Richmond Vale

Slavery Facts: Information on Slavery

Slavery is an issue as old as time and will continue to exist for as long as enslavers get away with it without consequences. Bringing justice to the victims of slavery, however, is not an easy task. Information regarding human trafficking and all types of forced labor is scarce even today. This makes it very difficult to gather data that allows for effective policymaking. But, the first step to solving every problem is to be informed about it, no matter how poor the available information on it is. Below we present you with a list modern day slavery facts: SLAVERY FACTS: BASIC CONCEPTS Slavery was abolished in most countries around the world in the 1850s, with Brazil being the last country to abandon the trade in 1888. Yet, it still persists under different forms and names. Modern day slavery was defined by the US Government on its 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report as: “The act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion” . Modern slavery is also sometimes referred to as “forced labor”, “involuntary servitude” and “human trafficking”, with the latter placing the focus on the transaction rather than the work trafficking victims have to do after they are traded. [caption id="attachment_3950" align="aligncenter" width="369"] Child soldiers in the...
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Richmond Vale

CHILD POVERTY: A THREAT TO CHILDHOOD

[caption id="attachment_3941" align="aligncenter" width="316"] Poverty: "Damaged Child", Oklahoma City, OK, USA, 1936 - Photo Credit: Flickr Children living in poverty are denied a good start in life —if any start at all. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) acknowledged this in December 2006, when it said that: “…while a severe lack of goods and services hurts every human being, it is most threatening and harmful to children, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, to reach their full potential and to participate as full members of society” . In reply to this, UNICEF, the UN branch responsible of promoting international child welfare, affirmed that it is precise to separate child poverty assessments from those of general poverty, as the latter usually focus solely on lack on income. This analysis is insufficient when gauging the atrocious effects of child poverty, as it hinders children’s access to things like nutrition, shelter and education, all of which are paramount for their  “survival, well-being and development” ( UNICEF , 2007). Child poverty is an issue that demands immediate action. A 2013 press release from the Word Bank states that although the number of people living in extreme poverty around the word decreased significantly over the last three decades, as of 2010 an estimate of 400 million children lived below the absolute poverty line. This is roughly one-third of the global...
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Richmond Vale

Feminization of Poverty

[caption id="attachment_3932" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Women selling groundnuts in Selima District, Malawi - Photo Credit: Wikipedia As defined by Madeiros and Costa (2008), “the feminization of poverty is a change in poverty levels that is biased against women or female-headed households” . In other words, it is a current phenomenon in which the gap between women and men in poverty is constantly widening. Madeiros and Costa go on to say that the feminization of poverty is a relative concept based on the differences between women and men living below the poverty line at any given moment. In this sense, “it does not imply an absolute worsening in poverty among women or female headed-households. If poverty is reduced sharply among men and only slightly among women, there would still be a feminization of poverty”. DIFFICULTIES IN MEASURING AND DEFINING THE FEMINIZATION OF POVERTY [caption id="attachment_3933" align="alignleft" width="200"] Homeless girl - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Madeiros and Costa coincide with Chant ( 2006 and 2008 ) in that the way the feminization of poverty is being measured is deeply flawed –or at the very least, it has plenty of room for improvement. Madeiros and Costa say that measuring this issue in terms of “poverty among female-headed households” or “poverty among women” does not accurately represent the feminization of poverty. They go on to say that while these indicators do give...
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Richmond Vale

Signs of Malnutrition

[caption id="attachment_3925" align="aligncenter" width="319"] A young girl is checked for signs of malnutrition in Sindh, Pakistan. April 2012 - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Although largely considered synonyms, there is a marked distinction between signs and symptoms. A symptom is a subjective term used to define the changes felt by patients as consequence of a disease. A sign is an objective term because it encompasses the changes that can be measured by physicians ( Lee and Bishop , 2012). There is a gray area where a sign can be a symptom and vice versa, but it is not common to all cases. In this sense, the majority of malnutrition symptoms , especially the most severe ones, can be classed as signs. In the early stages, though, these can only be associated to malnourishment by a medical professional. The same can be said for other signs of malnutrition, such as nutrient deficiencies. NUTRITIONAL ASSESSMENT: EVALUATING SIGNS OF MALNUTRITION As mentioned above, the symptoms and signs of malnutrition can be easily mistaken for other diseases. This has led to the preparation of a nutritional assessment when evaluating the possibility of malnutrition. The assessment consists of: Historical information: Encompasses obtaining information regarding the patient's socioeconomic, health and diet status. These factors reflect the intake and use of nutrients, as well as the potential presence of congenital diseases that could impair proper nutrient absorption. The socioeconomic...
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Richmond Vale

