Richmond Vale

6 Causes of Water Pollution and How to Stop It INFOGRAPHIC

6 Causes of Water Pollution and How to Stop It INFOGRAPHIC
Over two thirds of the Earth's surface is covered by water. As Earth's population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet's water resources. In a sense, oceans, rivers, and other inland waters are being "squeezed" by human activities—not so they take up less room, but so their quality is reduced. Poorer water quality means water pollution. Pollution is a human problem because it is a relatively recent development in the planet's history: before the 19th century Industrial Revolution , people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment. As industrialization has spread around the globe, so the problem of pollution has spread with it. When Earth's population was much smaller, no one believe pollution would ever be a serious problem. It was once popularly believed that the oceans were far too big to be polluted. Today, with around 7 billion people on the planet, it has become apparent that there are limits. Pollution is one of the signs that humans have exceeded those limits. Causes of Water Pollution Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and makes up over 60% of the human body.  Water pollution affects marine ecosystems, wildlife health, and human well-being.  The answer to solving pollution is to make changes in our daily habits and pay more attention to the types of products you consume.   (Click infographic to...
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Renewable Energy: Everything you need to know

Renewable Energy: Everything you need to know
Renewable energy or green energy comes from resources that will be naturally replenish within a human timescale.   What does this mean? Well, simply put, renewable energy draws from an infinite bank of resources. Think of tides, sunlight, rain and the currents in rivers! They are not running out anytime soon, and unlike fossil fuels , using them does not entail major environmental risks. Historically, every time there has been an increase in oil prices, the world has turn its eyes towards renewable energy. After oil prices drop, however, things have gone back to business-as-usual. If renewable energy is the best option available why does this happen? Cost and a huge interest from big oil and chemical corporations to not make it happen, mainly. The infrastructure for drawing out and using fossil fuels is already there. This does not only entail complex oil refineries and coal-powered plants, but the electricity lines, gas pipes, etc. that make it possible for you and I to use these resources. The same is not true for renewable energy. Big corporations are already making profit from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, building the infrastructure for the production and use of renewable energy would take heaps of time and money. People who are in the money-making business have not interest in wasting these resources. TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY Most renewable energy comes either directly...
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6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World

6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World
Poverty is a social condition that is characterized by the lack of resources necessary for basic survival or necessary to meet a certain minimum level of living standards expected for the place where one lives. The income level that determines poverty is different from place to place, so social scientists believe that it is best defined by conditions of existence, like lack of access to food, clothing, and shelter. People in poverty typically experience persistent hunger or starvation, inadequate or absent education and health care, and are usually alienated from mainstream society. Poverty is a consequence of the uneven distribution of material resources and wealth on a global scale and within nations. Sociologists see it as a social condition of societies with unequal and inequitable distribution of income and wealth, and the exploitative effects of global capitalism. Causes of Poverty In the war against poverty it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of it; for only tackling the roots of the problem one can provide a final solution to it. This is especially useful to remember when considering that although poverty is a global issue, there is no blanket cause for it. Therefore, there is no common solution. The causes of poverty vary from one country to the other and are ascribed to their history, governance and the dynamics of society within it. However; when...
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11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic

11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic
A beautiful aspect of being human is that we have the power to change things that we don’t agree with — whether it is what’s in our food, how animals are treated in captivity, or inequality between genders or races. When you begin to take action to bring awareness to the causes you care about, you become an activist in the process. So, while the seemingly extreme actions mentioned above will definitely get you noticed, they are, by no means, essential for becoming an activist. All it takes to become an activist are passion, knowledge and the a desire to make a change. There are so many ways in which you can be activist for a better world; options are wide and open, everywhere in the world organizations -like Richmond Vale Academy - are looking for volunteers, people that are in need of help and there are causes in abundance to fight for. Reasons to Become an Activist  Becoming an activist for a better world is something that everyone have to do at least for a period in its  life. To step out of your regular and standardized life is not only of great social benefit, but offers so many benefits for your life. Here are 11 reasons why you should become an activist and help in big!! (Click infographic to enlarge .) Share this Image...
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Richmond Vale

