Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project
Richmond Vale Academy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Chatoyer Garden, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund, will launch its home garden project today, June 5. The launch takes place at Richmond Vale Academy beginning at 13.00 with tour of the organic gardens and is open to the public. The Pass-It-On Model Garden Project aims to build the capacity of the local communities to live more sustainably, cost effectively and healthily by creating model gardens for families (or farmers) and for people to pass-on what they have learnt, to inspire others to start their own gardens. This project uses crop diversification and organic principles of production as a means of adapting to the effects of climate change while also using agriculture as a means of environmental protection. [caption id="attachment_11062" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The project teaches participants to cultivate food on small plots of land, without the use of chemicals. Using this model, a household or a farmer can use 800 square feet of land (a plot measuring 20 x 40 feet) to produce 130 heads of lettuce every two months along with 36 roots of chives soon after. Two intensive vegetable garden beds can produce okra, eggplant and hot peppers are other vegetables. An animal component can consist of a coup for raising two rabbits or layer five layer...
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Richmond Vale

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

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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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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Richmond Vale

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

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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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

Climate Change vs Health

Climate Change vs Health
Climate change does not only raise the temperatures and it won't bring us just warmer seasons. It will bring threats to our health. Extreme weather conditions will appear more often and more frequent, such as hurricanes, floodings, and heat waves. Older people, children, pregnant women, homeless people, and people with certain medical conditions will be affected the most. Especially in developing countries and coastline areas will this be an issue. Rising sea levels will destroy homes and affect the supply of fresh water. It will also heighten the risk of water-borne diseases and infections and other diseases spreading quickly over big areas. Also, the supply of medical and health services will be disrupted. People will have to wait to get food, water, and medical treatment. These are all essential and needed things in a functioning system. Exposure to extreme heat can cause dehydration, heat strokes, cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular diseases. Breathing problems, heart attacks, and apoleptic insults are the consequences.Furthermore, the high temperatures raise the ozone level in the air which will increase the breathing problems and heart attacks. Another threat will be malaria and dengue fever. These diseases are influenced by the weather. Climate change will create perfect breeding conditions for mosquitos which then will spread the diseases. Malaria already kills almost 600,000 people every year and this number will increase. According to the World...
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Tree of the Week: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)

Tree of the Week: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
Mangrove Workshop at the Prospect Salt Pond Mangrove Conservation Park Last week my team had the great pleasure of attending a workshop on propagating and conserving mangrove ecosystems. A mangrove ecosystem is a group of several different species of trees that grow in coastal areas. They are particularly resilient and are able to thrive in conditions that most plants could not survive. These conditions include water with high salinity and strong current energy. There are about 40 different species of mangroves but there are three that are most common in the Caribbean. These are Red (Rhizophora mangle), White (Laguncularia racemose), and Black (Avicennia germinans). During the workshop, we learned about all three of these species and how they work together as an ecosystem. The three usually grow in the same area. The red grows in the front, closest to the sea. It requires a high saline concentration for survival. The red serves as a barrier against wave energy. The black mangrove grows above the high water mark, as its tolerance for salt water is less than the red. The white grows the farthest back from the sea. It is the least salt-tolerant but can still survive in brackish (combination of saltwater and freshwater) conditions. The primary focus of the workshop was on the red mangrove. The red mangrove, an evergreen, is the tallest of the three....
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Less Trash, more Beach!

Less Trash, more Beach!
Beach Clean-up in Petit Bordel Last Saturday, the 7 th of January, the Climate Compliance November team had a beach clean-up in Petit Bordel. My name is Malte, and I am part of this awesome team! We went to Petit Bordel in the morning after breakfast. Our teacher, Jesper, drove us there with his new bus. At the beach, we were surprised to see so many people at the beach! But we had to wait a bit until the cleanup started, since some people were missing. Only by glancing at the beach you could already tell that the people got used to dumping their trash here. Trash, especially things that don't decompose easily (like plastic) are very harmful to the environment. It damages plants and if animals or fish eat it they can die. Trash makes a place look less attractive and thus fewer people will visit it. By simply building trash bins and picking the trash you see around, you make the place more beautiful and habitable. Unfortunately, many people in St.Vincent are not aware of the dire consequences of littering. It is our goal to teach as many people as possible about these consequences and how to prevent littering. Once everybody was ready, we handed out latex gloves and plastic bags and got started. I decided it would be smartest to start from one...
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Richmond Vale

