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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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

12 Ways to Save Our Planet (INFOGRAPHIC)

12 Ways to Save Our Planet (INFOGRAPHIC)
When we heard about Environmental Activism there's a bunch of difficult things that comes to our mind, but actually, it's not hard to be part of the move, and here are 12 easy ways to save our planet and it would make you feel great. Global Warming There's bad news about global warming everywhere, dying oceans , and endangered animals flooding us every day. And even if we don't want to know about it, this topic is gaining more attention because is already happening. [caption id="attachment_6517" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Jesslef . Also, it may seem like the actions of one person won't make a difference, but there are many ways you can help and it does mark a huge change. Save our planet There is a surprising amount of people, businesses, and communities that would like to do more to conserve and protect our natural resources. But, the complicated part is that they don't know where to begin with becoming more environmentally friendly. So, here's 12 easy ways to help save our planet and we ordered this by category. (Click infographic to enlarge .) Share this Image On Your Site </p><br /><br /> <p><strong>Please include attribution to http://richmondvale.org with this graphic.</strong></p><br /><br /> <p><a href='http://richmondvale.org/help-save-our-planet/'><img src='http://richmondvale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/info-esay-ways.jpg' alt='12 Ways to save our planet Infographic' width='540px' border='0' /></a></p><br /><br /> <p> Public Actions We know that sometimes, our...
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Richmond Vale

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?
[caption id="attachment_10058" align="alignleft" width="320"] Moringa forest My daily task in taking care of the horses is to feed them moringa. Moringa, also called The Miracle Tree, really is a miracle. It's a very healthy plant that can be eaten by humans and animals and it's very easy to plant. Almost all of the parts of the tree are edible, raw or cooked. It contains an incredibly high dose of vitamins, minerals and proteins. At the academy we eat moringa leaves in our salad and drink it in tea. The horses and the pigs eat the whole branches. Raw it tastes a little bit like radish and cooked it has a mild neutral taste. At Richmond vale is a forest where they plant the moringa. There is enough and it grows very fast. For the horses I cut the whole branches. New leaves will appear in several days. If you love horses it's a great joy to spoil them with moringa. They're really fond of it. They know exactly when I'm going to the forest and waiting for me to come back. They're looking with the prettiest faces ever and calling for me. They immediately start eating and won't stop before they are finished. To get the moringa, it is also good exercise and keeps me fit. I cut as many as I can carry. The branches...
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Richmond Vale

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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Richmond Vale

11 Innovative Ways To Use Less Paper That Will Blow Your Mind INFOGRAPHIC

11 Innovative Ways To Use Less Paper That Will Blow Your Mind INFOGRAPHIC
The use of paper is one of the major factors contributing to climate change. The felling of trees in the first place directly contributes to carbon emissions. So, this result of machinery used both in the process and in transportation. But there's a simple solution for that: use less paper.  Once paper is made, it must then be transported, which inevitably will involve the burning of even more carbon fuel. This snowball effect makes saving and recycling paper vital if we are to tackle climate change. There are a number of ways to save paper, many of whish should be apparent to anyone with a sense of practicality and a desire to save money. The problem lies in putting these notions into practice, and that requires discipline as well as the lure of more potential profit as a result of savings. Benefits of Using less paper Economic Benefits When we save paper we actually save money. The initial cost of paper may not look much in comparison with other office expenditures, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Use of paper has a lot of hidden accompanying costs. Apart from the purchasing cost, the company incurs other costs such as costs of printing, copying, postage, storage, disposal, recycling, etc. Hence, any reduction in the amount of paper used translates to a reduction in all...
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Richmond Vale

10 Reasons to Start Backyard Gardens in Homes and Schools

10 Reasons to Start Backyard Gardens in Homes and Schools
Gardening is a way to teach children about how the farming industry works. It also teaches them the importance of good and nutritious food. It is vital that children learn about gardening because they might be interested to learn this and do it at home for themselves. It will teach people the importance of biodiversity and the importance of a broad variety in the garden. It is a good way for the family to spend more time together and learn about gardening. It is a good way for low income families to save money on fruits and vegetables. For families to grow their own food, it would also mean that people would consume more of a variety of food. For schools it is a great way to implement other ways of teaching for teachers and other ways of learning for students. Including environmental education in the garden will also teach about global warming, greenhouse gasses and what we can do ourselves to become aware consumers. By growing your own food, you know what goes into the soil and the water. Hopefully when growing your own food you have taken a stand against chemically produced pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers. Creating awareness to go organic in your garden may also introduce you to go more fair trade, local and low carbon emission foods. This is also good for...
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Richmond Vale