9 benefits of crop rotation for the environment

9 benefits of crop rotation for the environment
The crop rotation is a thousand years old technique that has been proven to help the environment , improve the soil and so many other things. Crop Rotation This system is the practice of growing several dissimilar or different crop types (or no crop at all) in the same area and in sequential seasons. Historians believe that farmers in the Middle East already practiced crop rotation as early as 6,000 B.C, although they didn’t fully understand the science behind it. The logic behind crop rotation is when the same crop is grown at the same place for several years the soil is depleted of certain nutrients. [caption id="attachment_6471" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Example of crop rotation on a small-scale. Photo Credit: Wikipedia . Doing rotation, a crop that draws one kind of nutrient from the soil is followed during the consequent season by a crop that returns the nutrient to the soil or draws a distinct ratio of nutrients. Environmental benefits of the crop rotation Several problems begin to creep up when you don’t rotate crops. All these problems can lead to decreased yields over the course of several years. First, the land itself can become “tired” and less fertile. This is because if the same type of crop is planted in the same area, the plant will continue to drain same nutrients from the soil.. Second, certain...
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Rainwater Harvesting: 6 Ways to Save the planet!

Rainwater Harvesting: 6 Ways to Save the planet!
Rainwater Harvesting is one of the best methods to save money and help to protect and care for our planet, especially to avoid dependency on regular water supply system . But, what is a Rainwater Harvesting System? It is an innovative technique that is use to harvest rainwater from roofs and other above surfaces to be stored for later use. Rainwater harvesting have many uses, such: garden and crop irrigation, watering livestock, laundry, and flushing toilets. However, unless you establish a well purification system, you cannot use the harvest rainwater for showering, bathroom sink or kitchen because it’s not really fit for consumption. In a normal scenario the rainwater is collect from roof buildings and then store inside of a tank. The desing of rainwater harvesting systems is done after assessing site conditions that include rainfall pattern, incident rainfall, subsurface strata and their storage characteristics. Those in the city, can harvest and use rainwater, also, the people in more rural areas can use it too. Reasons for rainwater harvesting Water in the oceans and seas is not always drinkable water and little [caption id="attachment_10903" align="alignright" width="375"] Rooftop's rainwater harvesting linked to ground storage. Photo Credit: Gilbert García . of it can be directed to other purposes. So, there is a constant shortage of water that is either good for drinking or home and industrial use. Besides,...
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Richmond Vale

DIY: Reduce your Footprint! Part 1 by Annick

DIY: Reduce your Footprint! Part 1 by Annick
By Annick    Our way of living is largely contributing to climate change . On average, the ecological footprint of a US citizen is 9.0 gha meaning that this amount of land is needed to sustain one person in the US. It also means that 9.6 worlds would be needed to sustain the current population. Obviously, we only have one world. So how do we live? And how does this affect our footprint? Find out all about how you can reduce your footprint by reading my blog series in which I present every other week simple steps on a new topic. And guess what?, becoming more sustainable is more easy and fun than you would think. So stay posted! [caption id="attachment_10882" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The ecological footprint of several countries. Photo Source: The Green Market Oracle Blog 1: Food This week we will talk about food! Your diet can have a large footprint via multiple ways. Let’s find out how that works and what you can do! Livestock: how eating meat increases your footprint Let’s start with meat. The meat industry is recognized by the Food and agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) as one of the main contributers to GHG in the atmosphere . This has various reasons. First of all, eating meat is less efficient as a lot more land is needed to...
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My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon

My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon
By Ammon  During the last six months working as Development Instructor in Ecuador we have worked with Humana Pueblo a Pueblo on many different projects as well as our own personal projects as Development Instructors. We are here as a team of 3 DIs from Richmond Vale Academy as part of the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor program. During my time here as a development instructor I have worked in the Community of Opoluca which is part of the district Paltas or Catacocha. I have worked with Humana to develop organic home gardens, compost production, and organic pesticides as well as working with large garden parcels and distributing saplings and seeds to the families in Opoluca. I myself have also given English classes as well as various other classes in the school as well as my personal project of building water filters to recycle water for use in gardens. In the Barrio of Opoluca we work with 40 families in total. Around 30 of the families have organic gardens and the rest of the families either raise pigs or chickens. I only work directly with the gardens. We focus on making the gardens an integral part of the family’s everyday life and everyday diet. I focused on teaching the basics of seeding, planting and maintaining a garden. The families have knowledge about plants because...
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Richmond Vale

