The Rural Commons

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The Rural Commons
By Kawsu Ceesay
In our last Lectures/Discussion on Sustainable Development, we looked at the term ‘the Commons’, giving the environment as an example of the Global Common. In very simple terms, the commons are any sets of resources that a community recognises as being accessible to any member of that community. The nature of the commons is different in different communities, but commons include cultural and natural resources such as land, rivers, parks, roads, etc.
In the West African state of The Gambia, rice farmers in the central part of the country have been faced with the problem of hippos grazing on their rice crop in the swamps in the river basin.These rice farmers own different rice plots in a common swamp area along the river. It is illegal to kill hippos because they are globally endangered mammals. Therefore, the rice farmers have decided to make bunds from the earth along the river bank by pooling resources together. The bunds are up to one metre or more in height.The hippos are very heavy animals with extremely short legs, so they can no longer get into the rice fields because of the bunds. HEY, this scenario tends to give a perfect example of what I may call the Rural Commons. The rice farmers have been faced with a common threat from the hippos grazing on rice crop in a common swamp area. Their common approach to the hippo threat is now beginning to save the common rural asset/resource the hippo, which is seen as globally endangered. Hey, some fine day, the rich European tourists will pay money to the same rural folks to see those wonderful hippos.

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One Response to “The Rural Commons”

  1. mdiate Says:

    Kawsu is right to say that environment is as an example of the global common.
    Reading the article it appears that Kawsu discusses that form of development that ensures that economic growth, rising living standards, and other types of development can be maintained for the current and future generations.
    Sustainable development is domestically acceptable, economically sound, eco-friendly, and culturally sensitive. It embraces the regular types of development -economic, political, social infrastructure, health, and education development and makes certain that progress in these areas can be continued. Moreover, it includes the replenishment and development of cultural and social resources as well as traditional material ones. It is a form of development that tries to improve the present without compromising the future. The principle of sustainable development recognizes that today’s human beings deserve a reasonable standard of living and that future generations should be given the same opportunity.
    With human environment relations as one of its primary disciplinary foci, geography has contributed substantially to the literature on sustainability. Geographers have responded with theoretical and empirical research that critically evaluates the precepts of sustainable development, for example, considering the problems associated with the privatisation of common resources and the expansion of markets for previously subsistence goods.
    In the end Kawsu mentions that the rice farmers have been faced with a common threat from the hippos grazing on rice crop in a common swamp area. Their common approach to the hippo threat is now beginning to save the common rural asset/ resource the hippo, which is seen as` globally endangered.

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