Commons

The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism.[1] Commons can be also defined as a social practice of governing a resource not by state or market but by a community of users that self-governs the resource through institutions that it creates .[2]

Definition and modern use

The Digital Library of the Commons defines "commons" as "a general term for shared resources in which each stakeholder has an equal interest".[3]

The term "commons" derives from the traditional English legal term for common land, which are also known as "commons", and was popularised in the modern sense as a shared resource term by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in an influential 1968 article called The Tragedy of the Commons. As Frank van Laerhoven and Elinor Ostrom have stated; "Prior to the publication of Hardin's article on the tragedy of the commons (1968), titles containing the words 'the commons', 'common pool resources', or 'common property' were very rare in the academic literature."[4]

Some texts make a distinction in usage between common ownership of the commons and collective ownership among a group of colleagues, such as in a producers' cooperative. The precision of this distinction is not always maintained.

The use of "commons" for natural resources has its roots in European intellectual history, where it referred to shared agricultural fields, grazing lands and forests that were, over a period of several hundred years, enclosed, claimed as private property for private use. In European political texts, the common wealth was the totality of the material riches of the world, such as the air, the water, the soil and the seed, all nature's bounty regarded as the inheritance of humanity as a whole, to be shared together. In this context, one may go back further, to the Roman legal category res communis, applied to things common to all to be used and enjoyed by everyone, as opposed to res publica, applied to public property managed by the government.[5]

Types of commons

Environmental resource

The examples below illustrate types of environmental commons.

European land use

Originally in medieval England the common was an integral part of the manor, and was thus legally part of the estate in land owned by the lord of the manor, but over which certain classes of manorial tenants and others held certain rights. By extension, the term "commons" has come to be applied to other resources which a community has rights or access to. The older texts use the word "common" to denote any such right, but more modern usage is to refer to particular rights of common, and to reserve the name "common" for the land over which the rights are exercised. A person who has a right in, or over, common land jointly with another or others is called a commoner.[6]

In middle Europe, commons (relatively small-scale agriculture in, especially, southern Germany, Austria, and the alpine countries) were kept, in some parts, till the present.[7] Some studies have compared the German and English dealings with the commons between late medieval times and the agrarian reforms of the 18th and 19th centuries. The UK was quite radical in doing away with and enclosing former commons, while southwestern Germany (and the alpine countries as e.g. Switzerland) had the most advanced commons structures, and were more inclined to keep them. The Lower Rhine region took an intermediate position.[8] However, the UK and the former dominions have till today a large amount of Crown land which often is used for community or conservation purposes.

Mongolian grasslands

Based on a research project by the Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Inner Asia (ECCIA) from 1992 to 1995, satellite images were used to compare the amount of land degradation due to livestock grazing in the regions of Mongolia, Russia, and China.[9] In Mongolia, where shepherds were permitted to move collectively between seasonal grazing pastures, degradation remained relatively low at approximately 9%. Comparatively, Russia and China, which mandated state-owned pastures involving immobile settlements and in some cases privatization by household, had much higher degradation, at around 75% and 33% respectively.[10] A collaborative effort on the part of Mongolians proved much more efficient in preserving grazing land.

Lobster fishery of Maine

Widespread success of the Maine lobster industry is often attributed to the willingness of Maine's lobstermen to uphold and support lobster conservation rules. These rules include harbor territories not recognized by the state, informal trap limits, and laws imposed by the state of Maine (which are largely influenced by lobbying from lobster industry itself).[11] Essentially, the lobstermen collaborate without much government intervention to sustain their common-pool resource.