Awareness

Awareness
I came to St. Vincent horse school because I want to learn how to develop a real connection with my horses. After just one week I have learned already so much! I have two miniature horses. Every day I spend lots of time with them to provide in their needs, but I'm missing something. The first lesson with Stina was all about social behaviour and politeness. When I met her horses I saw something I had never seen before. Very polite and well-mannered horses but still pure and natural. Not drilled by training but more like they had a lovely nurturing with very clear boundaries. The perfect environment where everybody is allowed to speak but also listens. So I realized my minis aren't polite at all, they behave like spoiled kids. To accomplish this kind of environment you need a whole new mindset. You can't use ego, productivity and focusing on results. You need the whole process to grow and for that you need awareness. To develop awareness it's important you learn to listen to your intuition. Your intuition can tell you exactly what your boundaries are, what you need and how you can react in a very clear and peaceful way. But this is not so easy. My mind is struggling because my ego really wants to interfere. The biggest challenge for me is, even...
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Richmond Vale

The Powerful Vetiver Grass

The Powerful Vetiver Grass
A Vetiver Grass Planting Action on Campus Three months ago if you were to ask me about vetiver grass I’d have had no idea what you were talking about. Now, however, the gregarious bunch grass is an integral part of my team’s program. We are learning more and more about it every day. Probably the most important thing to know about vetiver grass is that it is a champion for preventing soil erosion . It has a strong and spanning root system that can grow as deep as 4 meters underground. In Saint Vincent , soil erosion and landslides have always been a problem. In recent years, weather has become more severe. Rainstorms are battering Caribbean nations more ferociously and more often than anyone can recall in the recent past. These unprecedented and unpredictable weather patterns making erosion and landslides an even bigger concern. We’ve had a lot of heavy and sporadic rain in the last couple of months. There was one storm in late November that was particularly bad. The storm started very early in the morning and didn’t stop until midday. Most of North Leeward lost power (RVA was out of power for several days) and there were landslides all over the island. We had several landslides around the school including one right in our front yard. It has become painstakingly clear that soil...
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Richmond Vale

Tree of the Week: The Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

When one thinks of the Caribbean it is almost certain that the coconut will flitter into the imagination in one way or another. It could be easily argued that it is one of the most prominent symbols of island culture and for good reason. Since its introduction to the West Indies it has deeply embedded itself into the lives of those who live here. The coconut is in the Palm tree family . It can grow to be up to 100 feet tall with leaves that are up to 20 feet in length. It is a very hardy tree. The trunk is comprised of hard, dense wood. The branches and fronds are also very strong. The “nut” is actually a drupe. It has a thick husk on the outside and the inside is a fibrous layer that can be eaten or pressed for oil. The center of the nut is hollow and typically contains a drinkable liquid known as coconut water.  While it may be near impossible to think of the Caribbean without palm trees, believe it or not, it is not a native species to this part of the world. Its origin is disputed but it is most widely believed that it comes from the India-Burma region of the world. The coconut was introduced to the Caribbean very shortly after Columbus landed in the Bahamas...
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Richmond Vale

Tree of the Week: Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

The breadfruit tree has an exceptional significance in Saint Vincent because of the peculiar story behind its introduction to the Caribbean. It began in 1787 when the English Captain William Bligh and his ship, the Bounty, set sail for Tahiti in the South Pacific. Their mission was to collect breadfruit which England hoped would be a successful crop for feeding slaves. Shortly after departing from Tahiti, Bounty’s crew mutinied. The reason for the mutiny is merely speculated. Many believe that during their five months in Tahiti the crew fell in love with the Tahitian women and the easy island life and did not want to return to the rigors of seamanship. Another story is that the crew was angered at Bligh because he was using their drinking water to keep the breadfruit trees alive on the voyage. Bligh then set out on a second breadfruit voyage in 1791. The fruit finally made it to the Caribbean; its first introduction taking place right here in Saint Vincent. It arrived in Kingstown on January 23, 1793. The breadfruit tree has been deeply embedded in Saint Vincent culture ever since. It is sometimes referred to as a Caribbean “super food” and is even included in the country’s national dish: breadfruit and jackfish. The most popular way to prepare the breadfruit is to roast it over an open fire or...
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Richmond Vale

