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Activists fight for water in Mexico

Date: Mar 18, 2006
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:29 - 174.6 KB - 16kbps)

 
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THE ARTICLE

Fighting wars over water is usually just for fantasy writers and Hollywood epics. No more. The scary reality is that water is becoming so scarce in many parts of the world that people may be close to conflict. The possibility that the poor and waterless might go to war to quench their thirst is, in fact, quite real. At the opening of the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City yesterday, people fought with police. They were angry at rich countries taking their water. Peaceful protestors carried fake wooden rifles – a warning sign of what the future might hold.

The World Water Forum has highlighted many issues concerning water that divide the world into haves and have-nots. Representatives of 130 nations are meeting to discuss water management. Poor countries have accused rich countries of adding to the water crisis. Multinational corporations make more and more money from selling water to the poor. Mexico is the world’s second largest consumer of bottled water. Poor nations use just one-thirtieth of the water of many developed countries. Wars have been fought for less than this terrible statistic.

WARM-UPS

1. WATER: Write down five things you most need water for. Share what you wrote down with your partner(s). Did they have the same needs as you?

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

War / water / fantasy / Hollywood / scary realities / conflicts / poor people / thirst / rich countries / water management / multinational corporations / mineral water

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. WATER USE: With your partner(s), talk about whether the things in the list below are OK. Remember that millions of people around the world have no water. Put a grade of 1 (totally necessary) to 10 (totally unnecessary) next to each water use:

____ Washing the car

____ Fountains outside company offices

____ Water slides in swimming pools

____ Watering the garden

____ Swimming pools

____ Taking a bath/shower every day

____ Making sodas and soft drinks

____ Other _____________________

4. HEADLINE PREDICTION: With your partner(s), use all of the words in the “Chat” activity above to predict what the news article will be about. Once you have your story, change partners and compare your different versions. Who was closest to the real story?

5. WATER HEADLINES: Do you think these headlines could come true one day? Talk about them as though they were real with your partner(s).

  1. Europe and Africa go to war over water
  2. Water reaches ten dollars a liter
  3. Antarctica answers world water problems
  4. Car washing with water to be banned
  5. Scientists reduce our body’s water needs by 30 percent
  6. Water pipeline from Mars opens tomorrow
  7. Ninety percent of Earth’s water now dangerous to drink
  8. Man receives 20 years in prison for stealing water ration tickets
  9. There is no water shortage

6. MEXICO: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Mexico. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

A new Hollywood movie shows water wars in Mexico City.

T / F

b.

It is becoming increasing possible people may fights wars over water.

T / F

c.

People fought with police because they were angry at rich nations.

T / F

d.

Protestors hit police with wooden rifles.

T / F

e.

The worries over water showed how united the world is.

T / F

f.

Multinational companies make lots of money selling water to the poor.

T / F

g.

Mexico is the world’s second largest consumer of bottled water.

T / F

h.

Rich countries use 30 times more water than poor nations.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

epics

reduce

b.

scarce

figure

c.

conflict

have

d.

quench

the poor

e.

hold

blockbusters

f.

highlighted

blamed

g.

have-nots

war

h.

accused

buyer

i.

consumer

hard to find

j.

statistic

underlined

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

…for fantasy writers

might hold

b.

water is becoming so

management

c.

quench their

scarce in many parts of the world

d.

the opening of the fourth

and have-nots

e.

a warning sign of what the future

fought for less

f.

divide the world into haves

and Hollywood epics

g.

are meeting to discuss water

from selling water to the poor

h.

accused rich countries of adding

World Water Forum

i.

make more and more money

thirst

j.

Wars have been

to the water crisis

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Activists fight for water in Mexico

Fighting wars _________ water is usually just for fantasy writers and Hollywood epics. No more. The scary _________ is that water is becoming so _________ in many parts of the world that people may be close to conflict. The possibility that the poor and _________ might go to war to quench their thirst is, in fact, quite _________. At the opening of the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City yesterday, people _________ with police. They were angry at rich countries taking their water. Peaceful protestors carried _________ wooden rifles – a warning sign of what the future might _________.

 

 

waterless
hold
scarce
fought
over
real
fake
reality

The World Water Forum has highlighted many _________ concerning water that divide the world into _________ and have-nots. Representatives of 130 nations are meeting to _________ water management. Poor countries have accused rich countries of adding to the water _________. Multinational corporations _________ more and more money from selling water to the poor. Mexico is the world’s second largest _________ of bottled water. Poor nations use just one-_________ of the water of many developed countries. Wars have been fought for less than this terrible _________.