Community forests in Nepal

In the late 1980s, Nepal chose to decentralize government control over forests. Community forest programs work by giving local areas a financial stake in nearby woodlands, and thereby increasing the incentive to protect them from overuse. Local institutions regulate harvesting and selling of timber and land, and must use any profit towards community development and preservation of the forests. In twenty years, locals have noticed a visible increase in the number of trees. Community forestry may also contribute to community development in rural areas – for instance school construction, irrigation and drinking water channel construction, and road construction. Community forestry has proven conducive to democratic practices at grass roots level.[12]

Irrigation systems of New Mexico

Acequia is a method of collective responsibility and management for irrigation systems in desert areas. In New Mexico, a community-run organization known as Acequia Associations supervises water in terms of diversion, distribution, utilization, and recycling, in order to reinforce agricultural traditions and preserve water as a common resource for future generations.[13]

Cultural and intellectual commons

Today, the commons are also understood within a cultural sphere. These commons include literature, music, arts, design, film, video, television, radio, information, software and sites of heritage. Wikipedia is an example of the production and maintenance of common goods by a contributor community in the form of encyclopedic knowledge that can be freely accessed by anyone without a central authority.[14]

Tragedy of the commons in the Wiki-Commons is avoided by community control by individual authors within the Wikipedia community.[15]

The information commons may help protect users of commons. Companies that pollute the environment release information about what they are doing. The Corporate Toxics Information Project[16] and information like the Toxic 100, a list of the top 100 polluters,[17] helps people know what these corporations are doing to the environment.

Digital commons

Mayo Fuster Morell proposed a definition of digital commons as "information and knowledge resources that are collectively created and owned or shared between or among a community and that tend to be non-exclusive, that is, be (generally freely) available to third parties. Thus, they are oriented to favor use and reuse, rather than to exchange as a commodity. Additionally, the community of people building them can intervene in the governing of their interaction processes and of their shared resources."[18][19]

Examples of digital commons are Wikipedia, free software and open-source hardware projects.

Urban commons

Urban commons present the opportunity for the citizens to gain power upon the management of the urban resources and reframe city-life costs based on their use value and maintenance costs, rather than the market-driven value.[20]

20110630 Indignados Syntagma general mass Athens Greece
Syntagma Square in Athens as urban commons
Tahrir Square - February 9, 2011
Tahrir Square in Cairo as urban commons

Urban commons situates citizens as key players rather than public authorities, private markets and technologies.[21] David Harvey (2012) defines the distinction between public spaces and urban commons. Public spaces and goods in the city make a commons when part of the citizens take political action. Syntagma Square in Athens, Tahrir Square in Cairo, and the Plaza de Catalunya in Barcelona were public spaces that transformed to an urban commons as people protested there to support their political statements. Streets are public spaces that have often become an urban commons by social action and revolutionary protests.[22]. Urban commons are operating in the cities in a complementary way with the state and the market. Some examples are community gardening, urban farms on the rooftops and cultural spaces[23]. More recently participatory studies of commons and infrastructures under the conditions of the financial crisis emerge [24] [25].

Knowledge commons

In 2007, Elinor Ostrom along with her colleague Charlotte Hess, did succeed in extending the commons debate to knowledge, approaching knowledge as a complex ecosystem that operates as a common – a shared resource that is subject to social dilemmas. The focus here was on the ready availability of digital forms of knowledge and associated possibilities to store, access and share it as a common. The connection between knowledge and commons may be made through identifying typical problems associated with natural resource commons, such as congestion, overharvesting, pollution and inequities, which also apply to knowledge. Then, effective alternatives (community-based, non-private, non-state), in line with those of natural commons (involving social rules, appropriate property rights and management structures), solutions are proposed. Thus, the commons metaphor is applied to social practice around knowledge. It is in this context that the present work proceeds, discussing the creation of depositories of knowledge through the organised, voluntary contributions of scholars (the research community, itself a social common), the problems that such knowledge commons might face (such as free-riding or disappearing assets), and the protection of knowledge commons from enclosure and commodification (in the form of intellectual property legislation, patenting, licensing and overpricing).[26] At this point, it is important to note the nature of knowledge and its complex and multi-layered qualities of non-rivalry and non-excludability. Unlike natural commons – which are both rival and excludable (only one person can use any one item or portion at a time and in so doing they use it up, it is consumed) and characterised by scarcity (they can be replenished but there are limits to this, such that consumption/destruction may overtake production/creation) – knowledge commons are characterised by abundance (they are non-rival and non-excludable and thus, in principle, not scarce, so not impelling competition and compelling governance). This abundance of knowledge commons has been celebrated through alternative models of knowledge production, such as Commons Based Peer Production (CBPP), and embodied in the free software movement. The CBPP model showed the power of networked, open collaboration and non-material incentives to produce better quality products (mainly software).[27]

