Richmond Vale

Fourth Industrial Revolution: What comes next?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution —most commonly known as Industrie 4.0—; is "the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies" ( Wikipedia ). Its main characteristic is the introduction of smart factories; or machines with embedded web connectivity that are part of a larger system that visualizes the entire production chain and makes decisions on its own. While a neat transition from the Third Industrial Revolution might lead people to consider Industry 4.0 as an extension of it; the Fourth Industrial Revolution is no such thing. The fast-as-lighting pace of innovation heralds the transformation of entire systems of production, management and governance. [caption id="attachment_5931" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Comparative chart of the main characteristics of each Industrial Revolution - Photo Credit: Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES THE INTERNET OF THINGS [caption id="attachment_5934" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Pixabay It is a network of physical devices, means of transport, infrastructure, among other things; which use embedded technology to share information with each other or the internet. According to Jim Chase , of Texas Instruments: "The Internet of things creates an intelligent, invisible network fabric" which we can control, sense and program. Chase also stresses that the true promise of this network is "when invisible technology operates behind the scenes dynamically responding to how we want 'things' to act". CLOUD COMPUTING [caption id="attachment_5935" align="aligncenter"...
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World Environment Day 2016

We celebrate World Enviroment Day every year on June 5th. This event, which is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), seeks to raise global awareness and positive environmental actions to protect planet Earth. Such is its impact that the United Nations consider it the most important day to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. A little peek at history World Environment Day came to be on June 5th, 1974. Since then, it has become a global platform for public outreach which spans over 100 countries. Furthermore, WED serves as a catalyst for progress towards an environmentally sound society. It is the "People's Day" for doing something to help the planet; as well as becoming an agent of change. Finally, the World Environment Day fosters millions of different initiatives at the national and global level; as well as solo and group actions —everyone is free to choose. WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY IN SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES For this World Environment Day, we chose to plant trees to combat climate change and protect the environment. On June 5th the members of Richmond Vale Academy hopped on the school truck and took a ride to Petit Borden. A local rugby group had invited us to partake in a Tree Planting activity they had organized. Once at the event, we planted around 50...
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Richmond Vale

Food Forest: The End of the Manicured Lawn?

More often than not, we go to a neighborhood and see neatly trimmed grass and decorative plants in the entryway. The book definition of a manicured lawn. Is it pretty? Yes! Is it useful? Not in the slightest. In fact, lawns massively contribute to global warming and environmental pollution. If you are a gardening enthusiast, this might cause you a cognitive dissonance. How is this lovely grass you nurture detrimental to the environment? Keep reading to find out the answer to this question; and to learn about how you can still do gardening through an excellent, environmentally sound practice: growing a food forest. 1 HISTORICAL FACT AND 5 UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT LAWNS Current lawns take inspiration from the English landscape gardens, which became popular in Europe in the 1700s. The English gardens "usually included a lake, sweeps of gently rolling lawns set against groves of trees, and recreations of classical temples" ( Wikipedia ). They were a sign of aristocracy, as the landowner could afford to maintain unproductive land. [caption id="attachment_5853" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Fast forward to last century, after the second Industrial Revolution brought along industrial suburbs. Well-kept lawns "propagated the homogeneity of the suburb itself" ( Wikipedia ) . They were signs of good citizenship and increased the selling price of new homes. Today, manicured lawns are part of urban and suburban...
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BioChar: RVA's Green Project

Our Climate Change Activist program focuses on making of St. Vincent a Climate Compliant Country. This entails working shoulder to shoulder with Vincentians to build sustainable food and energy production systems; as well as leading an overall sustainable lifestyle . Consequently, the March Team for the program is working on a BioChar project that seeks to introduce a sustainable production of this resource in St. Vincent. As you will see, the production of BioChar requires a kiln. Our team is currently in the stage of building the pilot at the Academy; however, the plan is to build as many as 100 kilns throughout St. Vincent by 2017, thus instilling a BioChar culture among Vincentians. But what exactly is BioChar? How and most importantly, why should we use it? We answer all these questions below. WHAT IS BIOCHAR? BioChar is a type of charcoal which comes from biomass (e.g. plant matter and agricultural waste, etc.). Its primary use lies in soil improvement, which is vital in agribusiness because it protects plants against some foliar and soil-borne diseases. Once created, BioChar can endure in soils for thousands of years; consequently boosting food security, increasing soil biodiversity and discouraging deforestation. [caption id="attachment_5830" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia As other types of charcoal, BioChar is created by heating the biomass in a low-oxygen —or hypoxic— environment. The ensuing chemical reaction...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: 'Mobility as a service' will take over Helsinki by 2025

