There is an all-enclosing commons-economy which has been successful for billions of years: the biosphere. Its ecology is the terrestrial household of energy, matter, beings, relationships and meanings which contains any manmade economy and only allows for it to exist. Sunlight, oxygen, drinking water, climate, soil and energy – the products and processes of this household – also nourish the Homo economicus of our time who, despite all his technological and economical progress, still feeds on products of the biosphere.
I wish to argue that nature embodies the commons paradigm par excellence. With that definition I do not only mean that man and other beings have been living together according to commons principles for an overwhelming majority of time. My argument is more complex: I am convinced that ecological relations within nature follow the rules of the commons. Therefore, nature can provide us with a powerful methodology of the commons as a natural and social ecology. The goal of this chapter is to give a brief outline of this “existential commons ecology.”