Richmond Vale

New Video by the March Team!

In the beginning ofMarch a new Climate Compliance Team started and here is one of their first movies, put together by Simon. Enjoy!
Richmond Vale

Shoulder to Shoulder

Development Instructors in The Fighting with The Poor Program at Richmond Vale Academy have the opportunity to work in the the HPP Child Aid Project in Belize.  The idea with the Child Aid project is to fight poverty hand in hand with the people of Toledo District and secure that every child can grow up to his or her fullest potential. The project will build capacity in the people in the project. The families will work with activities within 10 lines. 1,000 families will be reached directly through their enrollment in the project and many more will be reached through common activities via the schools, open days and activities in the communities. Child Aid Toledo was launched in December 2007. Together with a dedicated staff and local and international volunteers many activities have taken place since then. The main activities have been establishment of youth clubs, construction of latrines, implementation of income generating activities, planting Moringa trees, raising chickens, organic vegetable gardens, implementation of cacao and coffee organic farming, women groups with activities to produce pineapple jam, rugs and craft, HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, construction of firewood saving stoves, Global warning courses and much more. The Project’s situation Belize’s population is estimated as being approximately 324,000. Belize’s small private enterprise economy is highly dependent on commodity exports, tourism, and increasingly on petroleum since an oilfield discovery in...
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Discovering the best of myself!

Discovering the best of myself!
Richmond Vale Academy is "Another Kind of School" where adults gather to become enlightened and inspired, gain knowledge and become ready for action. Our school operate as a base for personal enlightenment, for general and specific knowledge such as organic farming, global warming, climate change and as inspiration to take action and march into the Open Future. Participants join for 1, 6 or 18 months and all are involved with The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference 2012 - 2021. The Idea of The 10 year standing action conference is that teachers, students and the people of St. Vincent make our island more Climate Compliant. Climate Compliant means to be ready for climate change and become food, water and energy secure. Now this certainly is a challenge! With the first team in 2012, we started studying about global warming and climate change and realized the size of one of the big issues the world has ever faced. Programs in Another Kind of School combine studies, research and actions in different periods and Three hundred students from fifty different countries already joined the program. By now thousands of trees have been planted, tons of trash removed from beaches and streets, biogas introduced in family homes and right now we're in the middle of setting up 200 sustainable home gardens. By the end of 2018 the first 30 home...
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Care for the earth and an equal share

I had the privilege to participate in the 10 day permaculture course held in RVA. I expected us to learn about farming and garden design and how they can be done in a more sustainable and ecological way, but it turned out that there’s a lot more to permaculture than that. The concept permaculture comes from the words permanent and agriculture, but it means more than just agricultural redesign. Permaculture is a philosophy, a way of thinking and doing, a set of principles and a way of life. Permaculture is a multidisciplinary approach, that defies strict boundaries and it covers many aspects of life. It’s not just about designing our food production according to ecological principles, but about designing societies so that the people in it are in sync with the surrounding nature. Permaculture principles can be applied anywhere in the world because they take into consideration the local nature and its challenges or rather possibilities. Permaculture is the opposite of monoculture and chemical agriculture and should regenerate the soil rather than deplete it. In our lessons we started from the basics: how the earth was formed, what the soil is made of, what plants and other lifeforms need to succeed and how the cycle of life works in our forests and sees. Then we looked at what human actions have done to the planet in...
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Permaculture Ethics and Principles (A life Example) - by Heather

Permaculture Ethics and Principles (A life Example) - by Heather
When I first heard about permaculture, I didn't really have a concept of what it was. I knew that it was something to do with the garden and producing your own food, I knew it was organic and based around sustainability, it was a little alternative and out there on the edge (Principle 11: Use Edges and Value the Marginal). In the last 10 days, I have been able to take part in a Permaculture Design course and what a journey it was! I now know that there is so much more to permaculture, it is not just gardening or agriculture, it is actually a way of life and a willingness to be aware of the life we are creating. The word Permaculture came from the concept of 'permanent' and 'agriculture' and focused around making our farming practices not only sustainable but regenerative. The code of ethics that is followed is care for the earth, care for the people and fair share. Care for the earth looks at everything from what we put into and take out of the land including all the plant and animal species and the most important thing, soil! When we talk about care for people we are thinking about the idea of everyone being treated with respect and care and love that they deserve. Fair share is in all things, if...
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Maria, Latvia: RVA is a place you can make a real impact

