Activity time: 7 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A shallow pan, filled with water
  • A sheet of plain paper, a marker and a pair of scissors (including left-handed scissors)
  • Optional: Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Plan how you will form the groups. The groups do not have to be equal in number. If possible, make the number of "landowners" divisible by four.
  • Place the pan of water in the middle of a work table.
  • On another work table, place the paper, the marker and the scissors.
  • Optional: Read the Faith in Action activity. If you do not plan to show the documentary, "Flow" , to participants, write the name of the film and the URL for its related website on newsprint and post.

Description of Activity

Form two groups. Tell one group they are "water owners" and gather them around the work table that has the pan of water. Tell the other group they are "landowners" and gather them around the work table that has the paper.

Ask the two groups to divide their resource equally so each owner gets a fair share. Do not give any further instruction.

Give the groups just a few minutes. Then, process the activity with these questions.

  • How did the "landowners" divide the land? Was it easy? Why or why not?
  • How did the "water owners" divide the water? Was it easy? Why or why not?
  • Does everyone need to own land to survive? How about access to land? Why?
  • Does everyone need to own water to survive? How about access to water? Why?
  • Why do you think people try to own water?

Explain that in many parts of the world, there are struggles happening about this very issue. People do not have free and unrestricted access to the water they need. Part of the problem is that countries or communities direct the flow of fresh water to keep more of it for themselves. Part of the problem is corporations that take water that flows through land they own, and put it in bottles to sell.

Ask:

  • What if someone owns land and the land has water on it? Does that person own the water? Should that person allow others to come and get that water if they need it?

If you are not going to do the Faith in Action, you may want to recommend the movie "Flow" for participants to watch on their own. It is a documentary that explains the struggles of people who need water being denied access because of large corporations.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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