the “Tragedy of the Commons”

The tragedy of the commons refers to a dilemma described in an influential article by that name written by Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968.[1] The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest will ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long term interest for this to happen.[2] 

That’s from wikipedia.

But at UMBC ‘the Commons’ referrs to the central hub of campus life.  How can we address glaring and hidden problems of the commons.

such as…

  • Overuse of packing at various food places- make more options! Bring your own plate discount- a reusable tupperware plate with a lid as colleges such as Bucknell and Loyola offer.
  • We have reusable travel mugs with discounted coffee- but what about for the other drinks
  • Biodegradable utensils & silverware
  • Posted: what can be recycled? What is ‘contaminated’ more information!
  • The food being served itself- is it sustainable? Local, organic? Are vegan & vegetarian options clearly displayed?
  • What about how the food was grown? Farm worker treatment?
  • Items sold at the bookstore- all UMBC gear should organicor recycled fabric and made sweatshop free- preferrably in the US
  • Workers rights & fair wages
  • What happened to the Social Justice Lounge?

We’ll be having the “tragedy of the Commons” event in Late November or December.  Contact if your group/organization wants to get involved!