Tree of the Week: Mango (Mangifera indica)

  [caption id="attachment_7144" align="alignleft" width="300"] Juicy, sweet and yummy Mango! Juicy, sweet, yummy! Mango is a treat to people all over the world and Vincentians are no different. One good friend to Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) told us about how, when he was a boy, he and his friends would get out of school and race down to the nearest mango tree to collect the good fruit before it was gone. When it is in season here in Saint Vincent (SVG), one is hard-pressed to find a fruit that is more popular than the mango. The mango tree is a member of the Evergreen family. Then, it can grow to be up to 90 feet tall. Its leaves are about 12-16 inches in length when they are mature and are leathery, glossy and dark green in color. The fruit has a smooth, tough outside layer and fleshy, juicy inside layer that is very sweet. It can vary in size, shape and flavor depending on the variety and weighs anywhere between ¼ of a pound and 3 pounds. The fruit tree was introduced to the Caribbean in the late 1600s from the India-Burma region of the world. In the earlier days of mango cultivation in Saint Vincent. Much of the land near the sea was occupied by British estates and plantations. It was common for people to go...
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Richmond Vale

Humanure: Using human waste as fertilizer

“The world is divided into two categories of people: those who shit in their drinking water supplies and those who don't.” – Joe Jenkins, Author of Humanure Handbook . As the war for resources wage on let's take a moment to discuss a resource that we throw away every single day: human manure. "Humanure (human manure) is the human fecal material and urine that is recycle for agricultural purposes via thermophilic composting. Humanure contains valuable soil nutrients that enhance plant growth.  Human manure could be a major source of soil fertility if properly recycled. When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health. When you recycle using composting, the pollution and health threats are eliminate. "   Composting toilets don't smell bad at all. That is because each time someone does their business, they cover it up with carbon-rich sawdust which accomplishes three things. Soaks up moisture, create a covering that prevent odor from escaping. And create a cover that prevents flies from being attract to it. Additionally, each bucket has a wooden cover so insects cannot get into it. Many Ecovillages compost human waste in such a way that it is recycled, over a two year period, using methods that organically destroy all pathogens contained within it. The toilets at don't have any water in them. Instead, they have...
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Richmond Vale

Bio Char in RVA

Climate Compliance Student (Bio Char) By Jasper from Belgium The first months I spend time to study topics about rebuilding soils. True this process of learning I became very passionate about this topic so I decided that I really wanted to work around this topic as my Richmond Vale climate compliance action. My first action was to observe what was already been done at Richmond Vale Academy to improve the soil. I notice that they already trie 2 times to make a bio-char produce, the second version was running but it had some miss functions. So I decided to improve this design. After my decision I dogged deeper in the topic of bio-char. What I found was amazing, I was really stunt by the benefits of it. I knew that I didn’t invent the wheel but still I had the feeling I found something precious. First of all bio-char is a term for charcoal that is used for agriculture purposes. This means that we take the charcoal and put it in the soil. The main benefits going from soils improvements, drought resistance, waste management and storing carbon dioxide back in the ground. Like I said before It is not something new, this technique of improving the soil existed some 2000 years ago in the amazon. Tribal people notice the benefits from the ashes and they create...
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Richmond Vale

Dr. Murray Talk About Environmental Science

Richmond Vale Academy often invites experts from Saint Vincent to present their work and share their knowledge. This is a good opportunity to learn how local problems have been tackled and solve. Recently, Dr. Murray has visited Richmond vale Academy to talk about his experience in the field of environmental science. Dr. Murray grew up in St. Vincent but he moved to the USA in order to obtain a Ph.D. in ecotoxicology, studying the effects of pesticides on the microorganisms living in the topsoil. He then worked for the ministry in St. Vincent and successively for the United Nations. He is currently working freelance as an environmental consultant. He gave a lively and interactive presentation regarding the history of St. Vincent with a special focus on environmental problems. The students learned about the serious problem of soil erosion which affects a significant area of the island. Soil erosion is primarily caused by deforestation in order to obtain areas for cultivation. By removing trees, soil loses cohesion since there are no more strong and deep roots that can hold it. Secondly, there is a low evapotranspiration, therefore, water accumulates in topsoil. As a result, a strong rain can easily transport the most fertile layer of the soil worsening the yield of crops. In extreme cases, this can result in landslides. In St. Vincent heavy rains have created...
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