Helsinki's government is working on the development of a public integrated system which focuses on "mobility as a service". Consequently, the need for privately-owned cars might be non-existent in ten years. [caption id="attachment_5808" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Helsinki is pursuing an ambitious public and private transport project that focuses on mobility as a service - Photo Credit: Wikipedia The government of Finland's capital city is hard at work with a "seamless and integrated private and public transportation system" . The project would mostly use the transport infrastructure already at hand, as well as the cell phones and other digital devices we all carry nowadays. As a result, Helsinki's citizens would be able to pay for kilometer-based packages, rather than multiple tickets for individual rides; and they would also be able to arrange their rides. The city would have dynamic bus routes and "private operators" from whom one could purchase "mobility packages" based on weather, time of the day, etc. Read the full article by Bikocity below: RESIDENTS OF HELSINKI, FINLAND, MAY NOT NEED TO OWN THEIR OWN CARS BY 2025 In at least one Scandinavian city, owning your own car may not be necessary a decade from now, thanks to the forward-looking plans of the government of Helsinki, Finland. While the goal of eliminating the need for private car ownership in that capital city within 10 years may...
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From Winstead to Africa to the Caribbean - By David Christian

This article was originally posted on CICD Volunteering Africa . MY STORY AND I AT CICD I am David Christian, from Rochdale near Manchester. I was a DI at CICD —the 14 months DI programme, in March 2011. The project was at One World University in Mozambique, where my main tasks were the library, promotion and teaching English. My first experience in a developing country; the challenges were motivating the students, communicating in Portuguese, plus coping with the lack of running water, electricity and the comfort of my old life. This is what I wanted, to change myself in this aspect; no longer remaining in my comfort zone and to be ready to face these difficulties millions of people live daily. I returned to CICD and joined the Fighting with The Poor 24 months programme. I returned to Africa —DNS in Mkushi, Zambia, working in partnership— helping with the expansion of the college. Not an easy task visiting many companies for sponsorship; but from my experience in fundraising, you have to keep going until you achieve something. From my African experiences, I didn't try to change the world, but to change some people's lives and I'm happy I achieved that. WHY I JOINED RICHMOND VALE ACADEMY (RVA) I am very aware of what we are doing to our planet. We need to do something about it;...
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Richmond Vale

Third Industrial Revolution: The Digital Revolution

[caption id="attachment_5786" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia The third Industrial Revolution —or Digital Revolution— refers to the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to the digital electronics we use today. In the last four decades, the use of digital computers has become commonplace and the appearance of the Internet connected the world. If anything, the third Industrial Revolution is as extraordinary as it is normal . Firstly, it is part of the incessable modernization and reinvention process that defines the human race. Secondly, in the last two decades, information and communication technologies have taken tremendous steps forward. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to imagine not having access to an infinite information database, or a quick video call with a dear friend. We have smartphones, houses and cars. The third Industrial Revolution has essentially changed how we behave, think, communicate, work and earn our livelihoods. Let's see how this wave of technological innovation has shaped the world as we live it today. SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: PRESENT AND FUTURE Great Recession [caption id="attachment_5779" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Britannica It started with the crash in US housing prices. This event nearly led to the collapse of the global economy and generated major social displacement throughout world societies. Some of its effects still persist: High unemployment rates in US and Europe. Record youth unemployment across...
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Richmond Vale

Effects of Poverty on Behavior and Academic Performance

[caption id="attachment_5760" align="alignleft" width="300"] The effects of poverty on behavior and academic performance can be insidious and devastating. - Photo Credit: Wikipedia People have long argued that the way out of poverty is to provide the poor with the economic means to overcome their situation. However, this solution is rooted on a very simplistic view of a problem with multiple complex causes. Poverty places people at a disadvantage that is not only environmental, but also physical and psychological. It affects people's health, how they interact with each other and how they react to external stimuli. It even affects how and why they prioritize certain things, and their academic performance. These factors contribute to the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty in individuals, families, communities and countries. Hence why, money can only have long-term effects in poverty alleviation if policymakers tackle the socioeconomic, physical and psychological components of this issue in tandem. In recent decades, wealth and income inequality between the rich and poor has exacerbated. Among other things, this viciously limits the opportunities available to certain sectors of the population; thus increasing social disparities and tension between groups. As Sawhill (2003) points out, "not only does behavior matter, it matters more than it used to" . However, what this author fails to point out is that behavior is not entirely a result of an individual's own...
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Richmond Vale

