Heather Menzies
Visit Heather's blog carries on the Commons conversation. Join us, share and comment to be part of this important conversation emerging from her latest book, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good.

Latest posts
Reclaiming Common Ground Past and Present - Part 2
Reclaiming Common Ground Past and Present - Part 1
Video: Living the Limits to Growth with Heather Menzies

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Heather MenziesHeather Menzies is an award-winning magazine and book writer and adjunct professor at Carleton University. She has just completed her 10th book, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good. Her last two books were on the Globe and Mail's "Best 100" book list. In 2013, she was awarded the Order of Canada for her 'contributions to public discourse.'

Enter Mourning Book Cover

"a magnificently memorable memoir"
The Globe & Mail

No Time

"brilliantly humane, literary, personal and scholarly"
The Georgia Straight

"Menzies argues with passion that a society whose citizens are unengaged, exhausted and numbed out by too much time spent in front of screens...risks losing sight of its real needs and priorities, allowing large corporate and political entities too much power, to everyone's detriment."
University Affairs

Whose Brave New World?

"an important contribution to public awareness...her book could be the springboard for a counterattack by people against the corporate-systems economy that now seems to be running out of control."
The Canadian Forum

The Railroad's Not Enough

"Some of it reads like poetry"
The Globe & Mail



Reclaiming the Commons wins Ottawa Book Award for Non-FictionBook cover Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good


Heather Menzies received the honour of the Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.

City of Ottawa's Book Award Announcement.

"This ground-breaking book reclaims the self-organizing, self-governing commons first as memory, in Menzies’ ancestral heritage living in direct relations with the land and then as a set of commons-making practices to offer a vision and practical guide for reviving common-good governance from the grassroots up."

"Heather Menzies, Scott Randall win Ottawa Book Awards," Ottawa Citizen, October 21, 2015.





Heather was the keynote speaker

who launched the XV Global Conference of the

International Association for the

Study of the Commons in Edmonton, Alberta

Commons conference keynote speakers graphic

Heather's New Book: Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

Book cover Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

"Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an admirable, even
noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done
if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster. There’s
more than a little irony in the fact that it is the indigenous people all
over the world who are at the forefront of the struggle to rescue us
from the fate that the most technologically advanced societies are
creating, day by day. There’s not much time, and it’s a huge task.
I hope what this book has the impact it deserves."
— Noam Chomsky

"Globalization of the corporate mandate — maximize growth
and profit — has been incredibly destructive of the social and
ecological fabric that are the keys to sustainability. When the great
Crash, ecologic or economic, comes, Heather Menzies’ brilliant
critique, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, provides
an understanding of why it came about and a path towards a truly
sustainable way for humanity to live on the planet." — David Suzuki

Commoning was a way of life for most of our ancestors. In Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, author Heather Menzies journeys to her roots in the Scottish Highlands, where her family lived in direct relation with the land since before recorded time.

Beginning with an intimate account of unearthing the heritage of the commons and the real tragedy of its loss, Menzies offers a detailed description of the self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles of this nearly forgotten way of life, including its spiritual practices and traditions. She then identifies pivotal commons practices that could be usefully revived today. A final 'manifesto' section pulls these facets together into a unified vision for reclaiming the commons, drawing a number of current popular initiatives into the commons and commoning frame - such as local food security, permaculture and the Occupy Movement.

An engaging memoir of personal and political discovery, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good combines moving reflections on our common heritage with a contemporary call to action, individually and collectively, locally and globally. Readers will be inspired by the book's vision of reviving the commons ethos of empathy and mutual respect, and energized by her practical suggestions for connecting people and place for the common good.

Order your copy from New Society Publishers today or request it at your local independent book store, through Amazon or

Visit Heather Menzies' blog for Heather's thoughts on the Commons, her book tour and issues of the day. There is a new post every Monday.

"Menzies outlines her discovery of a vanished way of life and argues that restoring it would help North Americans recover a deeper sense of self as well as more satisfying social relations with the people around them. It could also help them gain more control over political decisions that affect them in their communities, states and provinces and at the national level."

Listen to the Podcast Interview (43 minutes) with Bruce Wark for New Books in Journalism. Download podcast.

Listen to the Interview online with Erica Butler of habitatradio.ca on June 7, 2014, published on rabble.ca.

"Reconvening the Commons," Watershed Sentinel magazine, Summer 2014.

"Reclaiming the commons in the Salish Sea Islands," Heather Menzies opinion article, Island Tides, May 15, 2014.

"An intimate journey of personal and political discovery and a call to action," E.J. Hurst, Gabriola Sounder, May 12, 2014.

"Reclaiming the commons in Canadian politics," Heather Menzies opinion article, Ottawa Citizen, May 8, 2014.

"Order of Canada ceremony kicks off book launch for local author," Manotick Messenger, May 8, 2014.



"Why I wear both the red poppy and the white," Heather Menzies, Toronto Star, November 11, 2014.

"On Thomas Berger and the Peel River Watershed," Heather Menzies, rabble.ca, February 24, 2014.

"Idle No More - Building Alliances," Heather Menzies, Watershed Sentinel magazine, March-April 2013.

"Whose 'development'? A reflection on Alanis Obomsawin's film on Attawapiskat," Heather Menzies, rabble.ca, February 5, 2013.

"What drew me to Chief Spence's Hunger Strike," Heather Menzies on her experiences on Victoria Island.

"Idle No More is an historic opportunity for alliance building," Heather Menzies opinion article, rabble.ca, January 18, 2013.

"Support for Idle No More shows opposition to Harper," Heather Menzies opinion-editorial, Ottawa Citizen, January 7, 2013.

 The White Poppy Debate on CBC's The Current, Heather Menzies speaks to CBC host Jim Brown and Legion spokesperson Joanne Henderson about the White Poppy on November 9, 2012.

Remember Peace? The White Poppy. Heather Menzies at the Kingston, Ontario, Public Library, November 9, 2011. Event sponsored by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, justice, peace and integrity of creation office and the Kingston Society of Friends (Quakers). Heather contributed 50 homemade white poppies and raised $95 in donations to support the healing of female child soldiers in Africa.

"No more war," said Heather Menzies at a White Poppy ceremony at the Ottawa Cenotaph on November 11, 2011. See the Youtube video.

"Patient-centred care: It's about relationships" writes Heather Menzies in a Globe and Mail opinion article published on July 13, 2011.



Heather Menzies received notice on July 5, 2013, that she would receive the Order of Canada to honour her contributions to public discourse.

Heather Menzies accepts the Order of Canada

"Ottawa's Order of Canada recipients", Ottawa Citizen, article by Robert Bostelaar, May 7, 2014.

The Governor-General’s Announcement on June 28, 2013.

Announcement in the Canada Gazette on July 6, 2013.

“Thirteen from National Capital Region among new Order of Canada appointees,” Ottawa Citizen article by Gemma Karstens-Smith on July 5, 2013.

“Author and Commons team member Heather Menzies receiving Order of Canada,” Gabriola Sounder News on July 9, 2013.

Concordia University awards Heather Menzies Honourary Doctorate on November 27, 2007.


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"Remembering Peace: The White Poppy in Flanders Fields by Heather Menzies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License