Environmental Trading Games: Water quality trading

Motu has developed a game where participants take part in a simplified nutrient trading system or a simplified emissions trading system. This was designed to give participants ‘hands on’ experience of trading.

Nutrient Trading System

Participants manage either a dairy farm or a sheep/beef farm. Each farmer decides how much to produce each year. When they increase production they increase their nutrient loss. During the game, regulations to control nutrient loss will be introduced. Students will have to respond by altering their production.

We welcome questions, and would also be happy to hear about your experiences playing the game via info@motu.org.nz

Game materials

The  game consists of two files. The Nutrient game handouts for players  includes one sheet for dairy farmers and one sheet for sheep/beef farmers. Each should keep their sheet confidential. Instructors will need one copy of the Nutrient game teacher'snotes. The presentation is optional, but may be useful to guide discussion.

We suggest using these materials across two sessions:

Session 1

  • Nutrient trading game presentation on the nutrient trading game (2 minutes).
  • Trading game. This takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, including and depending upon discussion time. The extension (a demonstration of the impact of allocation) will take additional time, and could be carried over to session 2. 

Session 2

  • Short films available on Youtube: 5 minutes and 11 minutes respectively.
  • Further discussion and/or allocation extension.

Other Resources

Motu has also been involved in the development of a computer-based platform for educational water trading games. An overview of the simulation platform is available.