We here in the Upper Columbia Valley,
All need our water to drink, swim, wash,
To plant our seeds and watch them grow.
Every time we turn on the taps the water just
Runs, runs, and runs.
Water, water, everywhere…
We used to take our water for granted,
Always there when we needed it.
Through Beyond Recycling we now know that things aren’t
Rain may fall, or rivers may run, but sometimes,
nor any drop to drink.
Economics plays a role, or perhaps the water is
Very far away, or
Even dirtier than what leaves our sinks after washing our hands
Real people need to drink.
We, for a moment, experienced these situations,
Had to make hard decisions.
Everyone deserves clean water
Right time, right place, right quantity,
Every drop can make a difference.
Students in Ms. Curry’s class at JA Laird school in Invermere got a tiny glance of how other people’s access to clean, reliable drinking water varies from their own reality through the “Our Water” lesson this past week. Students had to decide in small groups which segment of society (agriculture, industry, or human needs) would get water first and/or get water at all as there wasn’t enough water to go around, or it was hard to access and dirty.
Students started learning about “Day Zero” in Cape Town, or how politics, war, or money can prevent a simple well from being dug in a community and thus preventing the community from being able to access nearby water. Students discussed questions such as “why can’t they just clean their water?”, or “can’t a human body just adapt to drinking dirtier water?” and looked at some hard answers.
In the end, students reflected that it was hard to fill all of their water needs cups within the time given and that there are other water realities other than our own here in the Columbia Valley. Hopefully, during one of the many, many times students now wash their hands in a day they think about their access to clean water and have a moment of gratitude.
“Water, water everywhere; nor any drop to drink” Lines from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The speaker of this line was a sailor on a ship, stuck in water too calm to fill sails and was lamenting the fact that despite being surrounded by water he couldn’t drink any as it was salt water.