number of red pebbles (or any contrasting color).
bag for each community.
the group into communities of four.
16 white pebbles in an opaque bag for each community.
Give each community member a large handful of red pebbles.
the most culturally appropriate scenario from the following five scenarios.
The scenario illustrates that by overusing a resource, that resource
or another is damaged in some way. Share the scenario with the participants.
pebbles represent one parcel of land farmed; red pebbles represent
use of chemical fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide.
pebbles represent one parcel of land used to graze animals; red pebbles
represent loss of grazing vegetation and over production of manure.
pebbles represent one day's catch from a fishing vessel; red pebbles
represent population growth of less-desirable species.
pebbles represent travel by air; red pebbles represent exhaust pollution
pebbles represent products made from a factory; red pebbles represent
pollution to air and water by that factory.
the rules of the game:
Participants draw one or more pebbles from the bag each turn.
Each community member must draw at least 1 white pebble from the
bag per round to survive. It does not matter how many red pebbles
If a participant does not draw a white pebble she/he "dies"
and does not continue to play.
Each community member may take as many pebbles as desired from the
At the end of each round, the white pebbles in each community's
bag are counted; exactly that many white pebbles are added to the
1 and 2: First generation (the present). For each white pebble a participant
takes, one red pebble is placed in the team's bag immediately.
Rounds 3 and 4: Second generation (your children). For each white
pebble a participant takes, three red pebbles are placed in the bag
Rounds 5 and 6: Third generation (your grandchildren). For each white
pebble a participant takes, three red pebbles must be placed in the
how the game progressed.
Who had the advantage? Why?
Why did participants take as many pebbles as they did?
How did the actions of the first generation impact the third generation?
Is this fair?
During what round was the "fatal move" made (the act that
caused the demise of the system?) How did this affect the rest of
the game play?
Give the communities the chance to play again, without the bags, so
that participants can monitor the communal resource and the pollution.
The same rules apply.
how this game progressed.
Were communities able to sustain the resource so that the third
generation had as little pollution/overuse as the first generation?
Did any communities opt to limit: use of chemicals/amount of grazing/catch
size/air travel/pollutants created?
communication did it take to sustain the resource?
on playing Drain or Sustain II
the first two rounds, participants will have no trouble surviving,
and may even show greed by taking four or more white pebbles. It
becomes obvious that the community member who reaches into the bag
first has an advantage over the other community members.
rounds 3 and 4, participants will begin to take larger handfuls
from the bag, especially at the end of Round 4. They will be concerned
when someone gets a large number of white pebbles, as that means
fewer white pebbles and many more red pebbles for the next participant.
rounds 5 and 6, the participants begin to "die off" (be
put out of business, be forced to leave the farm, etc.). Participants
take huge handfuls of pebbles in fear that they might not survive.
By now it becomes obvious that the common resource is so polluted/overused
that everyone loses.