VIDEO: OPEN 2020 – The language of the commons

“Throughout history, problems have arisen when the language used to represent reality fails to meet the needs and aspirations of people.” David Bollier & Silke Helfrich – Free, Fair and Alive

Words, terms and categories of thought isolate and emphasise certain points of view. They determine what we notice and think about things – they shape our reality. So, if we want to create a new reality, we are going to need new language!

In this session we introduce – and define – some of the basic terms which are used in discussions of the ‘regenerative economy’. The aim is to make our vocabulary as accessible as possible, to help communication between everyone on these topics.


On Day two we met again to discuss a new working group dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a long-term signposting resource to help us coordinate our work on the ‘new’ or ‘regenerative’ economy.

This work involves explaining more clearly what we mean by terms like ‘regenerative’, and connecting them with other concepts and resources, to make up what’s known as an ‘ontology’.

We intend to link into the wealth of pre-existing online resources and map the key relationships between the terms we include, to create a continually-evolving, commonly-owned and jargon-minimal overview of the language describing the building blocks of a better economy for people and planet.

This is an ongoing project and you can join the Loomio group and see the previous discussions and get involved with the working group.

See the notes and chat from the session below as PDF or HTML

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