Economic theories

Tragedy of the commons

A commons failure theory, now called tragedy of the commons, originated in the 18th century.[7] In 1833 William Forster Lloyd introduced the concept by a hypothetical example of herders overusing a shared parcel of land on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze, to the detriment of all users of the common land.[28] The same concept has been called the "tragedy of the fishers", when over-fishing could cause stocks to plummet.[29]

It has been said the dissolution of the traditional land commons played a watershed role in landscape development and cooperative land use patterns and property rights.[30] However, as in the British Isles, such changes took place over several centuries as a result of land enclosure.

Economist Peter Barnes has proposed a 'sky trust' to fix this tragedic problem in worldwide generic commons. He claims that the sky belongs to all the people, and companies do not have a right to over pollute. It is a type of cap and dividend program. Ultimately the goal would be to make polluting excessively more expensive than cleaning what is being put into the atmosphere.[31]

Successful commons

While the original work on the tragedy of the commons concept suggested that all commons were doomed to failure, they remain important in the modern world. Work by later economists has found many examples of successful commons, and Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel prize for analysing situations where they operate successfully.[32][33] For example, Ostrom found that grazing commons in the Swiss Alps have been run successfully for many hundreds of years by the farmers there.[34]

Allied to this is the "comedy of the commons" concept, where users of the commons are able to develop mechanisms to police their use to maintain, and possibly improve, the state of the commons.[35] This term was coined in an essay by legal scholar, Carol M. Rose, in 1986.[35][32][36]

Other related concepts are the inverse commons, cornucopia of the commons[37], and triumph of the commons.[38][39] It is argued that some types of commons, such as open-source software, work better in the cornucopia of the commons; proponents say that, in those cases, "the grass grows taller when it is grazed on".[40]