Maria, Latvia: RVA is a place you can make a real impact
My name is Maria. I am from Latvia. Richmond Vale Academy is not about theoretical exercises. It is a place where you can make a real impact. The six months teams are focusing on building home gardens for local families. It is really possible to make a change in peoples lives. Gardens are an important step towards self-sustainability, self-sufficiency and adapting to global climate change. Long time ago people called St. Vincent: “The Land of Blessed”. It is true. This place is magical: rainbows almost every day, fireflies, hummingbirds, diverse marine life, breath-taking views. My 18 months FWP team was so blessed to participate in the Permaculture Design course . I am very grateful for this chance. We have an amazing teacher Leon-C. Malan who is not only professional in permaculture, but also a very good teacher. He gave us a very good theoretical base, awaking enthusiasm in things which at first might sound boring. If before coming here somebody had told me that I would be interested in watching videos about soil and compost in my free time, I wouldn’t believe it. Permaculture reminded me about connecting with the Earth, and this place made me really curious and passionate about the environment and gardening. As our final product we will design a home garden project based on permaculture principles. The most overwhelming part is that...
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Heather: What does it mean to be 'Poor'?

Heather: What does it mean to be 'Poor'?
I have been lucky enough in my life to have travelled and lived in many different countries and worked with many different organisations. I have seen poverty in every place that I have been, whether it was in my own country, Scotland or where I am living now in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. When I look at it, being poor has a different meaning dependent on where you are, but the feeling is the same no matter where you go. According to the United Nations, poverty is fundamentally 'a violation of human dignity'. It is, I feel the best way of explaining both how and why people are poor and how our perceptions of people can create poverty. [caption id="attachment_12129" align="alignleft" width="300"] Heather: Let's share all we have! When I was young, before my concept of rich and poor was formed, I went to school in an area that was considered to be 'poor' by Scottish standards. I saw children at school that had clothes with holes in them and who came to school in non-matching shoes. I didn't know what this meant until I was a lot older because as a child you don't appreciate the difference between you and your peers. When we create the difference, the us and them, that is when we take away a level of dignity. In Edinburgh, I...
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Richmond Vale

John: One month with the Climate Compliance Conference

John: One month with the Climate Compliance Conference
RVA Climate Compliance: 1 month programme evaluation Expectations: From attending the 1 month Climate Compliance programme at RVA I hoped to learn about Permaculture in relation to sustainable farming. I wanted to see how it works in practice, getting to grips with the day to day management of the farm and gardens, whilst picking up new ideas and developing skills. I also hoped to live a healthier lifestyle and perhaps even get myself fit. Courses & Studies Morning classes I found some of the one hour morning classes to be very useful sources of information and learning. Highlights were those on Agroforestery, Soil Structure and Solar Panels. Documentaries – documentary evenings provided opportunity to watch material selected from the wider RVA community within a focused environment. It was good to discuss the subjects afterwards, and take on board diverse insights and opinions. Effects of Climate Change Tour – perhaps the most poignant element of the course was this tour of places and people suffering recent extremities of weather. People were forthcoming with their views once they got going highlighting education and sustainable living as improvements to be made. Climate Compliance practical actions  Solar Dryer We constructed a solar dryer which we presented this to the RVA community and to the wider community on the RVA open day for which we made flyers alongside a variety of...
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Magdy from Mexico: Do what you can

Magdy from Mexico: Do what you can
In this past year I have been studying and learning about the causes of poverty and what can I do to make this world a better place. I think is possible to change the world, we can change our world! There are many places, people we all can help in our own countries; there many organizations that are trying to make a difference but they need people who want to work and see a change like "If you want something well done you have to do it your self". There are many ways and ideas of how you can help but everything comes down to do what is NEEDED. You can start little with your neighborhood your city or you can go and travel and participate with different organization. I have been a volunteer almost all my life, my parents were missionaries and since I was a child I was there to help my brother or sister when needed. I remember thinking as a child and wondering why more people don’t participate in helping. Why? We all want a better world for us and our children so why don't more people participate in changing the world to the one we want! You only need to take the decision that you want to help, it can be big or can be small it doesn’t matter. Just be...
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A view from Above!

A view from Above!
We are excited to share with the first drone videos where you can see The Richmond Vale Academy and our Garden Farm from above. Thanks to Ken from Bridges from Prosperity's great images! Enjoy! Richmond Vale Academy
Our Garden Farm
  
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An Open Letter for an Open Future

An Open Letter for an Open Future
Dear all, We wish you a very Happy New Year and like to share an article from a subject that the  18 months Fighting with The Poor Team study at Richmond Vale Academy . The concept of Open Future zooms in on the Future. Not the past, not the present, but the future. With lessons learnt from the past, we can influence the Future through the Present. The concept of Open Future consciously looks at the future as something that we can have an influence on, as something with possibilities, as something that we can take decisions about, something that we can plan for, as something that we can conquer. We want the Future and we want it without an end in sight. This is Open Future! The other future, the opposite one, we call the Closed Future, which is a future with an end. As a human society at large (as well as each one of us by him or herself), we do many things that support a Closed Future for Humanity – even though we don’t want to act like that. In those acts we don’t consciously consider the future as something with many different possibilities that we can pursue, but instead we consider it as something that is already decided. That is closed future. The concept of a closed future is omnipresent. It...
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Richmond Vale

