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"The Commons" is a generic term that denotes everything we share. The commons includes our entire life support system, both natural and social. The air and oceans, the web of species, wilderness and flowing water - all are parts of the commons. So too are language and knowledge, sidewalks and public squares, the stories of childhood, the processes of democracy. Some parts of the commons are gifts of nature, others the product of human creativity and endeavor. Some are new, such as the Internet, others are as ancient as soil and calligraphy. But they all "belong" to all of us, if that is the word. No one has exclusive rights. We inherit them jointly and hold them in trust for those who come after us. This short but comprehensive work examines the history and tragic loss of the commons and discusses how we can bring them back at a time when privatization and ownership are economic mantras. By examining institutions, communities, and educational systems as well as the ways in which communities and even nations are governed, the authors make a plea for a more sustainable, healthier, and socially beneficial future for all by establishing and thriving in the commons.