Richmond Vale

NEWS: 'Mobility as a service' will take over Helsinki by 2025

Helsinki's government is working on the development of a public integrated system which focuses on "mobility as a service". Consequently, the need for privately-owned cars might be non-existent in ten years. [caption id="attachment_5808" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Helsinki is pursuing an ambitious public and private transport project that focuses on mobility as a service - Photo Credit: Wikipedia The government of Finland's capital city is hard at work with a "seamless and integrated private and public transportation system" . The project would mostly use the transport infrastructure already at hand, as well as the cell phones and other digital devices we all carry nowadays. As a result, Helsinki's citizens would be able to pay for kilometer-based packages, rather than multiple tickets for individual rides; and they would also be able to arrange their rides. The city would have dynamic bus routes and "private operators" from whom one could purchase "mobility packages" based on weather, time of the day, etc. Read the full article by Bikocity below: RESIDENTS OF HELSINKI, FINLAND, MAY NOT NEED TO OWN THEIR OWN CARS BY 2025 In at least one Scandinavian city, owning your own car may not be necessary a decade from now, thanks to the forward-looking plans of the government of Helsinki, Finland. While the goal of eliminating the need for private car ownership in that capital city within 10 years may...
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From Winstead to Africa to the Caribbean - By David Christian

This article was originally posted on CICD Volunteering Africa . MY STORY AND I AT CICD I am David Christian, from Rochdale near Manchester. I was a DI at CICD —the 14 months DI programme, in March 2011. The project was at One World University in Mozambique, where my main tasks were the library, promotion and teaching English. My first experience in a developing country; the challenges were motivating the students, communicating in Portuguese, plus coping with the lack of running water, electricity and the comfort of my old life. This is what I wanted, to change myself in this aspect; no longer remaining in my comfort zone and to be ready to face these difficulties millions of people live daily. I returned to CICD and joined the Fighting with The Poor 24 months programme. I returned to Africa —DNS in Mkushi, Zambia, working in partnership— helping with the expansion of the college. Not an easy task visiting many companies for sponsorship; but from my experience in fundraising, you have to keep going until you achieve something. From my African experiences, I didn't try to change the world, but to change some people's lives and I'm happy I achieved that. WHY I JOINED RICHMOND VALE ACADEMY (RVA) I am very aware of what we are doing to our planet. We need to do something about it;...
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Third Industrial Revolution: The Digital Revolution

[caption id="attachment_5786" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia The third Industrial Revolution —or Digital Revolution— refers to the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to the digital electronics we use today. In the last four decades, the use of digital computers has become commonplace and the appearance of the Internet connected the world. If anything, the third Industrial Revolution is as extraordinary as it is normal . Firstly, it is part of the incessable modernization and reinvention process that defines the human race. Secondly, in the last two decades, information and communication technologies have taken tremendous steps forward. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to imagine not having access to an infinite information database, or a quick video call with a dear friend. We have smartphones, houses and cars. The third Industrial Revolution has essentially changed how we behave, think, communicate, work and earn our livelihoods. Let's see how this wave of technological innovation has shaped the world as we live it today. SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: PRESENT AND FUTURE Great Recession [caption id="attachment_5779" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Britannica It started with the crash in US housing prices. This event nearly led to the collapse of the global economy and generated major social displacement throughout world societies. Some of its effects still persist: High unemployment rates in US and Europe. Record youth unemployment across...
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Effects of Poverty on Behavior and Academic Performance

[caption id="attachment_5760" align="alignleft" width="300"] The effects of poverty on behavior and academic performance can be insidious and devastating. - Photo Credit: Wikipedia People have long argued that the way out of poverty is to provide the poor with the economic means to overcome their situation. However, this solution is rooted on a very simplistic view of a problem with multiple complex causes. Poverty places people at a disadvantage that is not only environmental, but also physical and psychological. It affects people's health, how they interact with each other and how they react to external stimuli. It even affects how and why they prioritize certain things, and their academic performance. These factors contribute to the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty in individuals, families, communities and countries. Hence why, money can only have long-term effects in poverty alleviation if policymakers tackle the socioeconomic, physical and psychological components of this issue in tandem. In recent decades, wealth and income inequality between the rich and poor has exacerbated. Among other things, this viciously limits the opportunities available to certain sectors of the population; thus increasing social disparities and tension between groups. As Sawhill (2003) points out, "not only does behavior matter, it matters more than it used to" . However, what this author fails to point out is that behavior is not entirely a result of an individual's own...
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Carbon Neutral Energy

