Thursday, December 9, 2010

DuhARRRam Student Day

Captain's Log

November 24th - Lviv Hall, Oshawa: the third Student Day

Up up early in the morning for the last Student Day.  174 students filled the hall today - 7 schools from DCDSB and 6 from PVNCCDSB. They were all treated to a final rocking performance by Derek Forgie.  He offered to come out and speak at any of the schools attending to support them in taking the campaign back to their peers.  You can contact Derek at

The one element of the Student Days not yet described is the Indonesian Simulesian.  Students were transported to Central Java Indonesia where CCODP provides financial support to our partner KruHa. KruHa is a network of Indonesian NGOs that support community efforts to keep community water in comunity hands. You can read about them in our campaign tabloid. We simulated a village meeting where they had to decide whether to keep ownership and control of a spring on their land or sell it to a bottled water company.  Playing the devil's advocate role and adovcating the sale of the spring were their own teachers.  Needless to say, students voted heavily in favour of keeping control of the spring.

Indonesia is the second largest bottled water market in Asia. For many people in the country, drinking bottled water is not a choice, unlike for us.  Placed before us is a development question:  should we be working with people in the Global South to develop water infrastructure systems and promote environmental stewardship of water resources ? Or should we take control of the clean water sources that exist, stick it in bottles and sell it to them for large profits?

Pirates, we need you to build those ships now more than ever.

PS. The river is now huge.

ToARRRonto Student Day

Captain's Log

November 17th - St. Bonnies Parish Hall, Toronto: the second Student Day.

Students began the morning building small bottled water pirate ships - prototypes for bigger things to come!

Derek Forgie was in fine form again today.  So were the students of TCDSB and YCDSB. The question period went well over the allotted time.

The students own knowledge was further deepened by watching  "The Story of Bottled Water" and they enjoyed our own "D&P Cartoon"

The pedometer went over well again, hitting the mark with 6.16 KM.  Should I say that if we are really going to show what it's like for women fetching water in the Global South that they should be carrying a large container full of water for half the distance?

The whole point of the pedometer excercise is to encourage students to use creative methods to share information back in their own schools.  In the afternoon students broke into mixed school groups for 3 activities: a) come up with a creative way to present a fact about bottled water b) create a cartoon to illustrate the issue c) come up with a skit that you can do in front of a vending machine that sells bottled water.  These are just three techniques they will use to educate and mobilize their school communities.

Many pirates joined up with the Water Commodification Resistance today! A great day on the high seas as the river of justice grows larger each day. We were even covered by the Toronto Observer.

DuffARRRRin Peel Student Day

Captain's Log

November 9th - Fr. Goetz S.S. Mississauga: the first Student Day.

Derek Forgie spreads the word!

With all but a few of the board's 26 high schools represented, the crowd at Fr. Michael Goetz high school was a large one.  The day kicked off with a presentation by Derek Forgie from MTV Canada. He had everyone laughing but also thinking about our consumption of bottled water. "Did anyone stop to think that evian is naive spelled backwards?" he asked.

taste test time
We watched as student volunteers failed his 'tap water taste test.'  It's pretty clear that tap water tastes just about the same as bottled water products.

Warmed up by Derek's presentation, students then learned about the July 28th UN declaration on access to clean water as a human right.  They heard that 884 million people in our world today do not enjoy that right.  If water is a god-given gift for all, this is a challenge to our very humanity.

One student, Tiffany, was ready to oblige me when I asked for a drink of water.  She was a bit surprised when I gave her the pedometer and asked her not to bring me the water until it read 6km.  This is how far women in the Global South can have to walk in order to get water for their families.  Everyone cheered when she proudly came back sometime later with the proof on the pedometer. She was awarded a Life before Profit T-shirt for her efforts.

Judging by the hearty response to my question, "Be thar any pirates in this here room?" I think we can expect a good fleet from the Dufferin Peel board.  They were happy to take a share of the pledge card booty I brought with me in my black chest. I expect they will now be getting busy building the finest ships in the land!

Many thanks goes to the school board for their support of this day.  The most special thanks though goes to the students of the SOWHAT club at Fr. Goetz.  If anyone says you did less than awesome in organizing the conference they can walk the plank!

Dear pirates of the water commodification resistance (WCR)

We at CCODP may not have a face to launch a thousand ships, but that is more or less what we are aiming to do with schools in the archdiocese of Toronto and the diocese of Peterborough.

Let me elaborate: between November 9th and November 24th our local educator's group held three student days covering five schools boards.  The Student Days, as we call them, are  particularly close to my heart.  It was at one of these days some fifteen years ago that I was introduced to Development and Peace.  As a grade 11 student I was a participant - now I get to help organize and lead them!

pledge in a bottle
Over the course of this year's student days, over 400 high school students were empowered to carry out our "Water for All! Let Justice Flow" campaign back in their schools.  Each school has been invited to collect discarded plastic water bottles and to build pirate ships out of them, an idea I wrote about in my last post.

These school ships will sail to special gathering places in and around March 10th 2011- Bottled Water Free Day.  They will carry a message in a bottle, signed pledge cards showing the commitment of students everywhere to keeping water a god-given gift for all.

So much happened at the three student days that I am sharing my pirate's log entry for each of them.

Your Truly,

Captain Luke Silver, WCR