Malnutrition Symptoms

[caption id="attachment_3915" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Starved woman in Africa - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Malnutrition occurs when there is an imbalance in an individual's dietary intake as a result of under-nutrition or over-nutrition. Disregarding the type, malnutrition is a serious health hazard, as it affects the proper functioning of the cells, tissues and organs, thus compromising bodily functions and the ability of the body to protect itself from external factors ( Saxon et al , 2014). Therefore, it's imperative to pay attention to the malnutrition symptoms in order to make an early diagnosis. GENERAL MALNUTRITION SYMPTOMS Sources: Nisha and Rajavel (2006) and Shils and Shike (2006) If there is a lack or overabundance of nutrients in the body —or if they are not being absorbed properly—  the entire organism resents. Some general malnutrition symptoms are: Lackluster and graying hair. The hair on malnourished people tends to be very dry and constantly falling off. Malnutrition symptoms showing on the face and skin usually encompass seborrhea, dermatitis, excessive dryness and rashes. Dryness in eyes that leads to corneal and conjunctival xerosis. Bitot's spots  —a buildup of keratin found superficially on the conjunctiva— are also among the malnutrition symptoms in eyes. The mouth is affected by the following malnutrition symptoms: dryness in lips that leads to painful inflammation on the corners of the mouth, teeth decay, halitosis, excessive salivation and retention of fluids in the tongue. The latter...
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Richmond Vale

Poverty Threshold

[caption id="attachment_3905" align="aligncenter" width="324"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty is defined by Erenstein et al (2002) as " the failure to meet the minimum adequate level required to satisfy certain vital functions".  This poverty definition goes beyond the basic needs a household has to meet in order to survive —it acknowledges the social nature of man and what he needs to feel truly whole. However, a holistic view of poverty is oftentimes too intricate to be employed in the statistic analyses used to identify the poor. It encompasses too many different variables and thus cannot be measured effectively. Therefore, in statistic analyses, a parameter is employed to separate the poor from the non-poor. This parameter is called the poverty threshold. DEFINITION OF POVERTY THRESHOLD In terms of absolute poverty , a poverty threshold is "the officially determined minimum income needed by a family to obtain a specific bundle of privately provided food and basic services" ( Dixon and Macarov , 1998). The absolute poverty threshold is invariable once established, except for the cost of this "bundle" of food and services—also called a nutritional basket. Sometimes services are overlooked and the cost of the nutritional basket is calculated solely in terms of meeting a predetermined food energy requirement. However, it is more common to do poverty threshold calculations based on food regularly consumed by the local poor, adding on top an...
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Richmond Vale

Effects of Climate Change in The Future

[caption id="attachment_3889" align="aligncenter" width="358"] Arctic sea ice melting: the lighter blue areas are ponds, while the darker ones are open sea - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Despite the fact that global warming and climate change are not the same , people out of the global scientific community often use both terms interchangeably. This is often employed as an awareness strategy by mass media outlets, as studies have shown that people are more responsive to “global warming” than they are to “climate change”. The main reason behind this is that the laypeope associate global warming to impending catastrophe, while climate change is relegated to natural shifts in weather. This may be fundamentally wrong, but it makes information regarding the topic much easier to assimilate. Also, upon further inspection of the effects of climate change and global warming, it is evident that they are so deeply related that talking about one of them necessarily encompasses talking about the other. In a previous article, the effects of global warming were discussed in detail. What is interesting is that those same problems are listed in several official websites, including the one of the World Meteorological Organization , as the effects of climate change. The reason behind this is that global warming and climate change act like a matryoshka doll. Global warming causes climate change, which in turn causes sea level rise,...
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Richmond Vale

