Richmond Vale

John: One month with the Climate Compliance Conference

John: One month with the Climate Compliance Conference
RVA Climate Compliance: 1 month programme evaluation Expectations: From attending the 1 month Climate Compliance programme at RVA I hoped to learn about Permaculture in relation to sustainable farming. I wanted to see how it works in practice, getting to grips with the day to day management of the farm and gardens, whilst picking up new ideas and developing skills. I also hoped to live a healthier lifestyle and perhaps even get myself fit. Courses & Studies Morning classes I found some of the one hour morning classes to be very useful sources of information and learning. Highlights were those on Agroforestery, Soil Structure and Solar Panels. Documentaries – documentary evenings provided opportunity to watch material selected from the wider RVA community within a focused environment. It was good to discuss the subjects afterwards, and take on board diverse insights and opinions. Effects of Climate Change Tour – perhaps the most poignant element of the course was this tour of places and people suffering recent extremities of weather. People were forthcoming with their views once they got going highlighting education and sustainable living as improvements to be made. Climate Compliance practical actions  Solar Dryer We constructed a solar dryer which we presented this to the RVA community and to the wider community on the RVA open day for which we made flyers alongside a variety of...
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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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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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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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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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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

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

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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Richmond Vale

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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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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Richmond Vale

La Soufriere Leeward Trail Clearing Report

Background This report is a partial fulfilment of the GEF funded project to rehabilitate the La Soufriere Leeward Trail on St. Vincent .  No maintenance work was done on this trail for a number of years and in 2010 it was made worse with the passing of hurricane Thomas which totally devastated the trail. Huge trees were uprooted and blocked the trail, landslides took out sections of the trail which caused persons to use alternative route.  In 2013 further damage was done to the trail by the passing of a trough system that affected the whole island.  Despite these negative impacts the trail remained untouched, visitation was low because of the trail condition, shrubs and trees grew up on the trail way covered by vines thus making the trail impassable.  To get to the summit one had to bend down and go through dark vine tunnels amid obstacles of shrubs and dangerous vines for most of the way.  At the end of the tree line grass completely covered the trail past waist height with just a very narrow foot path which was barely visible almost to the top.     Trail Clearing At a meeting on 5 th September the stakeholders decided to implement work on 19 th of September, to clear the trail. A crew of 8 was decided on however one did not turn...
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Richmond Vale

Development of the Remarkable Garden in RVA

At Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) the students are an active part in the management of the vegetable garden. The garden in RVA provides daily fresh food for the kitchen. The Garden at RVA RVA believes that education it's about practical experience. So, the knowledge that the students get by spending active time in the garden will allow them to understand the principles and techniques of sustainable agriculture. That’s why is so necessary to have a garden in RVA. Principles of the garden in RVA The main principle that we follow in the garden is permaculture . And, permaculture is a concept based on imitating nature, sowe need to increase the biodiversity of the cultivated area. So, in the garden in RVA we plant different species of vegetables taking into consideration the synergies that can be obtained among them. Also, there are different plant families that grow well together and other that compete for the same source. So, a strategic management and accurately planned cultivation allow the garden to work as a resistant ecosystem. Then, they are able to face the pests and limit their spreading. In permaculture is important to keep the soil healthy and to do so we keep it always covered either with plants or with mulch. And, in this way, the topsoil remains with moisture and the nutrients remains despite the rain or the wind. Structure...
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In The Making: New Amazing RVA's Rainwater Storage

The Richmond Vale Academy’s project to collect St. Vincent’s heavy supply of rainfall into rainwater storage is already under construction. Rainwater Harvesting [caption id="attachment_6558" align="aligncenter" width="500"] West-side view of the reservoir now under construction. Is a fact that for every millimeter of rain that falls on a square meter area, a liter of water is available for collection. This premises have been the key motivation behind Richmond Vale Academy’s project to collect St. Vincent’s heavy supply of rainfall into water storage tanks. Most necessary in the heavy rainy season running between August and November on the island of St. Vincent. Today, 1350 m2 of Richmond Vale Academy’s rooftop collects rainwater to supply 19 rooms and their occupants. And, this storage is the water source for WCs and showers, as partially provide water for the organic garden. Besides, the roof area is about 40 percent of Richmond Vale’s total and any excess water that overflows the water tanks is lost. This is why it's time for the Richmond Vale Academy to take its rainwater-harvesting system to another level. New Rainwater Storage We, the Climate Compliance Team 13, are building what would be a reservoir. This one will collect and store the excess rainwater the current tanks are unable to store. And, with about dimensions of a 100 m2 total surface area and the greatest depth of 2m,...
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Significant Experience at the Chateaubelair Farmers Market

