Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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
  
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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,...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

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]
Richmond Vale

Do you know this numbers?

Do you know this numbers?
  2°C 565 Gigatons 2795 Gigatons Do you know this numbers? For us and our future generations it is very important to know about it. Our climate changes very fast, faster than we want to be true.  To explain the numbers I have to start with a calculation: In all medias we can read about CO2 and that we have to reduce the CO2 emission. But first we have to know how much is too much? Jim Hansen and his Team at NASA studied exactly this and published which said, that we don’t know enough to know how much is too much. However any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350ppm is not compatible with the planet on which civilisation developed and to which life on earth is adapted. But 2013 we already had 395ppm CO2 and it is rising around 2 points every year. Everything frozen on earth is melting and the result is: - The great ice sheet of the arctic is reduced by more than the half- The oceans are about 30% more acidic than they were 30 years ago- The atmosphere is about 5% wetter than it was 40 years ago We have burned enough coal, gas and oil to raise the temperature of the earth one degree.  Now to the numbers... 2° C That’s how much the world has...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

Why start organic gardening

Why start organic gardening
People start organic farming for a lot of reasons, as a hobby, a way to eat healthier, to reduce their grocery spending, to earn extra income, etc. There are also many people (like myself) who do it for philosophical reasons as part of a value system. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy my work in the garden or on the farm, it's tiring and in my case there is quite a bit of trial and error, but I do genuinely enjoy it. Which I guess is lucky for me because my reasons for doing it would have me out working with the plants regardless. Now I’m not going to go on a sustainability rant or try to convince you that the ideologies to which I subscribe are right for everyone. The purpose of this post is to try to put organic gardening into a big picture perspective, because I feel that looking at it in that way not only enhances its value, and the fulfillment that we can get from it, but also it can increase our yields and reduce the amount of work that we have to do.   I guess that to begin it would be worthwhile to define “organic”, because it's a termthat is subject to interpretation. In the commercial world it simply means non chemical, which in my opinion isn’t...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

Carbon Footprint 101: How to Calculate it and Reduce it

Carbon Footprint 101: How to Calculate it and Reduce it
Carbon footprint is one of those terms that has gradually — over the last 10 years or so — moved its way from the obscurity into everyday conversation. But what, exactly, does it mean? What is a carbon footprint, how can you measure yours, and how can a carbon footprint be reduced? The term carbon footprint is defined as the amount of carbon (usually in tonnes) being emitted by an organization, event, product or individual directly or indirectly. Everyone’s carbon footprint is different depending on their location, habits and personal choices. Each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) either by the way we travel, the food we eat, the amount of electricity we consume and much more. However, there are people, organizations, nonprofit institutions (like Richmond Vale Academy ) and even local governments who have begun talking about the carbon footprint and motivating each other to put in place programs to reduce their carbon footprint, like our Climate Change Activist Program . Click here to go straight to how to calculate it Click here to go straight to how to reduce it What are Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Greenhouse gases are a group of gases that are able to trap heat (longwave radiation) in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth's surface warmer than it would be if...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

The Caribbean produce less than 0.1% of the global pollution

The Caribbean produce less than 0.1% of the global pollution
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Thursday championed the cause of Caribbean and other Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), which he said are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Addressing the 72nd session of the United Nation General Assembly, the Antigua and Barbuda leader noted that whatever position and nation takes on climate change, the evidence of global warming is now irrefutably stronger. “Two Category 5 hurricanes within 12 days, that unrelentingly pounded so many countries, can no longer be dismissed as ‘the vagaries of the weather’, nor can they be explained as ‘nature’s doing’. Hurricanes are stronger and bigger because they are absorbing moisture from increasingly warmer seas, caused by global warming,” Browne said. “And, that is a man-made phenomenon, whose manufacture is attributable to those nations, that consume 80 percent or more of the world’s primary energy, emitting dangerous levels of pollution into the atmosphere.” The prime minister outline how on September 6, Antigua and Barbuda was the victim of the ferocity of Hurricane Irma, the largest storm ever endured in the Atlantic in human history. He reiterated that Barbuda, the smaller of the two islands, was decimated; its entire population left homeless; and its buildings reduced to empty shells. Antigua and Barbuda was spared the full blast of Hurricane Maria just nine days later, although, Browne said sustained...
Continue reading
Richmond Vale

The New Climate Compliance Conference Book is out

The New Climate Compliance Conference Book is out
Dear Friends! We are very happy to share with you the new Climate Compliance Conference Book ! From the introduction; Believing that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate, irrespective of their circumstances, the CCC program works with a diverse range of stakeholders ranging across cultural, social and economic boundaries. Participating members include local community and family members, international volunteers, community organisations, institutions as well as government bodies. During these first five years, the CCC has impacted upon the lives of 50.000 people in Saint Vincent and abroad. This program has been the platform of need, from which a springboard of hope has been built; to enable and empower several groups and communities. People have dived into action for positive climate change, from 2012 to 2016: 25.000 trees have been planted. Farmers have been supported by using more sustainable agriculture techniques. 15.000 students across SVG have been taught hundreds of lessons. 20.000 climate compliance newspapers have been produced and distributed. Furthermore, lessons on global warming and climate change have been given to 3.000 people visiting the Academy and to another 5.000 students and teachers at universities and colleges in Colombia, Guyana, Costa Rica, USA, England, Germany, Denmark, Norway, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Jamaica. It is, therefore, because of our dedication to climate change adaptation that we have chosen to celebrate our achievements and to...
Continue reading