With ever-growing energy needs in the world, we strive to leave as small a carbon footprint on the Earth as we can. Living in a boarding school which can house up to 75 people at one time, we came to appreciate how every small electrical device contributes to our collective energy spending. In becoming a climate compliant community we are currently in the process of switching into renewable energy sources. We research and experiment with different ways of producing the energy in our small island reality. We come up with affordable solutions which can be replicated in St. Vincent households, using locally available materials. We apply for grants and transform our school into a model climate centre where we lead by example. We are still at the beginning of our road to switch to carbon neutral energy, but we already have several working solutions in place, which we are constantly improving. Biogas We have started our transition to carbon neutral energy by constructing a small biogas plant, a system which transforms household waste into usable methane. The main part of the system is a called a digester. It’s a large black tank filled with bacteria that digest organic waste and convert it into methane gas. We feed the biogas plant with a mixture of domestic organic and kitchen waste, like fruit and vegetable waste, with other organic...
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Emergency Relief

I once again express our appreciation to you and your volunteers for your significant contribution to our pipeline reconstruction efforts in North Leeward. Garth Saunders Head of CWSA/SWMU As a student in the conference you need to be prepared to do whatever is needed when disaster strikes. We are in the world’s most disaster prone area and we will do what it takes to support our communities when it is in need. This is in fact a privilege, to be able to help where and when it is most needed. As many Vincentians geared up for what is usually considered the happiest, most festive time of the year, a disaster struck. Torrential rains from a trough system caused flooding, landslides and damage to housing and infrastructure in St Vincent on the 24 th of December 2013. The landslides caused massive damage, the airport closed, many towns were flooded, hundreds of people lost their homes and livestock. Many were injured and several people lost their lives. In the North Leeward the resources damaged or lost included electricity, roads, bridges and the precious commodity – water. Landslides damaged the water pipelines and 50,000 people were left without access to water. The Climate Compliance Conference and everyone at Richmond Vale Academy worked tirelessly to help restore the water pipelines in North Leeward, together with the Central Water and Sewage...
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Food and Water

At Richmond Vale Academy we aim to produce as much of our own food as possible. This way we can always be sure that our fruits and vegetables are fresh, free of pollutants and grown with love! [embed]
[/embed] We have an organic garden where we hold lessons for interested farmers and youngsters. Everyone at the academy are farmers and do their turns in the food production, whether it’s improving the water collection system, moving the chicken tractors, collecting eggs, turning the compost, harvesting fruits, producing delicious jam or making a salad for lunch. We are self-sufficient with most fruits and meat, and we produce 50% of our own vegetables and herbs. Most of the vegetables that we don’t currently grow are bought locally, from neighboring farmers. So far, more than 1,000 people have visited our model garden, received lessons and inspiration for a more sustainable, low-carbon and high-biodiversity way of farming. The Climate Compliance Conference participants help other organic gardens in St. Vincent like the Chatoyer Garden in the Vermont Valley, the IRM Urban Garden in Villa Flat, The Rose Hall Organic Garden, The Fitz Hughes Preschool garden and the Belle Isle Correctional Facility garden. We also harvest rainwater for most of our needs, and recycle the gray water for plants. It is very important to us to stay healthy and keep our planet clean, that’s...
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Public Awareness

Since the start of the Climate Compliance Conference, a big focus has been placed on environmental education. This type of education opens a whole new door of thinking and facilitates questions such as, what is Global Warming and Climate Change, how can we the people get involved, and what are the solutions to dealing with important contemporary issues. Hundreds of lessons have been taught across the islands in preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, technical schools, correctional facilities, Rotary & Lions Clubs, churches, business groups, youth groups, community groups, and to farmers. Several Radio and TV stations have aired programs about the reasons for climate change and newspapers and magazines have published a number of articles. Twice a year we publish our own newspaper with tips on sustainable living, voices from Vincentians on climate-related issues and interviews with professionals about the impact of climate change on our small island nation. Articles and programs on Climate Compliance in St. Vincent have been published and broadcast in several countries in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. Thousands of visitors have been to the Academy over the years, taking tours of our organic garden and observing our self-sustainable lifestyles. We have given numerous tours to single people and organized groups, during big events like the annual Earth Day and whenever we have visitors: schools, activists and tourists. We are...
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Farming in St. Vincent: Tearing Up the Environment - By Ammon