After we had an investigation week, travelling across the island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , we identified some problems about the trading of the basic products that farmers produce at the Chateaubelair Farmers Market. [caption id="attachment_6549" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Richmond Vale Academy . Farmers Market One of the big problems we could identify was that the farmers had to travel to the capital to sell their products. And, this is because they don’t have too many places where to sell and buy their productions. So, we decided to start a local Farmers Market in North Leeward, in Chateaubelair. And since that point, we built tables for the farmers and got a tent. There, we made some workshops like, organic fertilizer and organic pesticides. Also, workshops of sub products production from the basic production farm, like jam, dry fruits, and so on. Grateful Experience It has been very interesting to see trading in its even more simple expression. Also, seeing farmers exchanging products among them, buying some watermelons and selling some garlic, buying some bananas and selling some sweet potatos, and so on. With this we are reactivating the economy of the village. And, working together step by step. The farmers market is a huge project that includes social development, volunteering, and helping with the mitigation of climate change. Besides, this project is generating income...
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Promotion Of Action

Richmond Vale Academy organizes different activities addressed to the St. Vincent’s community. For example beach and river clean up local farmers market or healthy diet education. These actions aim to attract interest on local environmental problems such as littering along streets, beaches, and rivers. Boost the local economy introducing small farmers market and prioritize healthy food consumption instead of process and imported food. In order to achieve our goals, we have to focus on a positive and productive way to reach the Vincentians . Construct a network and a bond with the community, knowing their life and understanding their needs and difficulties are key steps to be successful. Before to go out and spread our message in the street, we work on producing flyers, posters, banners and images to send out the information easily. This is a creative and group work initiative that gives you the opportunity to test your management and leadership skills. When we are happy with the results, we jump on the school’s jeep and “fly” to the villages near the Academy. This is the most important part of our promoting action: go around in the small group, two or three people. The population is extremely friendly, sociable and with small but constant efforts, it is possible to catch their attention. The presence of Selwyn is a great help to break the ice...
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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

Farmers Market Project

Farmer's market project is an initiative which aims to bring some good advantages for the locals while caring about our environment and our own health. The idea of the farmers market is a group of climate activists who wonder why there wasn´t a local market in the village despite being mostly farmers and fisherman living there. How did they manage to sell their products and soon?. After a bit of investigation we got to know that people were going to the city (35km far and 2 hours driving) to make their selling every Friday, that mean that they invest money, time, effort and fuel besides their work in the garden, and all of it just to sell their product to mostly the same people who live in their own village. Friday is the shopping day everybody goes to the city, takes the minibus and starts spending ¼ of their shopping budget just in transport. They pack all their stuff and they carry them all the way forward and back, some of them end up smash due to the long trip. So all those reasons together with the fact of promoting the local economy, organic food and use the change to spread Moringa use for the sake of the environment but mostly for their own health are some of the “why” a farmer´s Market in Chateau Belair...
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Children Visiting Summer Camps RVA.

Children Visits RVA From a Local Methodist Church Group. By Pippa From England. They were members of a summer camp, where they stay overnight for a week and partake in different activities. The children were age between 8 – 15 and and around 30 in total. The group visiting Richmond Vale for a few hours and organizing several stations for them to engage in whilst they here. Once the group arriving, the children were split into 4 groups of around 8 each. 20/25 minutes to spend at each station. Our first station dedicating to colouring in environmental pictures and the first of our activities. We want it to vary the actions to keep it interesting for the children, some sporty and some purely for learning. Also a station for vegetable and fruit bingo which got very competitive. Each child given a piece of paper with 9 pictures of different fruit/vegetables. One by one the name of a food calling out and if that fruit or vegetable on page then need it to cover it over. All the pictures covering up the winner and shout ¡BINGO!. There were several victory dances and I’m not sure who enjoying themselves more at this station the children or the RVA students running it who got extremely competitive. One station to creating pots for the children to plant their very own...
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