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)
Traditionally the lawn was a symbol of status in the Feudalism . Large expanses of lawn, meant that the farm had many sheep and many cattle. Americans have been obsess with lawns since the 1950s, but that way of thinking is changing. It's time to rethink and use our lawns better. [caption id="attachment_10844" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo credit: Pexels Keeping and caring for a lawn requires a staggering amount of energy. It uses a lot of water, uses valuable soil and the pesticides and petrochemicals used to fertilize the grass, filter and contaminate our groundwater. The typical American lawn uses 10,000 gallons of supplemental water (not including rainwater) annually. This a serious problem, especially as we see more and more areas facing water shortages and droughts. Here are some problems caused by lawn pesticides: They contaminate our water supply . A study from Virginia Tech found that most homeowners apply chemicals to their lawns in ways that pollute our drinking water. They create serious health risks for wildlife and pets . A 2013 study published in Science of the Total Environment found that dogs exposed to lawn care chemicals can have a higher risk of bladder cancer. They get into our homes and present health risks . They are correlated with increased risk of a variety of cancers, nervous system disorders, and other illnesses. Children get expose...
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Richmond Vale

The newest teenager climate activists - Vanessa

The newest teenager climate activists - Vanessa
By Vanessa One of the most challenging but enriching project we have taken here at Richmond Vale has been to be in charge of a 17days environmental education, climate change and biodiversity program, where 12 teenagers from Saint Vincent and 12 from England would have to come together to learn and make different actions in order to prevent against climate change . During this time our main goals were not just to create awareness about one of the biggest issue of our time among the new generations, but two bring two totally different cultures (one develop country and thus principal contributor to climate change, and one developing country and indeed one of the most affected country regarding climate change). History had also a very important role to play during this program since St. Vincent and the Grenadines was a British colony for over 20 year. The British had a huge impact in the island landscape but also in its culture. To see those kids coming together, joining strength within different group, exchanging culture and understanding each other was a beautiful process we all gained from. The first day during the course we witness 24 very shy and independent teenagers avoiding intercultural exchange and not so much confidence about themselves. Within 24h we could witness an enormous change in the way they present and the interactions among...
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The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Andrea

The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Andrea
By Andrea During the 18 months Fighting with The Poor Programs , students have the opportunity to learn about world history, the world of  today and also looking into future tendencies. One of the books recommended to read is Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" Shock is a word of French origin that means a collision. It refers to aviolent event that shakes up a person. In psychiatry, a shock is mental reaction to a traumatic event such as an accident, a very frightening or tragic situation. Such event may cause an acute stress reaction whereby a great amount of stress hormones are released by the action of the brain. These will prepare the person to flee or fight and can be useful if you suddenly meet a lion in the bush – but if a shock is very severe it may paralyze you so you become disoriented and even unable to remember what is happening because the brain goes into an emergency mode and do not function in a rational way. A severe mental shock may be deadly for people with heart problems who may suffer acute heart attack but even an otherwise healthy person may not survive a very severe shock. After World War I , where soldiers endured horrible battles in thetrenches of Europe it was observed that a great many soldiers suffered mental...
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Why we March against Monsanto

Why we March against Monsanto
The 19th of May we will march against Montsanto in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In St. Vincent many farmers, teachers and other people want to protect the island against the growing of Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs are created in a lab, by inserting a gene from one organism into another unrelated organism, producing plants and animals that would never occur in nature. No long-term safety studies have been done on humans, but animal studies link the consumption of GMOs to an increase in allergies, kidney and liver disease, ADHD, cancer, infertility, chronic immune disorders and more. Monsanto, Astra Zeneca, Du Pont, Novartis and Aventis, are some of the big food industry companies. They dedicate themselves to the commercialization of genetically modified agricultural products. They use policies on which the producers become dependent.The seeds sold by the companies are genetically modified. They speak of “seed protected from agrochemicals” that is developed from chemical products. A soy plant, for example, does not produce grains that can be used as seeds for the next season. Companies use this system to promote the sale of seeds and agrochemicals and to increase its lucrative potential through producer dependency. The producers remain trapped in a vicious cycle, totally dependent on these companies and the price policies they adopt. If the producer acquires seed through these companies he should secure fertilisers, insecticides,...
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Investigating the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary

