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Welcome to SocialCommons.ca

SocialCommons.ca seeks to build engaging conversations and support transformative change. All stories will be framed by our five pillars that provide the foundation for all of our work. Together with our partners, we are committed to creating a future society based on stronger human rights and social protections, revitalized communities, and a more democratic economy. We seek to build an active and engaged civil society, an enlarged social commons with more shared community assets, and systems of production and distribution that ensure a sustainable eco-sphere on which all life depends.

In many ways we are at a crossroads.  The choices we make in the next ten to twenty years will either see us embrace a profoundly different path founded on human needs and ecological sustainability, or continue to founder under the weight of failing global systems based on an endless growth mindset and the ceding of more and more political influence to large multi-national corporations.

Working from within our five pillars, we seek to join with others in mapping out the path forward.  We are all on this journey together.  It involves exposing and recognizing the failures within our current systems that are holding us back. It means articulating needs and expectations, both of ourselves and each other, as we think through what must be protected, what needs to change and what we need to create together.  Finally, it means painting a picture of the future world we wish to inhabit in a way that both reflects the values and aspirations we share, and shows concrete examples of how it is feasible and can be done.  We invite you to join us on the journey.

The Social Commons: Our Five Pillars

The Social Commons: Our Five Pillars

Where We Started From Our journey began with the planning of a fall 2019 symposium exploring the relevance of the...

Inclusive, Equitable Communities: Ensuring Human Rights

As we contend with the ravages of a global pandemic and plan our recovery, Canadians have discovered, as in...

Social Rights and Protections

The foundation laid for social rights and a social contract In the mid-20th century, after fifteen years of the Great...

Sustainable Eco-Systems: Economies Living in Harmony with Nature

How Do We Ensure Sustainable Eco-Systems? Living through the pandemic has exposed how precarious so much of our social and...

Creating a Human Needs Economy

The post-pandemic economy: More of the same? As the disruption of the pandemic nears its end, we begin to imagine...

Deepening Democracy: Strengthening Democracy and Civil Society

What Is Democracy’s Place in the Commons? Living through the pandemic has exposed how precarious so much of our social...

Latest Articles

Shrinking civil space and persistent logging: 2023 in review in Southeast Asia

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Home to the third-largest expanse of tropical rainforest and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Southeast...

Geothermal is an overlooked climate solution that could be about to take off

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com It's clean, renewable, and right there below our feet, but geothermal energy has largely remained undeveloped...

A decade of stopping deforestation: How the palm oil industry did the seemingly impossible (commentary)

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Wilmar International’s No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy, announced ten years ago, marked a significant...

Meat industry’s moment of reckoning

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com COP28, the annual UN summit on climate change, has proven to be a clarifying, historical moment....

Ten top sustainable agriculture stories of 2023

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Agriculture is a core area of Mongabay’s coverage both because the world must find more sustainable...

Canada must expand diplomatic horizon to Global South: Melanie Joly

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said this fall that Canada needs to better reflect the needs...

15 movement victories in 2023 you may not have heard about

Click here to view original web page at breachmedia.ca From divesting from fossil fuels, to repealing the ...

Excessive supermarket profits boost inflation

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com After a year of grappling with soaring food prices, Canadians are probably dreading the big trip...

Marburg Gathering | Building Bridges for Future-Proof Food Systems

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org In early November, the Rural Resilience project was proud to support the European Action-Gathering for Sustainable...

Oral health is health: Better access to dental care may have potential benefits beyond Canadians’ mouths

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Oral diseases, particularly dental decay and periodontal (gum) diseases, are largely preventable, yet are some of...

Critical Thinking: Vital For Creating Sustainable And Democratic Societies

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Book Update #1 – Critical Thinking Chapter Editor's Note: Author Aaron Karp shares a chapter on critical...

Fundraising in Africa: How Looking Inward Makes the Difference

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net Across Africa, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) bearing different monikers such as community-based organisations (CBOs), civil society organisations...

World Bank Enables Private Capture of Profits, Public Resources

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net The World Bank insists commercial finance is necessary for achieving economic recovery and the Sustainable Development...

From Ontario to Panama, Indigenous communities are rising up to resist Canada’s mining industry

Click here to view original web page at ricochet.media Around the world, Indigenous-led resistance to mining and extraction projects have been intensifying, and it is...

