Mark---are you really posting on here today? I thought this site was dead.
You need help with the idea of commons? I have a good simulation for that.
I was not sure if the site was still active. I randomly went back to it the other day and saw that it seemed to be up and active. So I replied to an old post that John had posted. I did recently read an article in ADN.com on the issue of access to resources.
Hope this find you doing well. I am OK. Out in Nome on a long term sub position.
Still need to come check out your eco-house sometime.
Cindee, My original post did not go through. I will try to re-post it below.
When i think of the "commons" it brings to mind of a common area or a Middle Age term when all the folks in the village would use the same, common grazing area.
In addition from the Brits we have the idea of a commonwealth; that is all of the countries that are or once were members of the British empire. They were in it together.
In Alaska we have a constitution that says we are all equal before the law (well most of of) and that we should all have "equal access" to the resources of the state.
Walley Hickel spoke of this often: http://www.governorwallyhickel.org/arctic-statesman/global-visionar... and he would often speak of the citizens of the state as collective owners of the resources. The idea was that the resources (oil, gold, salmon) should be equally accessible and that money derived from them should benefits the citizens of the state equally.
However, Alaska also is unique is that we have Native peoples that were never pushed onto reservations like most of the indigenous people in the Lower 48. That fact combined with geography allowed by Alaskan Native peoples to retain their subsistence lifestyle to this day.
In many senses the Native people claim aboriginal rights to the land. However, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act largely settled that in a general sense and ANILCA added more specifics to it. But it does leave the question of equal access to resources as a point of conflict.
It also shifts responsibility from the State to the Feds in regards to oversight of many of Alaska's lands and rivers.
This is an ongoing topic and one we should be talking about in our history classes.
It is a constitutional issue of equal access and fair and shared benefit.
But it is also a recognition that Alaska Native people have a right to subsistence that is essential to who they are as people.
It can be hard to reconcile, but folks of good will should make an attempt.