Investigating the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary
My team recently went on an investigation trip to the Grenadine island of Bequia. While we were there we explored a number of areas that were relevant to our social and environmental interests. One of these places was the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. We had heard that the living conditions for the turtles at the sanctuary might be questionable. We decided to check it out and develop our own conclusions about the establishment’s legitimacy. What We Discovered   We drove all the way out to the Atlantic side of the island to visit the Turtle Sanctuary. This was an expensive cab right ($100 EC). We sort of already knew what to expect about the conditions of the sanctuary. These suspicions were indeed confirmed. We discovered the sanctuary is a privately owned, for-profit establishment. We, very regrettably, paid $60 EC for the 4 of us to enter. Inside we found a number of shallow concrete pools full of nothing but water and sea turtles. [caption id="attachment_10795" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The turtles are kept in shallow cement pools The sanctuary guide told us a story about how the sanctuary came to fruition. The owner’s father, who was in a shipwreck, was rescued by a fisherman who thought that the man was a flailing sea turtle. This inspired the owner’s fascination with the sea turtles and his desire to protect...
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My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon

My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon
Building Water Recycling filters in Ecuador   By Ammon  During the past six months working in a rural farming community in southern Ecuador I worked with many projects and working closely with many families. In the first three months I looked to see what projects that could really make a big difference in the community. Looking for what problems caused the biggest trouble and in what ways I could apply my own skills to work with the people here. Many of the rural communities where I was working consistently struggled with water shortages. The government has fairly reliable systems for distributing water but even when systems work perfectly stores of water can fall very low during the dry season. Many families pay for an extra service that is a couple dollars a month for the firefighters to deliver water by truck to overcome the water shortages. The main project that I worked on in this community was building small organic gardens with the families and teaching how to maintain them. One of the obvious parts of maintaining a garden is watering it. Many people where hesitant to seed and maintain their home gardens because they are worried that they will not have enough water for other household tasks such as washing dishes, and clothes, and even drinking water. Because transporting more water is already difficult one...
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Whaling in Bequia by Lilith

Whaling in Bequia by Lilith
By Lilith Bequia is one of the few places in the world where limited whaling is still allowed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Whaling started to become a part of the peoples lifes in Bequia when William Wallace, a Bequian with Scottish roots who had worked on North American whaling boats, returned to the island. He started training workers to hunt and kill whales and opened the first commercial whaling station in Bequia in 1875. Until today the fishers on the island are still allowed to take four whales per year, a very controversial topic. The IWC only allows whaling in very few countries who practice Aboriginal Substistence Whaling. Those countries have to fulfill specific requirements to be granted whaling. During the research on the island we did not only visit the Bequia Whaling & Maritime Museum where we learnt about the history of whaling, but also found ourselves at the fisherie in Paget Farm, where we talked to fishermen, whalers, and the first and second harpooneers. We were able to take a look at their boat and their harpoones to have a better understanding of how a hunt would look like. The harpoones and the boat looked so small next to the massive skull of a whale from one of the previous hunts. It's huge, almost as big as a standing person. We asked...
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Shape the garden – Shape the Future

