Rebeca F Rivera
Examines topics in sustainability. Includes social, political, historical, cultural, artistic, economic, or scientific explorations of sustainability issues.
Managing Common Resources Many scholars have studied the ability for groups of people to manage commonly owned resources such as agricultural land, forests, water and fisheries sustainably. However, until recently the collective management of natural and human made resources lay outside of conventional wisdom as a way to promote sustainability. In 2009, Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on the governance of the commons. Ostrom’s Nobel Prize brought into the mainstream the work of commons scholars and the roll of collective management of common property for the sustainable use of resources. This class will focus on the common-pool resource and common property management literature which describe modern collective management arrangements through time and space. For example, we will look at U.S. examples including ground water basins in California, fisheries in North America and irrigation systems in Colorado. We will also examine common property systems from all over the world including Bali, the Philippines, Spain and the U.K. some of which have been in existence for almost 1000 years. We will also look at issues surrounding the global commons such as climate change and the internet. Finally, we will look at other forms of collective management such as collective enterprises, cooperative businesses, intentional communities, and enterprises. The literature on common property is interdisciplinary and is written by anthropologists, geographers, political scientists, ecological economists, and the natural scientists. We will examine the different ways in which different disciplines research common property.
As a class we will apply the course material to a class project creating a management plan for a community garden.
The class will examine the following questions: What types of property rights and management regimes exist in the United States? What are the historical precedents for the devaluation or even condemnation of common property? When does the collective management of natural resources lead to sustainable use of those resources? Under what conditions do common property institutions fail? What is the role of local and federal governments in the success of common property institutions? What is the role of various property rights (common property, private property, public property or co-managed property) in reaching sustainable use of resources? What are the skills needed to participate in collective management? What is the role of common property within a sustainable society? This class will also include topics such as democracy, collective action, grassroots development, and conflict resolution.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Small and large group discussions Films Guest Speakers Short lectures Student led facilitation and presentations
Class assignments and grading
Weekly reading responses, short assignments, and research project.
All readings will be available through the library e-reserve.