Great Lakes Commons

Part of our mission at On the Commons is to initiate and catalyze commons work. This has led us to become a collaborative incubator, providing initial funding and infrastructure, as well as staff and communications support to new commons projects, such as the Great Lakes Commons Initiative.

A growing network of leaders throughout the Great Lakes region has been tremendously helpful in advancing the Great Lakes Commons Initiative over the past year. And today we’re delighted to announce a new phase of development with the creation of a new website, greatlakescommons.org. We encourage you to visit the site, and discover the many exciting ways to get involved.

Toolbox for Great Lakes Commons

An Update on the Great Lakes Tour

On the Commons, Council of Canadians, FLOW, and others travel to communities around the Great Lakes


Participate in our public art project and lend your voice to the Great Lakes Commons Charter
Articles on Great Lakes Commons
September 3, 2013

Great Lakes Commons Map is a Tool for Building Awareness

Paul Baines explains his crowdsourced project--and another way folks in Toronto are growing the movement
April 25, 2013

A Review of Shiney Varghese's "Water Governance for 21st Century"

Lessons from Water Trading in the U.S. and Australia
November 29, 2012

Reclaiming the Great Lakes as a Commons

A new approach to protecting water for everyone--including future generations
November 29, 2012

Tar Sands Threaten Environment a Thousand Miles Away

As many as 17 oil refinery expansions are being considered around the Great Lakes
October 24, 2012

Words and Works from Great Lakes Gathering Participants

Read observations from Great Lakes gathering participants on the state of the Great Lakes and our time together
October 24, 2012

The Reemergence of Social Charters

Another tool for reclaiming the commons
October 24, 2012

Reflections from the Great Lakes Commons Gathering

Seeking to reclaim the Great Lakes as a commons, seventy visionary leaders came together this fall
September 3, 2012

Great Lakes Commons Initiative: A Game-Changing Plan

An effort to declare and live the Great Lakes as a commons, a protected bioregion and a public trust
September 1, 2012

What We Can Do to Protect the Great Lakes

Creating a commons charter to govern management of the lakes will protect the public interest
August 29, 2012

Fine Art Photographer Looks at the Human Dimension of Lake Michigan

"My goal is to create a contemporary picture of the lake, and I can’t think of a better way than by showing the people who interact with it daily." — Kevin Miyazaki
May 25, 2012

Waterkeeper Alliance Declares Great Lakes a Shared Commons

A new resolution passed by the international organization founded and chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
April 1, 2012

Claiming Our Commons

Creating new avenues for genuine citizenship and a revitalized civil society
Dawn at Lake Superior
January 1, 2012

The History of Our Water Commons

And how the Great Lakes Commons Initiative came to be
Boycott the Bottle
January 1, 2012

Reclaiming the Great Lakes as a Commons

Who will define the future of the Great Lakes?