Shape the garden – Shape the Future
Mandala Garden Project at Chateu Primary School by the Climate Team “Performance team”: that is how they call us. No matter what we take, eventually we will get the best out of it. After going through so much together, having so many discussions and inside jokes, we are unstoppable. Let me introduce you with our latest project in Saint Vincent. There is a school, up in the mountains called “Chateu primary school”. They decided that it would be nice to have a vegetable/fruits garden nearby. Thus, we are there to help to realize their idea. I would like to emphasize one more time that we are there as contributors rather than leaders. It feels good to be part of this project since children can benefit from it: the headmaster mentioned that gardening can be included into curriculum. Also, we are glad that after we leave the Richmond Vale Academy a living garden stays behind. The first step was to make a plan for the garden. Jorge and I came up with design for it. And after measuring the land, Vanessa made a precise scheme of it. The second step : decide on plants, trees and herbs we want to have there. As some humans, some plants go along better, flourish nearby others. For this reason, we have met with Luke, the master of organic gardening and...
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Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara
Welcome back! This is part 2 of a short blog series about my team’s tree planting project with several communities in Saint Vincent. In part 1 I described our focus on working with community groups rather than individuals or institutions. This time, I will delve a little deeper into this process. I will first describe how we came into contact with each community. Then I will outline our team goals for how we planned to work with them. Reaching out to the communities Reaching out to these community groups was in some cases very easy and in others more difficult. We wanted to first just have a meet and greet with each group. This was so that we could introduce ourselves and the project and learn about each group’s purpose. Once we’d made contact with each group we set up a meeting. In each meeting we had the opportunity to present our ideas about the tree planting project and to get feedback. This was a crucial part of each meeting because it was their first impression of us and our project. In order to do this successfully we needed to be organized and we needed to be enthusiastic. The other objective of the initial meeting was to learn about the groups. We wanted to know why they formed, what they did, and what their objectives were. ...
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Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara
For this blog series I am going to describe my team’s experience working on our team project with several different communities in Saint Vincent. Throughout the series I will describe 9 different aspects of how we have worked with these communities: Working with established community groups. Reaching out. Goals for working with the groups. Public outreach. Forging friendships. Challenges. Working together: evaluating our success. Plans for the future. What we have learned so far. [caption id="attachment_10706" align="aligncenter" width="400"] “Our second planting action in Petit Bordel: It doesn’t matter if we’re teaching a workshop, picking up trash, or planting trees. The kids love to come out and help us!” Working with established community groups For our major project here in Saint Vincent, my team has been planting trees. So far we have planted over 1500 trees and vetiver grass units throughout the North Leeward region of the island. Our focus for planting has been in 5 communities: Chateaubelair, Fitz Hughes, Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, and Rose Hall. While the main objective of our project has been to plant trees, the most important part of our project is the people. The point of the project has been not just to plant trees in these communities, but to plant trees with them. To do this, we planned to work with an already established community group from each village. Why...
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12 Community Service Ideas Infographic

12 Community Service Ideas Infographic
The world we live in is a beautiful place, full of marvels and opportunities for all of us to live and thrive in peace. And yet, for some, it is a daunting space, plagued by horrors. The vast majority of these horrors are caused by man and all of them can either be eradicated or alleviated by us. So, never before has mankind had such a big opportunity to exercise solidarity and compassion like it has now. And never before has mankind been so willfully blind. [caption id="attachment_5434" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Looking for ways to give back? Here are 12 great community service ideas - Photo Credit: Flickr Selfishness is in our nature and the nature of other animals, and it needs not be a disease. Every act of cooperation, unity and interdependence we find among us or other species is an act of selfishness, as it is primarily moved by self-preservation. But in men, selfishness can be poisonous, and this is evident in our society. The only way we can break free from selfishness is to become aware of the reality of those around us. We should move towards a common vision of peace, prosperity and harmony. Only by acting as one —one species, one kind, one people— we will transcend selfishness and fulfill our need for sustainable progress. Of course, there are many ways of...
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Experiencing a thoughtful life at RVA by Vanessa

Experiencing a thoughtful life at RVA by Vanessa
Since the very first moment I got to RVA I could breathe coherence and peace. I use to live in a society (and still do) where talking about how things should become is a pleasurable hobby that does not have anything to do with results, but with critiques. Ultimately critiques to myself. I use to live in a society that kills my hopes of dreaming a better world possible. I use to live in a society where consumerism and toxic hobbies keep me paralyzed from doing things and thus faraway from my principles and true-self. I don't know if this is something you can relate with, but that was definitely the way I felt. I still do sometimes, so let’s do something about it. I often find myself submerged in a bench of excuses that prevent me from going where I truly want to be. “I have no money, no knowledge, I'm not capable, nothing will change”. Thus a thousand of related ones that talk about nothing but lack of will. Sometimes I even question myself. Is it the way I think, really theway I believe in, or just a beautiful utopia in which I have no hopes about? And if so… why not to be eager to break free from my chains? Whatever they are… So… what could be wrong in keeping the mind open...
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