News and updates from around the lakes...
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Summer is almost over and we hope you are out enjoying your home waters. Below is a collection of updates and invites to events/projects we'd love you to be a part of.

Please share widely and get in touch if you are involved in a water commons project around the Great Lakes.


Building a Great Lakes Commons Charter Community

It's been a year since we launched the Great Lakes Commons Charter as an invitation to spark inclusive public discussion in the future of the Lakes.

The Charter continues to be a participatory effort to build community engagement, agreement, and shared responsibility for the water. Have you read the Charter Declaration recently? Have you considered how you will bring the declaration to life? 

This summer we are hosting a series of Charter Community Cafésour next one is September 17th (3pm EST) – to share stories and hear from others of how Charter supporters are activating the Great Lakes Commons Charter in their lives, projects, and passions around, on, and in the lakes. 

Read more here and RSVP

Paddling & Partnerships

On Sunday September 27th, folks in the Toronto area are invited to canoe to Toronto Island. This event is co-hosted with Sylvia Plain from Great Lakes Canoe Journey and called: Paddling Toronto's First Highways

Sylvia will help orient our group canoe across the harbour, while talking about her leadership education work with Indigenous youth. The Canoe Journey project uses the craft and the cultural importance of the canoe to Indigenous peoples to strengthen our common responsibilities caring for water.

RSVP now or to find out more on this event, see our Updates page.

Ontario Teachers

  • Are you looking for a powerful, tested & proven program for implementing the Grade 8 water curriculum?
  • Are you interested in raising your students' awareness of local water issues?
  • Do you want to foster their sense of water stewardship?
  • Do you want to inspire them to undertake a citizen action project to protect water?
  • If so, this multi-disciplinary inquiry-based program is for you!!
Check out the Water Docs @ School program to find out more and register.

Facebook Feeding

We enjoy posting and sharing important news through our Facebook page -- sometimes several times a day. Thanks to all those who have 'Liked' our page and engage with this content. Comments and Likes and Shares only strengthen our bioregional community.

Some of our most popular posts in August:

On water-commoning, treaties, and identity -
Rice farming in Ontario lake sparks fight over treaty and property rights

On Federal governments in Canada and the U.S.A. wanting public engagement -
Public Engagement Webinars on the Great Lakes to be held in Early September

On the Great Lakes Compact and water withdrawals -
Waukesha Plan for Lake Michigan Water Raises Worries

On social change strategy -
The protest movement is failing: it's fighting the same old battles with the same poor results

And what Facebook note could be made without sharing one of our favourite images.


Patterns of a Water City

The Milwaukee Water Commons has adopted the language of “patterning” to identify 10 overarching civic patterns that will foster actions for a water city. 
1. Empower all citizens for solution making about our waters.
2. Increase knowledge of water and watersheds.
3. Make connections:  water/energy, water/health, water/food, water/faith.
4. Promote racial justice and water equity.
5. Cultivate water responsibility and care.
6. Increase the conservation, health, and vitality of water.
7. Improve public health.
8. Foster our civic identity and sense of belonging.
9. Celebrate water.
10. Foster community climate resilience.

What pattern would you add or edit? How well does your community follow these patterns? What would it take to have these patterns alive throughout the Great Lakes? 

Visit the Milwaukee Water Commons website and read their latest news.

Commons & De-colonization

Great Lakes Commons is guided by 2 mutual and yet often misunderstood goals: to reclaim the commons and to re-Indigenize North America (Turtle Island). Watch out for an upcoming blog post on this topic and more as we share the work of Max Haiven

One quote to hold your interest and to braid these 2 goals. Max writes:

"As Glen Coultard argues in his brilliant new book, cultural survival is intimately and inextricably tied to protecting a land-base and its political autonomy as a commons — that is, as the site of an ongoing process that is egalitarian, democratic, shared, reciprocal and sustainable. To demand “the commons” is to refuse genocide, quite literally.

... while it might be convenient for us to apply the label of “the commons” to these struggles, it would risk becoming a Eurocentric imposition. These communities have their own terminology. For instance, in the territories where I live, the traditional jurisdiction of the Mi’Kmaq, there is the term
Netukulimk, which I will not pretend to understand, but which speaks with much more sophistication and nuance to the things we attempt to sum up in the idea of the “commons:” rich reciprocity, inter-reliance and the connections between communal and individual responsibility and autonomy.

Finally, these Indigenous struggles are not for a commons equally for everyone — they are a fight against colonialism and for insurgent Indigenous sovereignty (which is not at all the same as European-style state sovereignty). We must admit that colonialism and the theft of Indigenous lands occurred in part through the expansion of the European or settler commons under the sovereignty of the colonial-settler state. As a settler in Canada, I cannot simply struggle for the commons if they are to be located on stolen Indigenous lands.

Therefore, here in Canada, our struggle to protect our lakes and rivers as commons must also be struggles to overcome colonialism. This is a contradiction. We must dwell uncomfortably with this contradiction. It is a contradiction that cannot be overcome simply in theory but only in practice, struggle and solidarity."

Check our Blog page for regular updates. If you'd like to be a contributor, please get in touch.

Send us your photos !

A reminder to send us your amazing photos of water and autumn – we always like to update our website with photos and/or blog posts from Great Lakes Commoners. Many thanks.
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