Carbon Neutral Energy

With ever-growing energy needs in the world, we strive to leave as small a carbon footprint on the Earth as we can. Living in a boarding school which can house up to 75 people at one time, we came to appreciate how every small electrical device contributes to our collective energy spending. In becoming a climate compliant community we are currently in the process of switching into renewable energy sources. We research and experiment with different ways of producing the energy in our small island reality. We come up with affordable solutions which can be replicated in St. Vincent households, using locally available materials. We apply for grants and transform our school into a model climate centre where we lead by example. We are still at the beginning of our road to switch to carbon neutral energy, but we already have several working solutions in place, which we are constantly improving. Biogas We have started our transition to carbon neutral energy by constructing a small biogas plant, a system which transforms household waste into usable methane. The main part of the system is a called a digester. It’s a large black tank filled with bacteria that digest organic waste and convert it into methane gas. We feed the biogas plant with a mixture of domestic organic and kitchen waste, like fruit and vegetable waste, with other organic...
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Emergency Relief

I once again express our appreciation to you and your volunteers for your significant contribution to our pipeline reconstruction efforts in North Leeward. Garth Saunders Head of CWSA/SWMU As a student in the conference you need to be prepared to do whatever is needed when disaster strikes. We are in the world’s most disaster prone area and we will do what it takes to support our communities when it is in need. This is in fact a privilege, to be able to help where and when it is most needed. As many Vincentians geared up for what is usually considered the happiest, most festive time of the year, a disaster struck. Torrential rains from a trough system caused flooding, landslides and damage to housing and infrastructure in St Vincent on the 24 th of December 2013. The landslides caused massive damage, the airport closed, many towns were flooded, hundreds of people lost their homes and livestock. Many were injured and several people lost their lives. In the North Leeward the resources damaged or lost included electricity, roads, bridges and the precious commodity – water. Landslides damaged the water pipelines and 50,000 people were left without access to water. The Climate Compliance Conference and everyone at Richmond Vale Academy worked tirelessly to help restore the water pipelines in North Leeward, together with the Central Water and Sewage...
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Richmond Vale

Food and Water

At Richmond Vale Academy we aim to produce as much of our own food as possible. This way we can always be sure that our fruits and vegetables are fresh, free of pollutants and grown with love! [embed]
[/embed] We have an organic garden where we hold lessons for interested farmers and youngsters. Everyone at the academy are farmers and do their turns in the food production, whether it’s improving the water collection system, moving the chicken tractors, collecting eggs, turning the compost, harvesting fruits, producing delicious jam or making a salad for lunch. We are self-sufficient with most fruits and meat, and we produce 50% of our own vegetables and herbs. Most of the vegetables that we don’t currently grow are bought locally, from neighboring farmers. So far, more than 1,000 people have visited our model garden, received lessons and inspiration for a more sustainable, low-carbon and high-biodiversity way of farming. The Climate Compliance Conference participants help other organic gardens in St. Vincent like the Chatoyer Garden in the Vermont Valley, the IRM Urban Garden in Villa Flat, The Rose Hall Organic Garden, The Fitz Hughes Preschool garden and the Belle Isle Correctional Facility garden. We also harvest rainwater for most of our needs, and recycle the gray water for plants. It is very important to us to stay healthy and keep our planet clean, that’s...
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Richmond Vale

Public Awareness

Since the start of the Climate Compliance Conference, a big focus has been placed on environmental education. This type of education opens a whole new door of thinking and facilitates questions such as, what is Global Warming and Climate Change, how can we the people get involved, and what are the solutions to dealing with important contemporary issues. Hundreds of lessons have been taught across the islands in preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, technical schools, correctional facilities, Rotary & Lions Clubs, churches, business groups, youth groups, community groups, and to farmers. Several Radio and TV stations have aired programs about the reasons for climate change and newspapers and magazines have published a number of articles. Twice a year we publish our own newspaper with tips on sustainable living, voices from Vincentians on climate-related issues and interviews with professionals about the impact of climate change on our small island nation. Articles and programs on Climate Compliance in St. Vincent have been published and broadcast in several countries in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. Thousands of visitors have been to the Academy over the years, taking tours of our organic garden and observing our self-sustainable lifestyles. We have given numerous tours to single people and organized groups, during big events like the annual Earth Day and whenever we have visitors: schools, activists and tourists. We are...
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Richmond Vale