Notable theorists

Historical land commons movements

Contemporary commons movements

See also

References

  1. ^ Basu, Soutrik; Jongerden, Joost; Ruivenkamp, Guido (17 March 2017). "Development of the drought tolerant variety Sahbhagi Dhan: exploring the concepts commons and community building". International Journal of the Commons. 11 (1): 144. doi:10.18352/ijc.673.
  2. ^ Classical theory based on Elinor Ostrom's book Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Digital library of the commons – Indiana University, retrieved 02/01/16 [1]
  4. ^ Frank van Laerhoven and Elinor Ostrom. "Traditions and Trends in the Study of the Commons". International Journal of the Commons, Vol. 1, no. 1, October 2007, pp. 3–28
  5. ^ Basu, Soutrik; Jongerden, Joost; Ruivenkamp, Guido (March 17, 2017). "Development of the drought tolerant variety Sahbhagi Dhan: exploring the concepts commons and community building". International Journal of the Commons. 11: 144. doi:10.18352/ijc.673.
  6. ^ Anon. "Commoner". Farlex Inc. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b Radkau 2008, p. 90, ff in the German text
  8. ^ Hartmut Zückert, "Allmende und Allmendaufhebung". Vergleichende Studien zum Spätmittelalter bis zu den Agrarreformen des 18./19. Jahrhunderts (= Quellen und Forschungen zur Agrargeschichte; Bd. 47), Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius 2003, IX + 462 S., 4 Farb-Abb., ISBN 978-3-8282-0226-9 review (in German)
  9. ^ Sneath, David (1998). "State Policy and Pasture Degradation in Inner Asia". Science Magazine. 281 (5380): 1147–1148. Bibcode:1998Sci...281.1147S. doi:10.1126/science.281.5380.1147. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  10. ^ Ostrom, Elinor (1999). "Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges". Science Magazine. 284 (5412): 278–282. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.510.4369. doi:10.1126/science.284.5412.278. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  11. ^ Acheson, James (2004). Capturing the Commons: Devising Institutions to Manage the Maine Lobster. University Press of New England. ISBN 9781584653936.
  12. ^ Mehta, Trupti Parekh. "Community Forestry in India and Nepal". PERC Reports. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  13. ^ Davidson-Harden, Adam. "Local Control and Management of Our Water Commons: Stories of Rising to the Challenge" (PDF). www.ourwatercommons.org. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  14. ^ Huberman, Bernardo A. and Romero, Daniel M. and Wu, Fang, Crowdsourcing, Attention and Productivity (September 12, 2008). doi:10.2139/ssrn.1266996
  15. ^ "Avoiding Tragedy in the Wiki-Commons", by Andrew George, 12 Va. J.L. & Tech. 8 (2007)
  16. ^ "Corporate Toxics Information Project". Political Economy Research Institute. PERI-Umass. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25.
  17. ^ Ash, Michael. "Justice in the Air" (PDF). PERI. PERI- Umass.
  18. ^ Fuster Morell, M. (2010, p. 5). Dissertation: Governance of online creation communities: Provision of infrastructure for the building of digital commons. http://www.onlinecreation.info/?page_id=338
  19. ^ Berry, David (21 February 2005). "The commons". Free Software Magazine.
  20. ^ Dellenbaugh-Losse, M. (2017). "What makes urban commons different from other commons?" Urban Policy. Retrieved December 28, 2017
  21. ^ Sharing Cities: activating the Urban Commons. (2017). Mountain View: Shareable. Retrieved December 28, 2017
  22. ^ Harvey, D. (2013). "Rebel cities: from the right to the city to the urban revolution". London: Verso
  23. ^ C. Iaione. "The city as a commons" (personal communication, November 9, 2016) [Blog post]
  24. ^ Dalakoglou, D. (2016). "Infrastructural Gap: Commons, State and Anthropology". City vol. 6 (2)
  25. ^ See also infra-demos
  26. ^ Basu, Soutrik; Jongerden, Joost; Ruivenkamp, Guido (17 March 2017). "Development of the drought tolerant variety Sahbhagi Dhan: exploring the concepts commons and community building". International Journal of the Commons. 11 (1): 144. doi:10.18352/ijc.673.
  27. ^ Basu, Soutrik; Jongerden, Joost; Ruivenkamp, Guido (August 2017). "The emergence of a hybrid mode of knowledge production in the Generation Challenge Programme Rice Research Network (GCP-RRN) in India: Exploring the concept of Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP)". Geoforum. 84: 107–116. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.06.008.
  28. ^ Lloyd, William Forster (1833). "Two Lectures on Population". Population and Development Review. 6 (3): 473–496. JSTOR 1972412.
  29. ^ Samuel Bowles: Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution, Princeton University Press, pp. 27–29 (2004) ISBN 0-691-09163-3
  30. ^ The end of the commons as a watershed' The Age of Ecology, Joachim Radkau, John Wiley & Sons, 3 April 2014, p. 15 ff
  31. ^ Barnes, Peter (2000). Pie in the Sky. Washington D.C: Corporation for Enterprise Development. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-883187-32-3.
  32. ^ a b Rifkin, Jeremy. "10 – Comedy of the Commons". The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  33. ^ Elinor Ostrom (2015). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. ISBN 9781107569782.
  34. ^ NPR: Remembering Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate Updated June 13, 201211:08 AM ET Published June 12, 20125:37 PM ET
  35. ^ a b Rose, Carol M. (1986). "The Comedy of the Commons: Commerce, Custom, and Inherently Public Property". Faculty Scholarship Series: Paper 1828. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  36. ^ The Drama of the Commons By Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Board on Environmental Change and Society
  37. ^ "The Cornucopia of the Commons: How to get volunteer labor". www.bricklin.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  38. ^ Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth By David Bollier
  39. ^ Cox, Susan Jane Buck (1985). "No Tragedy of the Commons" (PDF). Environmental Ethics. 7 (1): 49–61. doi:10.5840/enviroethics1985716.
  40. ^ The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an … By Eric Raymond