I went on an investigation with my team to learn about the farming in St. Vincent. We visited many people and gathered heaps of interesting information about agriculture, history, permaculture and people. When it comes to St. Vincent, I would argue that agriculture is the single most important industry in the country. However, it doesn't get much attention from investors, due to a number of different factors. ST. VINCENT'S GEOGRAPHY: AN OBSTACLE TO COLONIZATION AND INDUSTRIAL FARMING [caption id="attachment_5701" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: ARRL.org St. Vincent is a volcanic island, meaning that it has steep slopes and a multitude of ridges. These characteristics have truly shape the history of the island and its agriculture. Let's see how. The mountainous nature of the island made it extremely difficult to colonize during the surge of European imperialism. The same was not true for other islands, such as Barbados, whose flat geography became an obstacle when locals tried to resist colonization. Today, the steep ridges of St. Vincent make industrial farming impossible, because machines need flat land to work efficiently. FARMING IN ST. VINCENT: RECENT CHANGES Along with these factors, the St. Vincent farming industry has undergone some major changes in the last 30 years. These changes changed the landscape for present and future generations of farmers. The "Land Reform Program" of the 1980s and the 1990s changed the...
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Research and Studies

The global temperature is rising and the climate is changing, this we know is incontrovertible. There are, however, many things which we still don’t know and we admit to it freely. That’s why here, at Richmond Vale Academy, everybody strives to learn something new all the time, furthering our understanding of sciences, biology and sociology. We treat learning as a lifelong process and regularly hold morning assemblies where teachers and students alike share their knowledge with the rest of the academy. Whenever possible, we invite specialists in their fields or make study trips to investigate different ways of dealing with environmental, agricultural, and social issues. We learn from our Vincentian neighbours and friends, as well as from foreign journals and books. A few times per year we hold an Open Day at the academy, during which the teachers, students and guests exchange their knowledge and experiences with each other. Theoretical Studies at the Academy During the six months program of the Climate Compliance Conference we study and research, teachers give courses, and guest speakers are invited. You can expect to study from books and research, papers by scientists and laymen, the signs from observations of weather patterns, ecosystems, ocean temperatures and the atmosphere. Once you’ve left Richmond Vale Academy you will have learned about the causes of climate change, the effects it has – mostly on...
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Stopping Pollution

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Native American Proverb Although it’s not easily seen, we have a huge global problem with trash. Humans produce incredible amounts of trash, and only a fraction of it is recycled. It is not uncommon for the wealthy countries to export their waste to be stored in the poorer ones, so the nations who consume the least actually have the highest trash pollution! We have even started to pollute the Earth’s orbit. As much as 50% of plastic-made products are only used once, and according to our current knowledge, plastic takes at least 500 years to decompose. Recycling is costly and doesn’t apply to every product. It seems that the best way to limit pollution is to limit our consumption and re-use. In Richmond Vale Academy we re-use most of our trash. We have several bins in different places around the campus to collect kitchen waste (two kinds: for the pigs to eat and for feeding our compost / biogas plant), paper and cardboard to be used in the garden, glass jars and bottles to store our delicious home-made preserves, and plastics which we use in different arts & crafts projects with the kids. Unwanted clothes go into a pile from which everybody can choose something “new” for themselves. This way we...
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Planting Trees

If every university on Earth was destroyed we would lose nothing. If we lose the forests, we will have lost everything Bill Mollison In St. Vincent We Plant Trees! Tree planting actions and awareness campaigns are an important part of RVA’s curriculum. We partner with many different stakeholders in order to plant the most beneficial trees in several different projects. We plant shade trees with schools, fruit trees in communities, give away moringa seedlings for personal backyards, plant mangroves on beaches. Why? Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen that we breathe. One tree produces enough oxygen for four people to breathe. Their powerful roots stabilize the banks, preventing landslides and soil erosion; mangroves protect the wetlands, an important part of our ecosystem. Trees form a barrier against winds and regulate the temperature and humidity levels. They provide shade for people and crops, so important in tropical climate. As part of a bigger ecosystem, trees provide food and shelter for many different animals. Fast-growing trees ensure a good building material, while others give us tasty and healthy snacks! Planting 10 000 trees in disaster areas On the 24 th of December 2013 a terrible natural disaster occurred in St. Vincent when torrential rains caused massive floodings and landslides, leaving thousands of people without shelter. After helping with the initial repairs and clean ups, the activists from Richmond...
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Ammon's Experience at RVA

