Ecojustice: Water

The Ecojustice curriculum for gr. 6-8 is in active development. This page exists primarily to post resources and lesson plans in progress. Images and text on this page copyright (c) 2014-present Dan Harper

Back to the main Ecojustice page


Water is essential for life; humans need about a gallon of clean fresh water a day for drinking and bathing. Water is necessary to grow food crops. Most human communities in North America rely on water to flush human excrement away. Non-human organisms also need water to live. But in many parts of the world, there is no longer a reliable supply of clean fresh water that can supply all of these needs. For example, in California nearly all water sources in the state have been tapped to supply human agriculture or human communities — so much so that many rivers and streams no longer have enough water to support native species. Which gets priority, the human or the non-human uses? Should humans have to cut water consumption (i.e., by reducing water supplies for agriculture, by installing composting toilets that do not use water, etc.) in order to provide water for non-human species?

Both global climate change and the growing human population are affecting water supplies around the world. In many cases, wealthy white people have easy access to water, while poor non-white people do not, so we might ask: Does every human have a right to enough water, or should water be allocated to those who can pay for it? We might also ask: Do humans have a greater right to clean fresh water than non-human organisms?

a. Rain Barrels

Process: Visit the Board (or appropriate committee) to get permission and funding to install a rain barrel. Do the installation, including: putting down concrete blocks to raise the barrel up; installing bulkhead faucet at bottom (for taking water out) and at top (for overflow); connecting barrel to downspout.

Below: Completed rain barrel (overflow faucet not visible) installed by Ecojustice Class at the UU Church of Palo Alto in Dec., 2015:

rain barrel installed by Ecojustice Class, 2015

b. tour creek & wastewater treatment plant

c. field trip to Baylands (the terminus of our local watershed)

d. learn about water efficiency home improvements and then teens do educational outreach to congregation