 

thirtieth
haves
make
crisis
statistic
issues
consumer
discuss

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Activists fight for water in Mexico

Fighting wars over water is usually _______ for fantasy writers and Hollywood epics. No more. The scary reality is that water is becoming so _______ in many parts of the world that people may be close to conflict. The possibility that the poor and waterless might go to war to _______ their thirst is, in fact, quite real. At the _________ of the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City yesterday, people fought with police. They were angry at rich countries taking their water. Peaceful protestors carried _________ wooden rifles – a warning sign of what the future might _________.

The World Water Forum has highlighted many _________ concerning water that divide the world into haves and _________. Representatives of 130 nations are meeting to discuss water management. Poor countries have _________ rich countries of adding to the water _________. Multinational corporations make more and more money from selling water to the poor. Mexico is the world’s second largest _________ of bottled water. Poor nations use just one-_________ of the water of many developed countries. Wars have been fought for less than this terrible _________.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘fantasy’ and ‘writer’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “WATER” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about water and the world’s water crisis.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • epics
  • scarce
  • quench
  • opening
  • angry
  • hold
  • highlighted
  • discuss
  • crisis
  • consumer
  • one-thirtieth
  • less

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What do you think of the idea of water wars?
  3. Have you seen any movies about water wars?
  4. What are your experiences of water shortages?
  5. Do you ever think about how important water is?
  6. How would life change if your town rationed water?
  7. What do you do to save water?
  8. Could you reduce by half the number of baths you take?
  9. Have you ever been without water for a long period of time?
  10. What do you think it is like to be so thirsty?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you think rich countries at the World Water Forum will help poor countries?
  4. What do you think of the Coca Cola Company making millions of dollars from selling water to very poor people?
  5. Do you think fountains outside government buildings should be turned off?
  6. What is the most important thing rich countries should do to help poor countries?
  7. What is the most important thing you should do to save water?
  8. Where do you think the world’s first water war will be fought?
  9. What do you think of the fact that rich countries use thirty times more water than poor countries?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

SAVING WATER: In pairs / groups, discuss whether the following ways of saving water are OK with you or not. Make a mini presentation for the rest of your class.

Ad

Comments for your presentation

1.    REDUCED BATHING
Take only two baths / showers a week instead of seven.

 

2.    FAUCET / TAP TIMERS
A timer is put on your faucet / tap that cuts the water supply after three, ten or thirty seconds.

 

3.    NATURAL SWIMMING
All swimming pools are closed. Swimming should take place in rivers, lakes or the sea.

 

4.     NATURAL CAR WASH
Car wash centers and washing your car at home are banned. Cars to be cleaned using river water.

 

5.    ECONOMICAL TOILETS
Flush the toilet after every two uses instead of every use.

 

6.    GOODBYE GRASS
A ban on watering the garden.

 

Change partners and talk about what you wrote with your previous partner(s).

Give your presentations.

Discuss what was said in each presentation and vote on the best ones.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on the water shortages around the world. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s).

3. CONSERVE: Make a poster showing the many ways we can save water in our daily lives. Show your poster to your classmates in the next lesson. Which poster(s) did you like most and why?

4. WATER DIARY: Write a diary entry for a day in your life. Note down all of the times you use water. Did you need the water? Could you have saved it? Discuss this with your partner(s).

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

epics

blockbusters

b.

scarce

hard to find

c.

conflict

war

d.

quench

reduce

e.

hold

have

f.

highlighted

underlined

g.

have-nots

the poor

h.

accused

blamed

i.

consumer

buyer

j.

statistic

figure

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

…for fantasy writers

and Hollywood epics

b.

water is becoming so

scarce in many parts of the world

c.

quench their

thirst

d.

the opening of the fourth

World Water Forum

e.

a warning sign of what the future

might hold

f.

divide the world into haves

and have-nots

g.

are meeting to discuss water

management

h.

accused rich countries of adding

to the water crisis

i.

make more and more money

from selling water to the poor

j.

Wars have been

fought for less

GAP FILL:

Activists fight for water in Mexico

Fighting wars over water is usually just for fantasy writers and Hollywood epics. No more. The scary reality is that water is becoming so scarce in many parts of the world that people may be close to conflict. The possibility that the poor and waterless might go to war to quench their thirst is, in fact, quite real. At the opening of the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City yesterday, people fought with police. They were angry at rich countries taking their water. Peaceful protestors carried fake wooden rifles – a warning sign of what the future might hold.

The World Water Forum has highlighted many issues concerning water that divide the world into haves and have-nots. Representatives of 130 nations are meeting to discuss water management. Poor countries have accused rich countries of adding to the water crisis. Multinational corporations make more and more money from selling water to the poor. Mexico is the world’s second largest consumer of bottled water. Poor nations use just one-thirtieth of the water of many developed countries. Wars have been fought for less than this terrible statistic.

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