The Beginning of the Nursery

10,000 trees, that's our goal. The November Climate Compliance Team aims for propagating 10,000 trees—in the nursery that we are building—and for planting at least 3,000 trees ourselves, hopefully even more! There are a variety of trees on our list. For example, coconut, papaya, pandanus, avocado, soursop, etc. Regarding the last flood caused by the unusual amount of rain in the last weeks, the team decided on planting more vetiver grass than we originally planned. It has very deep roots and prevents erosion so that landslides are less likely to happen. We started collecting saplings from a mango tree and replanted them in planting bags. Unfortunately we didn't have enough bags left so we had to come up with solutions like normal plastic bags with holes in them. These plants were a lot more likely to die than the ones in the planting bags. We also started collecting seeds from the fruits we were eating at breakfast: papaya, avocado, and soursop. Most of the seeds are already planted in trays or cups with holes in them. We need space for the trees while nursing them, so we started building more tables for our trees. Then, we cut the steel, drilled holes, screwed the steel together and put them in the holes we dug in the ground beforehand so the tables would be stable. We haven’t put...
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Meet our Climate Activist Team # 14

The biggest threat facing humanity is Climate Change. The constant and disproportionate emissions of gases by industrialized countries, among other abuses of natural resources, are causing major changes in global climate. Then, its consequences affect mainly the developing countries and result in floods, drought, hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters that leave the population helpless and without means to survive. That is why, international summits such as the Kyoto Protocol . And more recently the Paris Agreement promoted by the U.N , have begun to adopt some measures. The basic idea of it is to create viable sustainable development of mankind, ie, that supports economic growth and environmental preservation. To achieve this balance, various proposals have been made. Promoting sustainable agriculture, limiting methane emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or setting up tax incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy. There are several organizations around the world that are encouraging education on the effects of climate change and how to prevent them. Richmond Vale Academy is a non profit institution in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Today, more than 500 students from St. Vincent and around the world have participated in shorter and longer programs to fight poverty and protect the environment since 2002. The Climate Change Activist Program , has the purpose that you learn and teach along with people from all over the...
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Team Schedules November Climate Team

Climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing humanity. Constant and disproportionate emissions of gases by industrialized countries, among other abuses of natural resources, are causing major changes in global climate. Its consequences affect mainly the developing countries and result in floods, drought, hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters that leave the population helpless and without means to survive. Climate change is one of the great threats of our time, not only for nature and the extinction of species, but also for man. Although the effects of climate change are noticeable across the globe, they do not affect all populations alike. In the Climate Change Activist Program of the Richmond Vale Academy, you will learn and teach along with people from all over the world and — what's the most important task nowadays for a Climate Activist — contributing to create awareness, spreading the knowledge about Climate Change and Global Warming in the communities, and specific in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Our team of Climate Activists are already carrying out their corresponding activities with the program. Here we present the activities that have been carried out the last couple of weeks: Week 3: Digging Deeper – 14 th to the 20 th of November Morning Afternoon Evening Monday Morning Class about: The USA election and democracy Basic climate science: Climate Change and the Oceans...
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3000 New trees to be planted

[caption id="attachment_6755" align="alignleft" width="300"] Part of the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas. Photo Credit: Wikipedia St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the world’s most disaster prone countries. During the past few years hurricanes and floods have affected St Vincent. Hundreds of people lost their homes, jobs and loved ones. Have been done major damages to bridges, roads and buildings. Thousands of trees and many acres of agricultural soil have been lost. Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean nations have contributed little. To the release of the greenhouse gases driving climate change. We pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions. The new tree planting project. Aims at sensitizing and mobilize people to take action. To mitigate and adapt to the challenges of Climate Change in St. Vincent. To learn a bit more about this topic. The Richmond Vale Academy website gives us a brief introduction about what is climate change? With a 10 year perspective, Richmond Vale Academy launched the St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference in 2012. Aiming to form the future of St. Vincent into that of being a more Climate Compliant Country. The Climate Compliance Conference works with a small group of people from Richmond Vale Academy. Together with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, various community organizations, schools and volunteers. Richmond Vale Academy has...
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Richmond Vale

Changing the world through renewable energy

At Richmond Vale Academy we run Another Kind of school where adults join to become inspired, gain knowledge which they will turn into action.  Through The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference Program we are doing our part to change the world by walking our talk. Burning of fossil fuels are polluting our atmosphere and creating Global Warming and we have taken concrete action to change our energy consumption to renewable energy with solar panels.A few months ago we set up 70 solar panels and a battery bank.  [caption id="attachment_6740" align="aligncenter" width="448"] Our New Solar Panels! [caption id="attachment_6739" align="aligncenter" width="448"] The batteries! Our monthly energy consumption is a bit over 2000 KwH which makes the monthly electricity bill around US$ 1000.  The payback time on the investment of $56.000 will be 5 years, which is less that our current electricity bill.After months of planning and finding out how, we finally set up the batteries and panels during the Building Week in July. It was very exciting because the time had come to turn off fossil fuels and turn on for solar. During the common meeting we planned the Building Weekend and decided that everyone should be part of setting up the panels.By producing our own energy we have become aware of the use of electricity that it is not something that is just there coming from somewhere...
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