I have lived at Richmond Vale Academy, on the Island of Saint Vincent, for about three and a half months. Myself and two other people started the Fighting Poverty program at the beginning of April 2016. The program lasts 18 months and is full of outstanding experiences. These range from a week-long Agricultural Investigation, to planting trees, to teaching people how to work the garden and kitchen for common action. You can read plenty about these experiences on our blog . However, what I really want to tell you about is the first period of the Fighting with the Poor program. MY EXPERIENCE IN THE FIGHTING POVERTY PROGRAM The first six months of this program are the study period. In the Fighting Poverty program, we devote a decent amount of time to our studies. If you take them seriously, the study and research you do will give you a perspective that can't be bought or sold. During the first three months, we focus on the Contemporary World. In this unit, we study how society became what it is now and why it favors some while neglecting others. The Contemporary Studies earn us credits at One World University. Their main purpose, though, is to prepare us for our Service Period . They give us the knowledge and tools to contextualize the difficulties people face in developed and...
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NEWS: Greenland's Melting Rate Has Tripled

What happens if the world warms up by 2°C? That seems to be the trillion dollar question everyone is asking. However, much smaller increments in temperature have already caused mayhem, as shown by Greenland this year. [caption id="attachment_5647" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Greenland's melt in 2012 - Photo Credit: Flickr Greenland's melt rates have increased over the years, but recent research shows that they might be faster than anticipated. The region lost 1 trillion tonnes of ice between 2011 and 2014, and scientists say it lost 9 trillion tonnes in the last century, most of which come from just five glaciers. Greenland could cause a rise in sea level of over six meters, were it to melt entirely. It is thought that this will happen over the next 140 years at this rate, with irreversible melting happening at temperatures 1.22°C above pre-industrial era. Read the full article, as published on The Independent , below: GREEN LAND LOSES A TRILLION TONNES OF ICE IN FOUR YEARS AS MELTING RATES TRIPLE Las century, Greenland's ice sheet lost about 90 billion tonnes a year, but this has now increased to 269 billion tonnes a year It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble — but now, new research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study , published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters...
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Second Industrial Revolution: The Technological Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution was another great leap forward in technology and society. New innovations in steel production, petroleum and electricity led to the introduction of public automobiles and airplanes. You wanna know how everything began? Let's see The Second Industrial Revolution, which began in the middle of 19th century (1850-1970). It was a period of growth for pre-existing industries and expansion of new ones; such as the steel, oil and electricity fields. The development of new technologies led to the introduction of two things that would change the world: public transport and planes. [caption id="attachment_5604" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Industryweek.com The Second Industrial Revolution enabled globalization and created a rough draft of our world today. Interesting, right? Let's take a look at what people invented during this period and how it affected mankind. A REVOLUTION FULL OF INVENTIONS During the Second Industrial Revolution, the existing manufacturing and production methods were improve. For instance, steel replaced iron in the building business. It was strong and it was cheap. So, it made possible to build rail lines at competitive cost and spread transportation. Steel also facilitated the construction of ships, skyscrapers and larger bridges. [caption id="attachment_5605" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Steel displaced iron because it was stronger and cheaper - Photo Credit: Amazonaws Although the Second Industrial Revolution happened just a few years after the first Industrial Revolution, it was...
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Learning the Language of Horses

Johnny's Journey I want to thank you for the opportunity of learning the language of horses. My experience with horses was an amazing one. It was full of knowledge, patience, control and observation. It was thrilling from the start, because it is about connecting —in a deep and very spiritual way— with another form of life. Learning the language of horses was very similar to learning any other language, like Portuguese or English. I completely forgot that I was learning how to comunicate with another species and just started to understand the horse's language. [gallery type="slideshow" size="full" ids="5585,5586,5587,5588,5589,5590,5591,5592,5593" orderby="rand"] Horses, and any other form of life, communicate with their body. Understanding their language is trying to make sense out of their expressions. How they move their ears or what they are looking at; how they move. Every detail says something. It is very much like people! Words only make up 10% of our communication. Our bodies speak for us 70% of the time and the remaining 20% goes with how we say things, rather than what we say. I now understand the depth of the horses' language and why I felt so comfortable with them. Connecting with the horse in his language is very pure. You need not to pay attention to words or how they are being said, but just how the body moves. Horses...
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What are the 12 Permaculture Principles after all?

