Re: [External] Dear Cohousing Community - Tragedy of the Commons racist and inaccurate
From: Liz Ryan Cole (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 18:02:43 -0800 (PST)
Hi all - We might want to create a separate thread to discuss the terrible 
flaws with the concept of “The Tragedy of the Commons”, but I do want to at 
least flag it here.  Hardin,the man who wrote the article which is one of one 
of environmentalism’s most-cited essays was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and 
Islamaphobe.  As many after him have shown, his theory was not actually 
grounded in an empirically accurate representation of the commons. Elinor 
Ostrom was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for demonstrating this 
concept in her book Governing the Commons, which included examples of how local 
communities were able to do this without top-down regulations.  So, if you are 
someone who has in one way or another come to believe that people are incapable 
of managing our commons, take heart.  Here is just one link and it will lead 
you to more.

Pinnacle Project, Lyme, NH

PS I do believe in turning off lights.  :) 

> On Jan 8, 2021, at 4:07 PM, Janet Boys <jboys [at]> wrote:
> It has been tested and proven that the way to encourage people to use les:
> electricity/gas/water is to charge each household through its own meter. If
> you do not,  you have the tragedy of the commons. With multiple households
> on one meter, it is hard for any household to see if it is making a
> difference by behaving differently. I strongly suggest that you have meters
> for each household and one (or more) for common areas. This does cost more
> to set up. We have individual meters for electricity for things like TVs,
> refrigerators, etc - but only one meter for heating and cooling our entire
> community (we are all in one building). We also have only one water meter
> for the entire community. This can lead to arguments about what
> temperatures individual units are kept at or whether or not hoses should
> just be set up for children to use as they please in the summer. If you
> have a community that has people who are prone to say, "You can't tell me
> what to do", you need individual meters.
> To give a personal example, back before living in cohousing, I started a
> household campaign of one person to turn things off: radios, lights, TVs,
> etc. By being very vigilant, I could point to our electric bill to show
> him, a scientist, that our bills were lower since I started doing that. He
> then started doing it too. It also meant that we bought very efficient
> appliances. When we went solar, the installer was amazed at how low our
> usage was. It had to be that low to qualify for the rebates and the small
> space we had for the panels. We were using less than their star example of
> one old woman who used little. Good luck.
> On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 11:58 AM Jim Bronson <jimbronsonashland [at]>
> wrote:
>> River Song plans to start construction in May.  Now we are grappling with
>> some design questions.  I expect that we will decide to be an all-electric
>> community (or, at most, have a gas cooktop in the Community House in case
>> of power outage).
>> Our Design Team would love to have the benefit of others in considering the
>> following:
>> 1) Do we have an electric meter on each of our 28 units, or an electric
>> meter only on each of our seven buildings, or have only one electric meter
>> for the community and parcel out charges based on square footage of
>> individual units through the HOA?
>> 2) Do we have solar.with battery backup, for a start, on the Community
>> House (possibly using financing where a third party pays for the
>> installation and is compensated over time through selling power to us and
>> the grid)?
>> Anybody have helpful experience/advice/suggestions?  Thanks so much
>> for your help.
>> Jim Bronson
>> River Song Cohousing
>> Eugene, Oregon
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> -- 
> Janet Boys
> (267) 235-3014
> *Campaign Donations Are Killing Our Nation. * Help build the movement
> to get $$$ out of politics, it’s the only way to get our democracy back.
> Download this email signature at
> <>
> [image: Stamp Stampede Facebook]
> <>[image:
> Stamp Stampede Twitter] <>[image: Stamp
> Stampede Pinterest] <>[image: Stamp
> Stampede Instagram] <>
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.