Further reading

  • Basu, S., Jongerden, J. & Ruivenkamp, G., (2017). Development of the drought tolerant variety Sahbhagi Dhan: exploring the concepts commons and community building. International Journal of the Commons. 11(1), pp.144–170. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijc.673
  • Basu, S (2016). Knowledge production, Agriculture and Commons: The case of Generation Challenge Programme. (PhD Thesis). Netherlands: Wageningen University. Retrieved from http://edepot.wur.nl/377889.
  • Basu, S (2014). An alternative imagination to study commons: beyond state and beyond scientific establishment. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Knowledge Commons for Sustainable Agricultural Innovations. Maringá, Brazil: Maringá State University.
  • Bollier, David. "The Commons". Public Sphere Project. Schuler. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  • Bowers, Chet. (2006). Revitalizing the Commons: Cultural and Educational Sites of Resistance and Affirmation. Lexington Books.
  • Bowers, Chet. (2012). The Way Forward: Educational Reforms that Focus on the Cultural Commons and the Linguistic Roots of the Ecological Crisis. Eco-Justice Press.
  • Dalakoglou, Dimitris "Infrastructural gap: Commons, State and Anthropology". City 20(6).
  • Dellenbaugh, et. al. (2015). Urban Commons: Moving beyond State and Market. Birkhäuser.
  • Fourier, Charles. (1996). The Theory of the Four Movements (Cambridge University Press)
  • Gregg, Pauline. (2001). Free-Born John: A Biography of John Lilburne (Phoenix Press)
  • Harvey, Neil. (1998). The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy (Duke University Press)
  • Hill, Christopher. (1984). The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution (Penguin)
  • Hill, Christopher. (2006). Winstanley ‘The Law of Freedom’ and other Writings (Cambridge University Press)
  • Hyde, Lewis. (2010). Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Kennedy, Kennedy. (2008). Diggers, Levellers, and Agrarian Capitalism: Radical Political Thought in 17th Century England (Lexington Books)
  • Kostakis, Vasilis and Bauwens, Michel. (2014). Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy. (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan). (wiki)
  • Leaming, Hugo P. (1995). Hidden Americans: Maroons of Virginia and the Carolinas (Routledge)
  • Linebaugh, Peter, and Marcus Rediker. (2000). The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (Boston: Beacon Press)
  • Linebaugh, Peter. (2008). The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All (University of California Press)
  • Lummis, Douglas. (1997). Radical Democracy (Cornell University Press)
  • Fabien Locher, « Les pâturages de la guerre froide. Garrett Hardin et la Tragédie des communs », Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, vol. 2013, no 1, 2013, p. 7-36. (abstract, read online [PDF])
  • Fabien Locher, « Third World Pastures. The Historical Roots of the Commons Paradigm (1965-1990) », Quaderni Storici, vol. 2013, no 1, 2013, p. 7-36. (read online [PDF]) (historical work based on Elinor Ostrom personal archives).
  • Mitchel, John Hanson. (1998). Trespassing: An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land (Perseus Books)
  • Neeson, J. M. (1996). Commoners: Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700–1820 (Cambridge University Press)
  • Negri, Antonio, and Michael Hardt. (2009). Commonwealth. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674060288
  • Newfont, Kathyn. (2012). Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina (The University of Georgia Press)
  • Patel, Raj. (2010). The Value of Nothing (Portobello Books)
  • Price, Richard, ed. (1979). Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas (The Johns Hopkins University Press)
  • Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph. (1994). What is Property? (Cambridge University Press)
  • Rexroth, Kenneth. (1974). Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century (Seabury Press)
  • Rowe, Jonathan. (2013). Our Common Wealth: The Hidden Economy That Makes Everything Else Work (Berrett-Koehler)
  • Shantz, Jeff. (2013). Commonist Tendencies: Mutual Aid Beyond Communism. (Punctum)
  • Simon, Martin. (2014). Your Money or Your Life: time for both. Social Commons. (Freedom Favours)

External links

Anaconda

Anacondas are a group of large snakes of the genus Eunectes. They are found in tropical South America. Four species are currently recognized.

