Richmond Vale

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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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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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

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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How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte

How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte
A brief introduction to how to organize a tree planting action The tree planting actions are events of our program where we go out and plant trees at specific locations. We do this with the help of local groups and people. But before such a planting action can happen, there is a lot of preparation to be done. First, you have to choose the villages you want to plant in and look for local groups which might be interested in working alongside with you. After you found one, try to establish a relationship with them and inform them of our future plans. If they are interested in it, you start doing surveys in the village. This entails asking the people what trees they want/need at which locations and if they would be interested in helping out. Additionally, if they are interessted, you should ask for their contact information so you can inform them about coming planting actions. Now that you finished your survey, you have to look at the suggested areas yourself to determine how many trees of which kind. This includes the one's that were suggested/requested that you should plant there. Then you have to get the trees, either by raising or by buying them. But because raising trees takes a lot of time, it is recommended to have a list of trees beforehand. Choose...
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Fight Poverty: 4 Ways for Make a Difference (INFOGRAPHIC)

Fight Poverty: 4 Ways for Make a Difference (INFOGRAPHIC)
Fighting Poverty may sound something governments should be doing; we may think is their responsibility. But the truth is that we all should start doing something to help, either we understand or not what causes global poverty, it is a crucial part of the process implementing effective solutions to help eradicate the problem. [caption id="attachment_6648" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: American Center Mumbai . Fight Poverty The principal causes of Poverty are simple to name. Discrimination and social inequality, war and political instability, national debt, history and vulnerability to natural disasters have made this huge problem affect 80 percent of the World, and all the  terrible statistics shows worst results. But, here’s tips everybody can do to start marking a difference. (Click the infographic to enlarge ) Share this Image On Your Site </p><br /> <p><strong>Please include attribution to http://richmondvale.org with this graphic.</strong></p><br /> <p><a href='http://richmondvale.org/fight-poverty-make-difference/'><img src='http://richmondvale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Combating-poverty.jpg' alt='Combating Poverty: 4 ways to make a difference Infographic ' width='540px' border='0' /></a></p><br /> <p> Let’s fight poverty! #1 Donate [caption id="attachment_6649" align="alignleft" width="500"] Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees donating coats to the St. Vincent de Paul coat drive. Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan . Other than the money, you can donate food, clothing, toilette items, old furniture, toys and books to local shelters and programs. Is incredible the kind of thing in a good state we throw...
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Embracing the New by Juliana

Embracing the New by Juliana
By Juliana, new student, CCC Team #15 “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power.” - Alan Cohen This quote very much resonates with a decision I made a little over a year ago. Movement and change have been two constants in my life since, no pun intended. Just recently, I’ve learnt that the word courage is a derivative of the Latin coraticum, which could be translated as “action from the heart”. And this has made a whole difference on how I see my decision as being a courageous one. Because the decision to leave what was no longer meaningful had no rationale involved, it could only have come from my heart! And boy, this is freedom!! This is how I have come to be involved in projects based on a lot of courage and meet people who have also been acting from their hearts. This same movement has brought me to Richmond Vale Academy, located in one of the poorest islands of the Caribbean, to be a part of the Climate Compliance team for the next six months. Eleven of us, coming from...
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Experiments in the Organic Garden

Experiments in the Organic Garden
The organic garden at RVA is based on Permaculture principles, which view the garden as an ecosystem, and applies a holistic systems approach to fertilization and pest control. Plants are positioned on a garden bed according to their respective plant families. In this way, by mixing plant families, the fertilizer requirements of the diverse plant families are more easily met by the soil than when growing a mono crop. The soil at RVA organic garden is sandy and in order to grow organic vegetables, fruits and herbs it is necessary that the topsoil have a structure that enables retention of water and nutrients as well as providing a cool and protected home for our all important microbes. To this end we have experimented with the burying of coarse organic material under garden beds as well as the mixing of soft rotted wood with horse manure and bio-char. This mixture is then applied to the tops of the garden beds and mulched. [caption id="attachment_10537" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Preparing the banana fertilizer The mulch, itself in time becomes fertilizer, as it is transformed by the soil microbes into rich humus. Mulch and composting materials are grown in and around the garden in the form of support species. These include trees and vining beans that are capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, the organic matter deriving from such species...
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St. Vincent bans the killing of sea turtles

St. Vincent bans the killing of sea turtles
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has implemented a total ban on the killing of sea turtles or the harvesting of their eggs. The ban came into effect on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. The decision to impose a total ban on the killing of all sea turtlescame in late 2016 in response to the increased global threat to sea turtles and to their status as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. The Ministry of Fisheries initiative to protect all sea turtles comes under the theme “No Extinction In My Generation.” [caption id="attachment_10462" align="aligncenter" width="323"] Green Sea Turtle in Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines A report from the ministry outlined that this year SVG will seeincreased vigilance in the effort to ensure that all persons abide by the law and end the killing of sea turtles, the harvesting of their eggs, and the sale of their shells in the jewelry industry. The Ministry of Fisheries said it will continue to work with and support fisherfolk to assist former turtle fishers as they move away from turtle harvesting. “The ministry, together with National Parks Rivers and Beaches Authority, will pursue a national Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, which is working to make turtle watching a viable eco-tourism opportunity in rural coastal communities. The Windward communities of Colonarie, Byera and Sandy Bay, Big Sand have been identified for two turtle...
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