Lands to Great Lakes

Lands to Great Lakes

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Connecting the Dots


By Paul Baines, Founder and Coordinator of the Great Lakes Commons Map

40 million people live in the Great Lakes bioregion, but what impact do they have? 


A new collaborative map gives people a tool to mark their worry and wisdom. One example is a group of Ontario citizens organizing to stop the burial of nuclear waste on the shores of Lake Huron.


The Great Lakes Commons Map (GLCM) started with a question about impacts:

"How can we engage these 40 million people to treat the Great Lakes as commons -- a gift we have inherited and with a duty to be stewards for all species and generations to come?"

The online Commons Map was inspired by the groundbreaking work of the Council of Canadians and On The Commons. These two groups (informed and supported by many NGOs, academics, and First Nations) are naming a new narrative for the Great Lakes based on collective and ecological rights.

What makes the Commons Map unique is its commitment to place and collaboration.

Stories about harm, healing, memory, or imagination – can be marked on a map. This builds a greater connection to the bioregion and it illustrates the how one person’s efforts can be multiplied by the efforts of others. Collective intelligence and shared participation are key to a commons approach.


Right now there are over 90 posts on the GLCM about what matters for the Great lakes using text, photos, and videos.


Using the website or mobile app, people can share their stories and easily witness and comment on what is happening upstream or downstream. There are so many issues impacting the Great Lakes (urbanization, agriculture, industry, recreation, global warming, invasive species, transportation) but these all have a local impact on where we call home.


The GLCM gathers and organizes our gifts in technology, culture, and curiosity to multiply the parts beyond their sum through limitless collaboration and a shared vision. It's time to connect the dots and enable a water-commons movement that makes a positive impact. Visit the Commons Map and add your part. 



Paul Baines is the Founder and Coordinator of the GLCM and lives in the Humber River watershed. He is presenting on Day Two of Latornell with the the Discovery and Accessibility panel.



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