Census of India

The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times, As of 2011. While it has been conducted every 10 years, beginning in 1872, the first complete census was taken in the year 1881. Post 1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. All the census since 1951 are conducted under 1948 Census of India Act. The last census was held in 2011 and next census will be held in 2021.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses, known as Creative Commons licenses, free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, benefiting both copyright owners and licensees.

The organization was founded in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred with the support of Center for the Public Domain. The first article in a general interest publication about Creative Commons, written by Hal Plotkin, was published in February 2002. The first set of copyright licenses was released in December 2002. The founding management team that developed the licenses and built the Creative Commons infrastructure as we know it today included Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Glenn Otis Brown, Neeru Paharia, and Ben Adida.In 2002 the Open Content Project, a 1998 precursor project by David A. Wiley, announced the Creative Commons as successor project and Wiley joined as CC director. Aaron Swartz played a role in the early stages of Creative Commons, as did Matthew Haughey.As of May 2018 there were an estimated 1.4 billion works licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses. Wikipedia uses one of these licenses. As of May 2018, Flickr alone hosts over 415 million Creative Commons licensed photos.Creative Commons is governed by a board of directors. Their licenses have been embraced by many as a way for creators to take control of how they choose to share their copyrighted works.

Creative Commons license

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted "work". A CC license is used when an author wants to give other people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that he or she (that author) has created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, he or she might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of a given work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.There are several types of Creative Commons licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 2001. There have also been five versions of the suite of licenses, numbered 1.0 through 4.0. As of December 2018, the 4.0 license suite is the most current.

In October 2014 the Open Knowledge Foundation approved the Creative Commons CC BY, CC BY-SA and CC0 licenses as conformant with the "Open Definition" for content and data.

Fauna

Fauna is all of the animal life present in a particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora. Flora, fauna and other forms of life such as fungi are collectively referred to as biota. Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess Shale fauna". Paleontologists sometimes refer to a sequence of faunal stages, which is a series of rocks all containing similar fossils. The study of animals of a particular region is called faunistics.

House of Commons of Canada

The House of Commons of Canada (French: Chambre des communes du Canada) is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign (represented by the Governor General) and the Senate. The House of Commons currently meets in a temporary Commons chamber in the West Block of the parliament buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while the Centre Block, which houses the traditional Commons chamber, undergoes a ten-year renovation.

The House of Commons is a democratically elected body whose members are known as Members of Parliament (MPs). There were 308 members in the last parliament (most members elected in 2011), but that number has risen to 338 following the election on Monday October 19, 2015. Members are elected by simple plurality ("first-past-the-post" system) in each of the country's electoral districts, which are colloquially known as ridings. MPs may hold office until Parliament is dissolved and serve for constitutionally limited terms of up to five years after an election. Historically however, terms have ended before their expiry and the sitting government has typically dissolved parliament within four years of an election according to a long-standing convention. In any case, an Act of Parliament now limits each term to four years.

Seats in the House of Commons are distributed roughly in proportion to the population of each province and territory. However, some ridings are more populous than others, and the Canadian constitution contains some special provisions regarding provincial representation. As a result, there is some interprovincial and regional malapportionment relative to population.

The House of Commons was established in 1867, when the British North America Act—now called the Constitution Act, 1867—created the Dominion of Canada, and was modelled on the British House of Commons. The lower of the two houses making up the parliament, the House of Commons in practice holds far more power than the upper house, the Senate. Although the approval of both Houses is necessary for legislation, the Senate very rarely rejects bills passed by the commons (though the Senate does occasionally amend bills). Moreover, the Cabinet is responsible solely to the House of Commons. The prime minister stays in office only as long as they retain the support, or "confidence", of the lower house.

House of Commons of England

The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England (which incorporated Wales) from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain. In 1801, with the union of Great Britain and Ireland, that house was in turn replaced by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

House of Commons of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

The Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected to represent constituencies by first-past-the-post and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved.