Caribbean Leaders to Create World's First Climate Smart Zone

Caribbean Leaders to Create World's First Climate Smart Zone
With the right domestic and international reforms, the world can take climate change by the reins. The Caribbean will be home to the world’s first “climate start zone”, an initiative dedicated to the discovering new ways to break through the systemic obstacles that stall the flow of finances to climate-conscious investments. The announcement at the One Planet Summit in Paris Tuesday when the international assembly was called to discuss progress made since the signing of the Paris Agreement two years ago. The ambitious strategy centres around the belief that with the right domestic and international reforms, the world and the Caribbean can be weaned off its dependency on fossil fuels to adopt renewable sources. The plan will set the foundation for a US$8 billion investment plan to strengthen the Caribbean infrastructure for long-term resilience and transform 100 percent of the 3.2 million homes across the region to energy efficient households. “This is a great first step. Now we need to turn this possibility into a set of realities that benefit all our people,” said Grenada Prime Minister and CARICOM chair Keith Mitchell. “We all need to work together to change the rules of the game to accelerate climate-smart financial flows for the Caribbean and other small island developing states. Together we can build thriving economies fuelled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation. The time for...
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New Irrigation System at RVA

New Irrigation System at RVA
Our current period in the program is called “ Making RVA climate compliant ”. We split our team, my group was responsible for setting up a new irrigation system for our garden and especially the tree nursery. This is part of a project to plant 6,000 soursop trees in St. Vincent. Currently, rainwater for the garden is collected in a pond. From there, it is pumped up using electricity from the grid. We wanted to change this by using a solar pump. Now, when the sun is shining, the water gets pumped into an elevated tank. From there, it can be used whenever it is needed just by the gravity and without any additional energy. This makes the garden more self sufficient and independent from fossil fuels.   The first step was the planning. We made a general concept where we want to install each component and measured the distances for the pipes. Then we prepared a shopping list for all the materials required. After this, we started to dig trenches to lay down the pipes. Another task was to fix the pond. Every time it had rained a lot, the pond overflowed and the soil around was flushed away. We installed a new overflow, put the soil back and planted vetiver grass to stabilise the soil. A problem was finding a good tank with enough...
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Environmental Preservation- Synonimity with Social Justice

Environmental Preservation- Synonimity with Social Justice
Much of the focus of sustainability and environmentalism in recent years has shifted to raising awareness on Climate Change. Understandably so, since the rising temperatures we are currently facing are leading us to an equally exponential rise in disasters and a domino effect of damage that when at some point reached, might prove to be irreversible. There is much disagreement surrounding this kind of bold statement. The scientific studies and research is there however, for those brave enough to look. Regardless to how one feels about Climate Change: it’s a Hoax; environmentalists are sensationalist; the planet has always undergone different climatic ages. All fair points even. However, amongst both sides it could be of relevance to focus on a more present and more important message that opposing views might find a common ground through- How Environmental preservation and better resource management is extremely beneficial to human welfare and development , irrespective of whether Apocalypse is coming, now…or then. On many occasions I have had in response to the path I have chosen, the assumption made about me that I am a tree hugging; nature loving, hippie eco- warrior. Though some elements of this I can’t deny, especially when I’m frequently spotted in an embrace with a Willow or now in St Vincent a Mango or Bread Fruit, it’s not really actually the case. The reason why...
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St Vincent, God save the Queen!?

St Vincent, God save the Queen!?
It’s been only a few days since my arrival in St Vincent and the Grenadines . A few beautiful days were my eyes have been open to the beauty of nature and where already I have fully fallen for this charming island and its amazingly lovely inhabitants. A few qualms have already risen however, one in particular which holds coincidental synergies with what is happening back home in London. I reached into my pocket the other day to inspect the local currency. Notes usually give some clues about relevant facts on the local history and whilst I’m here I intent to also learn about this beautiful place. I was surprised however, to see the head of the queen smiling back at me and I joked- I’ve come all the way to the other side of the world, and still, I can’t escape this woman’s portrait. Now I’m no anti- royalist , I accept to some extent that the Royal family is part and parcel with British culture and  being originally Maltese I don’t see that I’m in the right position to contest that…at least within the UK. I then went on to discover that St Vincent is in fact a sovereign state and although it is in fact  considered  ‘Independent’, it is in actually Her Majesty’s Territory. According to Cahil: 'She is Queen of 32 countries,...
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A warm welcome

