Commonwealth is a set of assets that every community is endowed with. In our mission, Ogallala Commons focuses on commonwealth because it is the foundation for building new careers and enterprises. Commonwealth is part and parcel of the commons. It consists of both local and regional assets that can be enhanced, preserved, and invested in to create more resources over a long-term horizon.
- Gifts of the natural world and human society that have monetary and non-monetary value in supporting life and well-being for both human and natural communities.
- Wealth we inherit or create together, which we desire to pass on, as undiminished and regenerative as possible, to our children and future generations
- A sector of the economy that compliments but is also distinct from the market and government sectors
- Communal assets that increase or decrease depending on management
Commonwealth becomes capital when it is enhanced and invested, not depleted or squandered.
Ogallala Commons has identified 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth (see graphic above). Each asset is intertwined with the others, and no matter how financially poor or rich a town may be, these 12 key assets are present in any community:
Education: the local resources for learning
Health: the resources for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness and well-being that exist in the community or region
Leisure & Recreation: the social opportunities, abilities, and infrastructure for resting, retreating, re-creating, and savoring life in the community or region
Spirituality: the web of relationships, connections and practices that knit together persons, community, the environment, and the cosmos
History: a local and regional knowledge of particular experiences lived over generations, as well as a capacity to transfer and preserve these experiences through stories and memories.
“It is stories — narratives formal or informal, elaborate and detailed or offhand and telegraphic — of what happened to people in a place, of what they have done with the things that they found there…” (Kent, C. Ryden)
Sense of Place: “…that complex of meaning that gives a landscape significance in the eyes of the people who inhabit it, marking it off from the surrounding terra incognita…”
Ryden, Kent C. Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993), p. xiv.
Arts & Culture: the shapes, colors, and contours of our locality and region, as well as our way of viewing the place, plus our habits, our attitudes, our celebrations, our songs, and our dances
Water Cycle: the combined healthy functioning of water to in all its hydrologic stages…especially the capacity to continually regenerate an abundant community of life in the locality and region
Wildlife & the Natural World: the diversity of flora, fauna, geology, and physical geography that constitute the ecological web of a locality and region
Soil & Mineral Cycle: the healthy functioning of processes: birth, death, and decay, that build local soils, and allow for continual renewal of the life in the region
Foodshed: the ecology and cultures that grow, process, market, and distribute food and food products from the local community and region
Renewable Energy: the regional availability as well as local harnessing of energy infinitely sourced from sunlight and the solar cycle, instead of finite fossil fuels.