The House of Commons of England started to evolve in the 13th and 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, and assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century. The "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, and became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922. Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title.

Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power. The Government is solely responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as he or she retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons.

John Bercow

John Simon Bercow (; born 19 January 1963) is a British politician who has been the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. He concurrently serves as the Member of Parliament for Buckingham. Prior to his election to Speaker, he was a member of the Conservative Party. A former right-winger, he changed his views after becoming an MP and at one time was rumoured to be likely to defect to the Labour Party. Bercow's election to the Speaker's chair depended heavily on the backing of other parties, and was deeply unpopular with many of his former Conservative Party colleagues.He served as a councillor from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections. In the 1997 general election, Bercow was elected the MP for Buckingham and promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001. He held posts in the shadow cabinets of Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. In November 2002, he resigned from the shadow cabinet over disputes concerning the Adoption and Children Act but returned under Howard in 2003. In September 2004, Bercow was sacked after disagreements with Howard.

Following the resignation of Speaker Michael Martin, Bercow announced his intention to stand for the Speakership election on 22 June 2009 and was successful. He remained Speaker and was re-elected in his constituency at the general election on 7 May 2015. He was re-elected as Speaker, unopposed, when the House sat at the start of the new parliament on 18 May 2015. Following the 2017 general election, Bercow was re-elected, again unopposed, as Speaker, on 13 June 2017. He is the first Speaker since the Second World War to be elected to the post three times.In October 2009, Bercow chaired the United Kingdom Youth Parliament's first annual sitting in the House of Commons, making them the only group except Members of Parliament to sit in the chamber. He has chaired every subsequent sitting and attended every annual conference, addressing and supporting Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK. In 2014, Bercow was appointed Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, and in July 2017 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex. In October 2018, it was reported that Bercow intended to step down as Speaker in the summer of 2019, due to a report on the failure of high-level figures in Parliament to deal adequately with bullying of staff at Westminster and due to allegations of bullying made against him personally.

Lists of people who disappeared

Lists of people who disappeared mysteriously and of people whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated. Many people who disappear are eventually declared dead in absentia. Some of these people were possibly subjected to forced disappearance, but there is insufficient information on their subsequent fates.

Forced disappearance

List of fugitives from justice who disappeared

List of kidnappings

List of missing aircraft

List of missing ships

List of people who disappeared mysteriously: post-1970

List of people who disappeared mysteriously: pre-1970

List of solved missing persons cases

Open proxy

An open proxy is a proxy server that is accessible by any Internet user. Generally, a proxy server only allows users within a network group (i.e. a closed proxy) to store and forward Internet services such as DNS or web pages to reduce and control the bandwidth used by the group. With an open proxy, however, any user on the Internet is able to use this forwarding service.

Parliament of Canada

The Parliament of Canada (French: Parlement du Canada) is the federal legislature of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the national capital. The body consists of the Canadian monarch, represented by a viceroy, the Governor General; an upper house, the Senate; and a lower house, the House of Commons. Each element has its own officers and organization. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate and monarch rarely opposing its will. The Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint and the monarch or viceroy provides royal assent to make bills into law.

The Governor General summons and appoints the 105 senators on the advice of the Prime Minister, while the 338 members of the House of Commons—called members of parliament (MPs)—each represent an electoral district, commonly referred to as a riding, and are directly elected by Canadian voters. The Governor General also summons Parliament, while either the viceroy or monarch can prorogue or dissolve Parliament, the latter in order to call a general election. Either will read the Throne Speech. The most recent Parliament, summoned by Governor General David Johnston in 2015, is the 42nd since Confederation.

Parliament of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (the Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons (the primary chamber). The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, and the Lords Temporal, consisting mainly of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, and of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers. Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords also performed a judicial role through the Law Lords.

The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system. The two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster (commonly known as the Houses of Parliament) in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less commonly, the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer.

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain". At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922.