Farming in St. Vincent: Tearing Up the Environment - By Ammon

I went on an investigation with my team to learn about the farming in St. Vincent. We visited many people and gathered heaps of interesting information about agriculture, history, permaculture and people. When it comes to St. Vincent, I would argue that agriculture is the single most important industry in the country. However, it doesn't get much attention from investors, due to a number of different factors. ST. VINCENT'S GEOGRAPHY: AN OBSTACLE TO COLONIZATION AND INDUSTRIAL FARMING [caption id="attachment_5701" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: ARRL.org St. Vincent is a volcanic island, meaning that it has steep slopes and a multitude of ridges. These characteristics have truly shape the history of the island and its agriculture. Let's see how. The mountainous nature of the island made it extremely difficult to colonize during the surge of European imperialism. The same was not true for other islands, such as Barbados, whose flat geography became an obstacle when locals tried to resist colonization. Today, the steep ridges of St. Vincent make industrial farming impossible, because machines need flat land to work efficiently. FARMING IN ST. VINCENT: RECENT CHANGES Along with these factors, the St. Vincent farming industry has undergone some major changes in the last 30 years. These changes changed the landscape for present and future generations of farmers. The "Land Reform Program" of the 1980s and the 1990s changed the...
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Richmond Vale

Research and Studies

The global temperature is rising and the climate is changing, this we know is incontrovertible. There are, however, many things which we still don’t know and we admit to it freely. That’s why here, at Richmond Vale Academy, everybody strives to learn something new all the time, furthering our understanding of sciences, biology and sociology. We treat learning as a lifelong process and regularly hold morning assemblies where teachers and students alike share their knowledge with the rest of the academy. Whenever possible, we invite specialists in their fields or make study trips to investigate different ways of dealing with environmental, agricultural, and social issues. We learn from our Vincentian neighbours and friends, as well as from foreign journals and books. A few times per year we hold an Open Day at the academy, during which the teachers, students and guests exchange their knowledge and experiences with each other. Theoretical Studies at the Academy During the six months program of the Climate Compliance Conference we study and research, teachers give courses, and guest speakers are invited. You can expect to study from books and research, papers by scientists and laymen, the signs from observations of weather patterns, ecosystems, ocean temperatures and the atmosphere. Once you’ve left Richmond Vale Academy you will have learned about the causes of climate change, the effects it has – mostly on...
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Stopping Pollution

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Native American Proverb Although it’s not easily seen, we have a huge global problem with trash. Humans produce incredible amounts of trash, and only a fraction of it is recycled. It is not uncommon for the wealthy countries to export their waste to be stored in the poorer ones, so the nations who consume the least actually have the highest trash pollution! We have even started to pollute the Earth’s orbit. As much as 50% of plastic-made products are only used once, and according to our current knowledge, plastic takes at least 500 years to decompose. Recycling is costly and doesn’t apply to every product. It seems that the best way to limit pollution is to limit our consumption and re-use. In Richmond Vale Academy we re-use most of our trash. We have several bins in different places around the campus to collect kitchen waste (two kinds: for the pigs to eat and for feeding our compost / biogas plant), paper and cardboard to be used in the garden, glass jars and bottles to store our delicious home-made preserves, and plastics which we use in different arts & crafts projects with the kids. Unwanted clothes go into a pile from which everybody can choose something “new” for themselves. This way we...
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Planting Trees

If every university on Earth was destroyed we would lose nothing. If we lose the forests, we will have lost everything Bill Mollison In St. Vincent We Plant Trees! Tree planting actions and awareness campaigns are an important part of RVA’s curriculum. We partner with many different stakeholders in order to plant the most beneficial trees in several different projects. We plant shade trees with schools, fruit trees in communities, give away moringa seedlings for personal backyards, plant mangroves on beaches. Why? Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen that we breathe. One tree produces enough oxygen for four people to breathe. Their powerful roots stabilize the banks, preventing landslides and soil erosion; mangroves protect the wetlands, an important part of our ecosystem. Trees form a barrier against winds and regulate the temperature and humidity levels. They provide shade for people and crops, so important in tropical climate. As part of a bigger ecosystem, trees provide food and shelter for many different animals. Fast-growing trees ensure a good building material, while others give us tasty and healthy snacks! Planting 10 000 trees in disaster areas On the 24 th of December 2013 a terrible natural disaster occurred in St. Vincent when torrential rains caused massive floodings and landslides, leaving thousands of people without shelter. After helping with the initial repairs and clean ups, the activists from Richmond...
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Richmond Vale

