ICBL Strategy 1: Introduce the Case

Initial Publication Date: December 31, 2003

Begin by providing a copy of the case to individuals or by projecting the case for the group.

Next, ask a student volunteer to read the case out loud while the others read along silently. This gets everyone "on the same page" and is a surprisingly productive case-learning method. Reading aloud lets students know that they will be verbally involved in this process. Plan on 2 minutes for this step, and it can be done in small groups or by the whole class.

Case: Goodbye Honeybuckets Author: Lana McNeil, College of Rural Alaska, Nome (2001)

"More than 20,000 rural Native residents in Alaska live in communities without running water and where homes, local government offices, commercial buildings and even medical clinics use plastic buckets for toilets --euphemistically called 'honey buckets.' The waste from these toilets is often spilled in the process of hauling it to disposal sites and these spillages have led to the outbreak of epidemic diseases such as Hepatitis A."
(An Alaskan Challenge: Native Village Sanitation, US Congress, 1994)

Even in 2001, there are still villages without a municipal sewer system. John Kepaaq is a member of the Tribal Council in Icy Valley and he is concerned about the type of sewer system that is being considered. Everyone in northern Alaska has heard stories about outside developers who did not realize the unique problems of construction in the arctic.

Icy Valley is a village of about 200 people who know what it is like to live with permafrost, darkness, and long cold winters. John wants to be sure that the sewage system proposed for their village is appropriate for the cold temperatures and safe for the tundra environment.

Note: John Kepaaq and Icy Valley are fictitious, but the problem is real.