How Big Oil is Taking Us for a Fossil-Fuelized Ride

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org With the World the Hottest in 125,000 Years, We’re Being Gaslighted A recent opinion poll rocked the...

Federal and provincial housing supply efforts shouldn’t jeopardize either affordability or climate resilience

Click here to view original web page at www.pembina.org It’s time for homes and buildings to emit less carbon and ...

Canada’s agricultural policies need to better serve local farmers and communities

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Canada’s current agricultural production model is unsustainable and in desperate need of reform. A range of...

The Right to Repair and Other Forms of Peer Creativity

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org repair cafe Can creativity flourish and remain within the control of commoners? Or will businesses...

The Sustainable Jobs Blueprint positions workers to lead in clean energy economy

Click here to view original web page at www.pembina.org The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act (Bill C-50) is a critical piece of climate legislation that will...

Climate-friendly food systems start with different values, not technologies

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Sims Hill Shared Harvest If we want to transform our relationship with food, we need...

How nonprofits owning their own space can help communities in Ontario thrive

Click here to view original web page at theonn.ca Recently, I met up with a friend of mine at her pottery studio. She is an...

Canada’s mRNA contribution helped Big Pharma, but left out global poor

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca Canadian taxpayers played a key role in funding the technology that made mRNA vaccines possible. Yet...

Vast new Marine Protected Areas are PNG’s first to be co-managed by Indigenous communities

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com On Nov. 12, the government of Papua New Guinea declared two large new marine protected areas...

Time for a job guarantee in Europe?

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu A job guarantee could end long spells of joblessness for millions in the EU ...

Canadian scientists are still being muzzled, and that risks undermining climate policy

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Environmental scientists in Canada continue to be stifled in their ability to conduct and communicate their...

The climate crisis will never be solved until humanity breaks its addiction to economic growth, experts say

Click here to view original web page at ricochet.media But serious discussions regarding ‘degrowth’ were ...

COP28 ‘breakthrough’ elevates litigation as vital route to climate action

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com In the past three decades, the United Nations has sponsored 28 annual climate summits. But that...

Marvyn Novick Anthology Project Launch Planned For Summer 2024

Marvyn Novick was a leading social policy thinker in Canada, and a colleague and inspiration to many, including members of the Marvyn Novick Legacy...

Despite lack of safe shelter, displacement machine alive and well

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca The city of Toronto seems to feel no shame when it comes to ...

Program at Hamilton Public Library shows how libraries can expand the social services they provide

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com When we need help or advice, it’s not always clear where to go, what resources are...

Earth on ‘devastating trajectory’ to global tipping points. But there’s hope.

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com A new report on global tipping points warns of imminent serious disruptions in major ...

How broad is support for post-growth and post-capitalist ideas: Recent data would suggest its substantial

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Here is a list of studies, surveys and polling results that shed some light on popular...

Building a Local Farming Food Hub

Click here to view original web page at thetyee.ca The Comox Valley Organic Co-operative connects growers ...

The AI Act: deregulation in disguise

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu The loopholes in the AI Act emerging from trilogue negotiations ...

Climate change theatre and performances reveal new narratives about how we need to live

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com How can arts (broadly defined) help us think about the state of the planet and walk...

Fair taxation for All

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net The Global South wants to strengthen the role of the UN in global tax policy. ...

Stories You May Have Missed

How a group in Ecuador protects 10% of the world’s bird species

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com The Jocotoco Foundation, an Ecuadorian non-profit organization, has carved out a distinctive approach to nature conservation...

Dear politicians: to solve our food bank crisis, curb corporate greed and implement a basic income

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Have you noticed the line ups for the food banks in your city? (Or have you...

When ‘rights’ divide: Trans kids need supportive families

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Protests in support of “parental rights” have taken place across Canada in recent months. Many taking...

For Indigenous communities in Alberta, the oil industry has left an ugly stain

Click here to view original web page at ricochet.media Facing oil spills, evacuations and illness — nations downstream of the oil sands grieve their way...

B.C. housing plan could see 293,000 new units over next decade, says report

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com The New Democrat government's ambitious home-building agenda could result in up to 293,000 new housing units...

