"Nature's gifts are the common property of the human race."
Thomas Paine

"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad to serve others by any invention of ours."
Ben Franklin, who never sought a patent for his popular Franklin stove

"What made Theodore Roosevelt a conservation hero was his conviction that pelicans, two-thousand-year-old redwood trees, and ancient rock formations belonged to future generations of Americans."
Jonathan Rosen, nature writer

"A hundred times every day I tell myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received."
Albert Einstein

Edward R. Murrow: "Who owns the patent on this vaccine?"
Jonas Salk: "Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"
from a 1955 television interview with the inventor of the polio vaccine

"Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come."
Article 1, section 27, of the Pennsylvania state constitution, 1968

"Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence."
Hawaiian state law, 1986

"The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind."
official catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, no. 2403, 1992

"A public philosophy for the twenty-first century will have to give more weight to the community than to the right of private decision. . . . It will have to limit the scope of the market and the power of corporations without replacing them with a centralized state bureaucracy."
Christopher Lasch, social critic, 1994

"We all do better when we all do better."
Senator Paul Wellstone

"Let us demonstrate how commons-based management — participatory, collaborative, and transparent — offers the best hope for building a world that is sustainable, fair, and life-giving."
a manifesto from the 2009 World Social Forum

"The commons is primarily about constructing community — people as active participants, co-owners, and citizens in their communities, people with relationships of responsibility toward each other and the resources that we all share together."
Silke Helfrich, German common activist

"The commons is a framework for reconstruction. Until now we have spent more time on resistance than on reconstruction."
Alberto Villarreal, Uruguayan environmental activist

"I am not a rich man but I am rich in favors, and I am rich in cooperation with others."
an elder of the Weyewan people, Indonesia

"The idea of the commons is beginning to have an impact on how people see themselves, how they think about the future, and how they work together to shape a better world."
Julie Ristau, commons animateur