With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system.In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is officially vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown normally acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation; thus power is de facto vested in the House of Commons.

People

A people is a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as is the case with an ethnic group or nation, but that is distinct from a nation which is more abstract, and more overtly political. Collectively, for example, the contemporary Frisians and Danes are two related Germanic peoples, while various Middle Eastern ethnic groups are often linguistically categorized as Semitic peoples.

Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)

The Speaker of the House of Commons is the presiding officer of the House of Commons, the United Kingdom's nominally lower, but more influential, chamber of Parliament. John Bercow was elected Speaker on 22 June 2009, following the resignation of Michael Martin. He was since re-elected, unopposed, three times, following the general elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017.The Speaker presides over the House's debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may punish members who break the rules of the House. Unlike presiding officers of legislatures in many other countries, Speakers remain strictly non-partisan and renounce all affiliation with their former political parties when taking office and afterwards. The Speaker does not take part in debate or vote (except to break ties; and even then, the convention is that the speaker casts the tie-breaking vote according to Speaker Denison's rule). Aside from duties relating to presiding over the House, the Speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and remains a constituency Member of Parliament (MP). The Speaker has the right and obligation to reside in Speaker's House at the Palace of Westminster.

Steeplechase (athletics)

The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics, which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing. The foremost version of the event is the 3000 metres steeplechase. The 2000 metres steeplechase is the next most common distance. The 1900 Olympics featured a 2500 metres steeplechase and a 4000 metres steeplechase, and a 2590 metres steeplechase was held at the 1904 Olympics. A 1000 metres steeplechase is occasionally used in youth athletics.

Tragedy of the commons

The tragedy of the commons is a term used in environmental science to describe a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action. The concept originated in an essay written in 1833 by the British economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land (also known as a "common") in Great Britain and Ireland. The concept became widely known as the "tragedy of the commons" over a century later due to an article written by the American ecologist and philosopher Garrett Hardin in 1968. In this modern economic context, commons is taken to mean any shared and unregulated resource such as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, roads and highways, or even an office refrigerator.

It has been argued that the very term "tragedy of the commons" is a misnomer since "the commons" referred to land resources with rights jointly owned by members of a community, and no individual outside the community had any access to the resource. However, the term is now used in social science and economics when describing a problem where all individuals have equal and open access to a resource. Hence, "tragedy of open access regimes" or simply "the open access problem" are more apt terms.The "tragedy of the commons" is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming. It has also been used in analyzing behavior in the fields of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, game theory, politics, taxation and sociology.

Although common resource systems have been known to collapse due to overuse (such as in over-fishing), many examples have existed and still do exist where members of a community with access to a common resource co-operate or regulate to exploit those resources prudently without collapse. Elinor Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for demonstrating exactly this concept in her book Governing the Commons, which included examples of how local communities were able to do this without top-down regulations.

Wikidata

Wikidata is a collaboratively edited knowledge base hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is a common source of open data that Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia can use, and anyone else, under a public domain license. This is similar to the way Wikimedia Commons provides storage for media files and access to those files for all Wikimedia projects, and which are also freely available for reuse. Wikidata is powered by the software Wikibase.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons (or simply Commons) is an online repository of free-use images, sounds, and other media files. It is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Files from Wikimedia Commons can be used across all Wikimedia projects in all languages, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikisource, and Wikinews, or downloaded for offsite use. As of 2018, the repository contains over 50 million free media files, managed and editable by registered volunteers. In July 2013, the number of edits on Commons reached 100,000,000.

Winger (ice hockey)

Winger, in the game of ice hockey, is a forward position of a player whose primary zone of play on the ice is along the outer playing area. They typically work by flanking the centre forward. Originally the name was given to forward players who went up and down the sides of the rink. Nowadays, there are different types of wingers in the game — out-and-out goal scorers, checkers who disrupt the opponents, and forwards who work along the boards and in the corners. They tend to be bigger than centreman and smaller than defenseman.

This position is commonly referred to by the side of the rink that the winger normally takes, i.e. "left wing" or "right wing."

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