common Heritage of mankind
space is simply the space beyond the atmosphere of the Earth.
Most of outer space is emptiness, but there are areas where
matter and energy have gathered--forming galaxies and solar
space is the largest global commons. In 1967, the United
Nations declared outer space "the common province of
Mankind." Therefore, information gained from weather
observation satellites is shared by many countries, and
communication satellites can be used to 'beam' television
programs around the world. In addition, countries that are
able to launch rockets into space are cooperating in order
to learn better how to live and work in outer space. For
example, thirteen nations are engaged in building an International
is the coldest of Earth's continents. Sometimes it's a lonely
place, but during the short summer months, the coastal areas
of Antarctica come alive with animal life hatching, swimming,
and soaring on the sea wind. And scientists from all over
the world--in small groups--gather to do research.
is a special global commons. At one time people were trying
to claim parts of the continent as private property, but
in 1959, a dozen nations signed the Antarctic Treaty stating
that no person or country can own Antarctica; the treaty
also banned nuclear weapons and military operations and
instilled strict control of pollution. Now any nation can
conduct scientific research on the icy continent --as long
as they cooperate with the rules of the treaty.
and the history of the Universe
is the gaseous envelope that surrounds the Earth. It's made
up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon, helium, methane,
and carbon dioxide. This mixture changes as it gets farther
away from the Earth's surface until it thins out to the
general density of outer space.
atmosphere is regarded as a global commons because it can't
be owned or controlled by anyone or any country. It's always
moving--like clouds and storms. That's why atmospheric pollution,
such as acid rain, is generating international conflict;
fortunately, there also has been a good deal of international
cooperation, and people from many countries are working
together to prevent further damage to the atmosphere
are the dominating feature of the Earth, covering 71% of
the surface. Earth is the only planet in our solar system
that has vast oceans of liquid water. It is Earth's unique
oceans that make our planet uniquely life-bearing.
all the global commons, the oceans are the most explored.
The oceans are governed by the Law of the Sea Treaty, and
the United Nations declared the oceans "the common
heritage of Mankind." Coastal waters can be claimed
for private use, like drilling for oil, but the oceans more
than two hundred miles from land belong to all.
is knowledge that is gained through communication, research,
or instruction; it can be given or received.
is an unlimited resource that flows worldwide. Information
can't be owned or conquered, and it's getting harder to
control, or hide, or hoard. The worldwide spread of news
reports and the spectacular growth of the Internet and the
World Wide Web have made information available to almost
everyone, so more and more people are treating information
as a global commons
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