A warm welcome
So....I don´t know where to start, so much has happened, so I will probably best start by introducing myself: I am Tessa, 19 years old, from Germany and -yes, hard to believe when looking out of the window and seeing the blue ocean –  am currently at the Richmond Vale Academy on St. Vincent!   Richmond beach Another great thing I noticed first was that Stina and the other teachers are really passionate about the projects and making SVG climate compliant. I am really looking forward to working with these people and my team and I am sure I will learn so much in those 6 months – not only about environmental protection and organic gardening in our daily classes but also about living in and growing as a community. 
Of course you may think “It can´be perfect paradise, right?” and it isn´t, there are and will be daily challenges like no electricity or Wifi but we always try to find a solution or work around it. I don't think “perfect paradise” exists and that there will be always problems to work on but in the process of finding solutions to challenges make humans grow. 
So far I have the feeling that exciting but at the same time challenging 6 months lay ahead of me. By Tessa, November Climate Compliance Team
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Global warming as crime against Humanity by Jomo Thomas

Global warming as crime against Humanity by Jomo Thomas
Plan Talk, Nov. 1 2017 With increasing frequency, the Caribbean has been experiencing heavy rainfall, devastating floods, monster hurricanes, very hot days and nights as well as prolonged periods of droughts. So far this year, the region has witnessed two category 5 hurricanes that that wreak havoc in Dominica, Tortola, St Croix, BVI, Turks and Caicos, St Martin, and Cuba   In responding to this absolutely life changing, indeed existential threat, Professor Anthony Chen, speaking at a climate change forum hosted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, suggested that Jamaica should seek economic restitution from global polluters at the international Court of Justice (ICJ). It is a cause all Caribbean nations should embrace. As Dr Chen noted that the dangers and threat of global warning has been well established since the 1990s, but the countries responsible have not taken any significant steps to reduce greenhouse gases. The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accords and the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency is a global warming/climate change denier. No serious planner in the region can fail to factor the deadly issue in yearly if not daily or monthly brain storms. Towards the end of 2013, Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent experienced devastating storms. The Christmas Eve storm took 13 lives and caused more than $300 million in damage, about 17 percent of Gross...
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My experience working with Biogas

My experience working with Biogas
My experience in the biogas project was very interesting because it was the first time I heard about it. I learned a lot about biogas, how to build one and I can see biogas can change people's lives because people can save money by reducing cooking expenses by as much as 80%. Cooking is easier and quicker than cooking with charcoal or firewood, it reduces your household waste because the biogas system converts organic household waste, improves your house because you have a source of energy for cooking and it produces your own organic fertilizer and helps the environment. Biogas is made up of five sections: a mixing tank, inlet chamber, digester, and outlet chamber and last an overflow tank. Also biogas is made from food waste. Cow dung is the main source for a biogas digester as the bacteria in dung has more potential than others. The biogas is also the future of waste processing as 40% of the waste in the average rubbish bin is food waste and it's all going to landfills which pollutes the soil and other resources and create methane gas which contributes to climate change. So the digester not only diverts this but also creates useful output from the otherwise wasted food, gets energy and brings back valuable nutrients to the soil. Inside the digester tank is where the digester of the...
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Mi experiencia en RVA (Spanish & English Version) by Nelson Ramirez

Hola a todos! Acabo de iniciar mi experiencia en el programa impartido por RVA llamado “ Luchando contra la pobreza ”. Es mi tercer día en el centro de estudios y estoy gratamente sorprendido en varios aspectos:   1. La belleza natural que rodea la escuela es impresionante, estamos cerca de ríos, cascadas y del mar.  Al atardecer en la puesta del sol, se puede apreciar paisajes de una belleza única.                       2. Los temas que están propuestos en el programa son súper interesantes, muy actuales y el material de apoyo es muy completo. Este material de apoyo ha sido en su mayoría elaborado por los estudiantes y profesores de la escuela.   3. La diversidad cultural que se encuentra en la escuela hace muy enriquecedora esta experiencia (en el centro de estudios se encuentran más de 15 nacionalidades), adicionalmente la posibilidad de comunicarnos en el inglés como idioma común para todos hace que esta experiencia sea apropiada para aquellas personas que desean mejorar sus habilidades en el manejo del idioma inglés. Nelson Ramirez – Colombia English version   Hello everybody I am Nelson from Colombia, this week started my experience as a part of the team called “ Fighting with the poor ”. It is my third day at Richmond Vale Academy and really surprised for...
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Flashbacks to our first weeks – watch the video!

This video is a compilation of the different experiences we had during the first seven weeks in six-month climate compliance program. The collection includes among other things: Visit to animal production site Charcoal lecture Breadfruit festival face painting activities Visit to soil lab Hike to volcano Open day festivities Working on a home garden. Video was created by Mikel. Hope you enjoy it! [embed]https://youtu.be/_rbymk6sDtQ[/embed]