[caption id="attachment_5578" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Geograph.uk Permaculture is men's way of acknowledging the wiseness of Mother Nature. It consists in simulating the natural processes of ecosystems in controlled environments to make the latter self-sustaining. Over the years permaculture has revolutionized how people see, use and interact with nature. It is truly a culture; and features certain ethical aspects which are key to its survival. This ethical base consists of three pillars: earth care, people care and fair share, which form the foundation for permaculture design. A set of 12 permaculture principles has been modeled after these ethics, to help people regulate self-interest and ensure long-term cultural and biological survival. Read on for these 12 permaculture principles that will give you a better understanding of this life philosophy. THE 12 PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES [caption id="attachment_5427" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Based on the three ethical principles of permaculture, a list of 12 permaculture principles were developed to guide new and old practitioners OBSERVE AND INTERACT The first of the permaculture principles promotes a deeper understanding of earth care. [caption id="attachment_5577" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Permaculture depends on the understanding you have of your garden and the local conditions. Timberpress.com recommends devoting an entire year to observing your garden and the influence nature has on it. At the end of this year, you will understand the changing microclimates of your...
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The Dummies' Guide to Industrial Revolution

We live in the era of change. Every year, we discover and invent new, marvelous things in every possible field. We have developed new fabrics, new agriculture techniques, means of travel, medical procedures and so on and so forth. It seems like we can improve everything, and if not, we create something anew! What a brilliant time to be alive. But it wasn't always like this. In fact, how we live now is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. Let's see how. [caption id="attachment_5558" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: KidsKonnect LIFE IN THE PRE-INDUSTRIAL ERA Source: Pre-industrial Society Throughout pre-industrial history, people did everything by hand. They helped themselves by using some basic mechanisms and tools, but the bulk of their effort relied on their shoulders. This remained unchanged for centuries. In fact, the lives of English peasants in 1750 was hardly different from the lives of their ancestors! Rural families mixed work with social life, as they lived in small plots of land. They grew crops for home consumption and tended to farm animals with the same purpose. Before the Industrial Revolution, commoners led an agrarian lifestyle. They thought God made humans sick to purify their souls. Pre-industrial folks had no healthcare, no education and no hygiene. They were also dying. A lot. [caption id="attachment_5556" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty, war, plague and poor hygiene...
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NEWS: What Africa's Drought Responses Are Teaching Us

Some parts of the world have been able to undergo climate change with relatively little damage. Others, such as the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia, are already feelings its full-blown effects. [caption id="attachment_5504" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Namibia and Botswana are two of the many countries in the arid regions of Asia and Africa that are facing the full-blown effects of climate change. They chose to act on them - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Countries like Namibia and Botswana are pioneers in battling the effects of climate change . These countries are facing now what could become the new normal for the world in a few years time. So what do we do? We listen, we analyze and we learn. The unique socio-political and environmental circumstances of Namibia and Botswana have only been worsened by climate change. This calls for effective, long-lasting solutions. Both countries are involved in the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project. THe ASSAR initiative focuses on minimizing vulnerability and developing adaptation responses mainly through vulnerability and risk assessment workshops. In these workshops, people from all walks of life identify the issues and hazards of most concern and generate adequate responses. Read the entire article from The Wire below: WHAT AFRICA'S DROUGHT RESPONSES TEACH US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE HOTSPOTS The world may still argue about whether or not climate change is for real....
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List of Developing Countries in 2016

Developing countries is an umbrella term —with no universal definition— for low and middle-income countries with lower industrialization and human development rates than other —developed— countries. [caption id="attachment_5495" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The term developing countries is problematic because it disregards the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Due to widespread acceptace of the term, especially by official statistics, this article lists low-income and lower-middle income economies (World Bank) as developing countries - Photo Credit: Flickr DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: DEFINITION AND PROBLEMATIC NATURE Developing countries are typically defined through their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year. A definition by the World Bank (2013) lists them as countries with a GNI of $11,905 or less. However, the use of this term is highly problematic and is being challenged today. In fact, some organizations — the World Bank included — have discarded it from their data vocabulary. The main reason is that using this term and parameter to group countries together ignores the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Further motives include the implication of inferiority of “developing countries” in comparison to “developed ones” and the use of a Western definition for development some countries do not identify with.  Moreover, the term “developing countries” suggests mobility, which is not an accurate depiction of some economies, namely those of the African countries devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. [caption id="attachment_5496" align="aligncenter"...
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