Richmond Vale

A life-changing garden

garden Richmond Vale Academy selected ten homes in the community of Chateaubelair to develop organic gardens in their backyards
Many of the high school students who are close to finishing their studies have a big question in their minds: What do I want to do after this? That was also the question asked by Aster Davis, a young man from Chateaubelair who suddenly found the perfect answer to that question in the most simple way. During his last weeks of high school, Richmond V...
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Richmond Vale

It is just grass!

top Collecting horse manure with bare hands is a sign of personal change for me
I am a student at the Richmond Vale Academy situated in St. Vincent and Grenadines and I will share with you my story about manure up to now (5 months). Collecting horse manure with bare hands is a sign of personal change for me! Yes, manure is natural gold but holding it with bare hands and then putting it into sacks by holding, maybe sometimes by...
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Richmond Vale

Organic Farming is Peace

frontpage Richmond Vale Academy - Organic Farming is Peace
"An organic farmer is the best peacemaker today, because there is more violence, more death, more destruction, more wars, through a violent industrial agricultural system. And to shift away from that into an agriculture of peace is what organic farming is doing." - Vandana Shiva Dear Readers In this blog you will see a lot of beautiful pictures fro...
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Richmond Vale

See the challenges as an opportunity to grow

blog-front I've met so many great people from around the world here and I want to keep exploring different cultures
Expectations vs reality for a student at RVA Before coming here, I had a very vague, unclear idea of what my life would be like for the next 6 months living in St. Vincent as a student at RVA. In fact, I made it a choice not to read the details of the program and other people's posts about their experiences living on the island. I wanted to start t...
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Calvert: I have grown alot

calvert-blog I’m so happy that I got this opportunity to go to RVA and I enjoyed it all
Calvert: I am 19 years old living in Layou and I have done a 6 months course at RVA. What we do here is to learn about Global Warming and Climate Change, about how some companies are destroying the planet – especially the fossil fuel companies. I'm in the RVA climate change COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE TEAM and I'm going to say a bit about what I have lea...
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Richmond Vale

Why do an Erasmus program in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Front-erasmus-turkey-lithuania Erasmus+ Volunteers in Richmond Vale Academy from Turkey and Lithuania!
People coming from Europe have a very unique opportunity to see how the developed world is impacting on developing countries, particularly small island nations like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This can clearly be seen in Saint Vincent because there is such a huge change in the climate and all across the country we can see the devastation that...
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Richmond Vale

Richmond Vale Academy establishing "Pass it On” home gardens in the community

pass-it-on-homegardens Students at RVA taking part in the project
In 2016, Richmond Vale Academy, an alternative school centered on climate change, began to establish "Pass it On" home gardens in the community of Chateaubelair, North Leeward. The goals of the "Pass it On" home garden project are many: (1) teach members of the community how to grow their own food using the principles of permanent agriculture or "p...
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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!
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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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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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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...
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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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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]
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Richmond Vale

6 Month Gap Year Opportunity in the Caribbean - An Environmental Program

6 Month Gap Year Opportunity in the Caribbean - An Environmental Program
Today, thousands of people are taking gap years all over the world; travelling for months on end, doing it with relative comfort and ease. Today, a gap year can be anywhere, for any length of time, doing anything you want. You can build an orphanage in Belize; teach English as a foreign language in Israel, trek through the Himalayas in Nepal or travel around the 'banana pancake trail' in Southeast Asia. It really is whatever you want it to be. A gap year comes under many guises - backpacking, a career gap, a short gap (most of the times for 6 months); travelling, time out, a sabbatical - but they all mean the same thing. A gap year is constructive time out to travel in-between life stages. It usually means travelling, volunteering or working abroad. Often it means all three! Save the Planet in a 6 month Gap Year in The Caribbean! Climate change and global warming, are something real , and only we can do something to change that reality. If you are looking for a way to save the planet and meet new people, travel and live new experiences, then a 6 month gap year in the Caribbean is just what you need!   St Vincent and the Grenadines is one breath-taking nation made up of an island chain, part of the Windward Islands,...
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Richmond Vale

5 Awesome ideas for reusing and recycling water!

5 Awesome ideas for reusing and recycling water!
Around the globe, people are working hard to protect natural resources before their depletion. People today are ‘going green’ to protect their land and to prove themselves as good citizens. Some think that the natural resources need not to be protected but increased pollution in rivers, streams and lakes has become a great danger for life. Other than that, due to increased population, the consumption of water has increased greatly. Therefore, it is very essential to protect water resources and to maintain the balance in the ecosystems. That's why you need to learn the benefist of reusing and recycling water. What are the Environmental Benefits of Water Recycling? In addition to providing a dependable, locally-controlled water supply, water recycling provides tremendous environmental benefits. Some of them are: #1- Decreases the Diversion of Freshwater from Sensitive Ecosystems Plants, wildlife, and fish depend on sufficient water flows in their habitats to live and reproduce. The lack of adequate flow, as a result of diversion for agricultural, urban, and industrial purposes, can cause deterioration of water quality and ecosystem health. People who reuse water can supplement their demands by using a reliable source of recycled water, which can free considerable amounts of water for the environment and increase flows to vital ecosystems. #2- It May Be Used to Create or Enhance Wetlands and Freshwater Habitats. Wetlands provide many benefits, which...
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Clarity and Inspiration

Clarity and Inspiration
By Sara Auerbach I chose the Climate Change Activist Program , because it was an opportunity to do something different and to engage in meaningful action. There were a few things that I hoped to gain from my experience at RVA: Clarity. I hoped the program would give me a better picture of how I wanted to move forward both career wise and in everyday life. Inspiration. I wanted to revitalize my passion for environmental stewardship and addressing social problems. Practical skills . I wanted to leave RVA with ahandful of new skills that would aid me in living a life that would be more sustainable, more conscientious, and healthier. I can honestly say that RVA helped me to achieve all of these things. I am grateful for my experience at the school and for the opportunity to travel, create new relationships, and to broaden my understanding of the world. I believe that the community projects and sustainability goals that drive RVA are a positive force in a world that sorely needs effective programs that build people up and take care of our planet. I will say that the program is not perfect; I experienced frustrations as well as doubts over the course of my time at RVA. Ultimately, these are the things that open our minds and help us expand the way that we think and how...
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How to look good in green

How to look good in green
Dressing sustainably can be very simple when you know what you’re doing! Commonly known as eco-fashion, it is the concept of taking into mind the long-term environmental and social impacts of our clothing every day. But often people don’t know what informed decisions to take in dressing fashionably without impacting the planet. For many people, this means recycling: instead of throwing away that tee shirt you ruined in the wash, could you make it into something? Could it become a cute pair of sandals, a pillow case, some cleaning rags, or a pair of socks through some careful stitches? In this article I’m going to give you... 10 steps on how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle your stuff! 10- Second hand shopping Instead of going to your favourite high street store go to a vintage store or a charity shop. It’s great for saving money, you might be lucky and find an amazing piece. It’s crazy what people throw away sometimes 9- Get your hands dirty! (don’t be afraid to D.I.Y) Go online and learn how easy it is to make your own clothes or accessories from recycled and old clothing 8- Shop on Ebay You can find second hand goods that are still brand new! 7- donate to charity stores Give back and instead of throwing your old clothes away, someone else might like your unwanted clothing....
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