Health care is Job One for the Ontario government. Shouldn’t they be better at it?

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca ANALYSIS: The auditor general’s annual report is a stark reminder ...

Rampant consumerism leads to inequality and climate catastrophe

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca As long as people continue to worship money and stuff, ...

Implementing a basic income means overcoming myths about the ‘undeserving poor’

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Tracy Smith-Carrier receives funding through the Canada Research Chairs program. Funded by a Social Sciences...

Investing in broader threats to human security in Europe

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Public investment has been skewed towards the military in the last...

The hospital crisis: No capacity, no plan, no end in sight

Click here to view original web page at ochuleftwords.blogspot.com While Canada has achieved universal public healthcare coverage, that does not mean conservative forces have given...

Nearly half of the world’s flowering plants face the threat of extinction, study says

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com A new study estimates that nearly half of the world’s known flowering plants are threatened. Scientists built...

COP28: Tackling health inequalities must be at the centre of climate action

Click here to view original web page at neweconomics.org Why the first-ever COP Health Day should aim for health equity and ...

COP28: How 7 policies could help save a billion lives by 2100

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com In a recent review of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles — which I conducted with fellow...

Why won’t Canada repair access to government information?

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalmagazine.ca Mounting delays are eroding our trust in democracy. ...

Time to hit the rich with a wealth tax

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca After years of the rich getting richer, they’re now getting spectacularly richer — while most Canadians...

Canadian Protections for Gig Workers Are Falling Flat

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com The government of British Columbia has announced its intention to introduce legislation to protect gig workers...

Forest restoration to boost biomass doesn’t have to sacrifice tree diversity

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Restoring degraded forests to boost biodiversity, store carbon and reconnect fragmented habitats is a burgeoning area...

Why the Opioid Crisis Is Rooted in the Housing Crisis

Click here to view original web page at thewalrus.ca What goes into a Nanaimo bar? Answer: a Hells Angel, a bouncer, and a drug dealer....

Big Tech lobbying is derailing the AI Act

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Behind closed doors, the companies have fiercely lobbied the European Union...

What the EU Can Learn from Africa

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net Many African countries are mainstreaming migration governance for greater coherence and inclusivity. Europe can draw some...

Sudan’s torch of peace

Click here to view original web page at www.ips-journal.eu Dozens of Sudanese pro-democratic youth groups have morphed into humanitarian ones, battling the apocalyptic situation in...

We need a climate corps, not more military missions

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca A climate corps would not only create jobs for youths, but it will also ...

For equality and the climate, a European wealth tax

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu The richest 10 per cent in the world are responsible for the same carbon emissions as...

Chemical recycling of plastic not so fantastic, report finds

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com A new report by NGOs International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and Beyond Plastics scrutinizes the chemical...

British Columbia’s proposed bill on ‘alternative shelter’ risks doing serious harm to unhoused people

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com A bill currently before the British Columbia legislature seeks to define “reasonably available” alternative shelter when...

Ontario’s regional universities are in jeopardy — and so are the future of our communities

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca Regional universities are shouldering the costs of educating citizens and face ...

What Will Tomorrow’s World Order Look Like?

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net Ukraine, the Caucasus and the Middle East. The latest eruptions of violence mark the end of...

Artisans Cooperative: An Etsy alternative, owned and run by artists and makers

Click here to view original web page at www.shareable.net Jennifer Foley|November 20, 2023 We have all experienced it: Some organization or service starts out good —...

supporting the shift

What’s driving higher living costs? Who loses and benefits from inflation

Click here to view original web page at monitormag.ca Executive summary This report creates a new dataset to better understand what is driving inflation in Canada—workers’...

How We Converted to a Cooperative—and How You Can, Too

Click here to view original web page at www.yesmagazine.org The healthiest and happiest companies in the world are democracies. At Louder Than Ten, the project management...

What Does An Ecological Civilization Look Like?

In this far-reaching and well presented outline, Yes! Magazine gives shape and substance to a groundswell of ideas that could form the foundation of...

Four Views on Basic Income, Job Guarantees, and the Future of Work

This insightful summary includes four short commentaries on basic income, job guarantees, and the future of work by four leading Australian experts. It's a...

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