Ammon's Experience at RVA

I have lived at Richmond Vale Academy, on the Island of Saint Vincent, for about three and a half months. Myself and two other people started the Fighting Poverty program at the beginning of April 2016. The program lasts 18 months and is full of outstanding experiences. These range from a week-long Agricultural Investigation, to planting trees, to teaching people how to work the garden and kitchen for common action. You can read plenty about these experiences on our blog . However, what I really want to tell you about is the first period of the Fighting with the Poor program. MY EXPERIENCE IN THE FIGHTING POVERTY PROGRAM The first six months of this program are the study period. In the Fighting Poverty program, we devote a decent amount of time to our studies. If you take them seriously, the study and research you do will give you a perspective that can't be bought or sold. During the first three months, we focus on the Contemporary World. In this unit, we study how society became what it is now and why it favors some while neglecting others. The Contemporary Studies earn us credits at One World University. Their main purpose, though, is to prepare us for our Service Period . They give us the knowledge and tools to contextualize the difficulties people face in developed and...
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NEWS: Greenland's Melting Rate Has Tripled

What happens if the world warms up by 2°C? That seems to be the trillion dollar question everyone is asking. However, much smaller increments in temperature have already caused mayhem, as shown by Greenland this year. [caption id="attachment_5647" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Greenland's melt in 2012 - Photo Credit: Flickr Greenland's melt rates have increased over the years, but recent research shows that they might be faster than anticipated. The region lost 1 trillion tonnes of ice between 2011 and 2014, and scientists say it lost 9 trillion tonnes in the last century, most of which come from just five glaciers. Greenland could cause a rise in sea level of over six meters, were it to melt entirely. It is thought that this will happen over the next 140 years at this rate, with irreversible melting happening at temperatures 1.22°C above pre-industrial era. Read the full article, as published on The Independent , below: GREEN LAND LOSES A TRILLION TONNES OF ICE IN FOUR YEARS AS MELTING RATES TRIPLE Las century, Greenland's ice sheet lost about 90 billion tonnes a year, but this has now increased to 269 billion tonnes a year It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble — but now, new research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study , published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters...
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Second Industrial Revolution: The Technological Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution was another great leap forward in technology and society. New innovations in steel production, petroleum and electricity led to the introduction of public automobiles and airplanes. You wanna know how everything began? Let's see The Second Industrial Revolution, which began in the middle of 19th century (1850-1970). It was a period of growth for pre-existing industries and expansion of new ones; such as the steel, oil and electricity fields. The development of new technologies led to the introduction of two things that would change the world: public transport and planes. [caption id="attachment_5604" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Industryweek.com The Second Industrial Revolution enabled globalization and created a rough draft of our world today. Interesting, right? Let's take a look at what people invented during this period and how it affected mankind. A REVOLUTION FULL OF INVENTIONS During the Second Industrial Revolution, the existing manufacturing and production methods were improve. For instance, steel replaced iron in the building business. It was strong and it was cheap. So, it made possible to build rail lines at competitive cost and spread transportation. Steel also facilitated the construction of ships, skyscrapers and larger bridges. [caption id="attachment_5605" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Steel displaced iron because it was stronger and cheaper - Photo Credit: Amazonaws Although the Second Industrial Revolution happened just a few years after the first Industrial Revolution, it was...
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Richmond Vale

Learning the Language of Horses

Johnny's Journey I want to thank you for the opportunity of learning the language of horses. My experience with horses was an amazing one. It was full of knowledge, patience, control and observation. It was thrilling from the start, because it is about connecting —in a deep and very spiritual way— with another form of life. Learning the language of horses was very similar to learning any other language, like Portuguese or English. I completely forgot that I was learning how to comunicate with another species and just started to understand the horse's language. [gallery type="slideshow" size="full" ids="5585,5586,5587,5588,5589,5590,5591,5592,5593" orderby="rand"] Horses, and any other form of life, communicate with their body. Understanding their language is trying to make sense out of their expressions. How they move their ears or what they are looking at; how they move. Every detail says something. It is very much like people! Words only make up 10% of our communication. Our bodies speak for us 70% of the time and the remaining 20% goes with how we say things, rather than what we say. I now understand the depth of the horses' language and why I felt so comfortable with them. Connecting with the horse in his language is very pure. You need not to pay attention to words or how they are being said, but just how the body moves. Horses...
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