unwritten fourth rule is that the asset is not for sale. The management regime is intended to maintain the utility of that asset for the community for ever.
Commons have been studied in many cultures all over the world. The model is well proven across cultures and time.
For many centuries, commons management has been steadily eroded by privatisation – or enclosure. In the earlier times peasants were evicted from their traditional lands by the Lords, who had found a more lucrative livestock: sheep.
Enclosure enables one party to profit from exclusive ownership of the productive assets previously managed by the community, for the common good.
Enclosures continue to this day, with more and more ingenuity regarding what can be made an exclusive asset.
We see our task as unenclosing the commons, or conversely as recommoning the enclosures.
The fastest way we can see to do this is through the novel use of an old concept – the co-operative business model.
By adding a few extra principles on top of the traditional co-op principles (in use for over 175 years), we can design “Climate Co-ops”, which can address the climate crisis, and at the same time reverse the root causes of climate crisis, and many of the other crises we face.
Jump in and explore to find the details of our projects!
This website represents the combined work of two organisations:
Co-operatives, Commons & Communities Canberra (CoCanberra) began our journey in late 2016, following a very successful “Cooperative networking day” held at the Food Co-op Shop.
CoCanberra was formed as a working group of SEE-Change Canberra, which we still are.
The New Economy Network of Australia was also conceived in 2016, and materialised into a fully fledged Co-operative in early 2019.
The Canberra Regional Hub was formed soon after, mostly by CoCanberra members. The two concepts were so overlapped that it made good sense to begin working as one organisation.
With its mission of connecting those within Australia who are working on a new economy, NENA Canberra Region takes the credit for networking and education activities, while CoCanberra focuses on building the new economy on the ground.