Poverty Alleviation: A Dynamic Approach

[caption id="attachment_3877" align="alignright" width="344"] Photo Credit: FMSC - Haiti The understanding of the following two things is vital in poverty alleviation: 1) There is no one who understands poverty better than the poor 2) National economic growth is not equal to inclusive economic growth. The relevance of these affirmations lies in that oftentimes, ineffective policies have been implemented when battling poverty because policymakers ignore them. Poverty alleviation is a herculean task in that it seeks to eradicate a problem with endless branches . Therefore, solutions must come from a multidisciplinary panel that does involve the experts, but not at the expense of overlooking the poor. POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN CHINA: COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION Source: China: Poverty Alleviation Through Community Participation [caption id="attachment_3876" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Rural chinese people represent 80% of China's poor - Photo Credit: Pixabay Although the efforts made in China towards poverty alleviation have been largely successful, according to the World Bank, the remaining poor are becoming increasingly harder to reach. These people are living in remote, almost inaccessible villages in China’s western and central regions, which makes conventional ways of poverty alleviation highly ineffective. From 2006 to 2010, the World Bank and other investors executed a program in 18 counties of China’s Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, as well as in the autonomous region of Guanxi. This program aimed to implement participatory planning and decision making...
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Richmond Vale

Characteristics of Poverty

[caption id="attachment_3868" align="alignright" width="300"] Labourers in a rural area of Hyderabad - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty adopts many faces, depending on where the poor are located and how long they have been on the negative side of the poverty line, as well as the cause behind their status and the level of poverty they experience. The differences between those facets help in the design of policies specifically designed to tackle each case. However, there are strong patterns among all kinds of poverty that permit the outlining of general characteristic of poverty. A 2014 report by the Census Bureau of the United States found that the level of education is deeply related to poverty. Said report cited 28% of people aged 25 or more who did not have a high school diploma as living below the poverty line. This doubles the amount of poor people with a bachelor’s degree of higher. This pattern is not exclusive to the United States — Wodon and Ayres (2000) obtained similar results in a study of Latin America and the Caribbean, where “better educated household members reduce the probability of being poor” . Other characteristics of poverty are how the spending money is distributed — most of it goes to food, followed closely by housing and fuel. A minuscule amount is used in healthcare ( Ahmed et al , 2000) — ...
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Richmond Vale

Malnutrition Definition

[caption id="attachment_3855" align="aligncenter" width="383"] An overnourished child - Photo Credit: Flickr Malnutrition —also called malnourishment— is ingrained in the collective psyche in the shape of a tiny child with protruding ribs and a bloated belly. But while acute starvation is a facet of malnutrition, the reach of this issue goes well beyond the people who have nothing to eat. This affirmation is supported by the malnutrition definition provided by Savage et al (2015) where: “Malnutrition occurs when the intake of essential macronutrients and micronutrients does not cover, or exceeds, the body’s needs for healthy growth and maintenance” . This malnutrition definition encompasses under-nutrition and over-nutrition, as well as micronutrient deficiencies caused by illnesses. MALNUTRITION DEFINITION: IS IT ONLY “THE NON-INCOME FACE OF POVERTY”? As cited above, not only the starving are malnourished and hence, hunger is not the sole cause for this issue. Over-eating, as well as neglecting the quality of food and the failure of the body to properly absorb and utilize nutrients are all causes of malnutrition that manifest themselves in different forms and must be treated differently.  However, global organizations often narrow down the malnutrition definition until it is a synonym of undernourishment. The reason behind this is the urgency with which starvation needs to be tackled in order for the world to continue developing. In other words, when people are dying from hunger...
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Richmond Vale

Types of Poverty

Just like it would be preposterous to ascribe all instances of poverty across the world to a single cause, there is a component of absurdity in considering all poverty as the same. Poverty , what causes it and how it is experienced is something specific to each person living below the poverty line. This makes the issue a spectrum that must be treated, if not as such, as a scale in order to understand it. Therefore ⎯and much akin to how the established causes of poverty are merely a study of significant global trends⎯ the existing six types of poverty serve as blanket statements for certain groups of poor people. This classification is based on how the people in these groups got to poverty, where they live and how they experience the issue. ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE POVERTY All other types of poverty can be reduced to these two: Absolute poverty is measured in terms of access to basic necessities. It is defined in the Declaration of Copenhagen as: “A condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but on access to social services” (United Nations, 1995) Relative poverty “refers to deprivation that is relative to the standard of living of other members of society” ( VISTA Integrated...
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Richmond Vale

Global Warming and Climate Change

A press release from the World Meteorological Organization describes the global average temperature in 2015 as “likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era”. The WMO also states that the years spanning 2011-2015 are bound to be the warmest five years in history and ascribes this to extreme weather and “human-induced global warming”. [caption id="attachment_3820" align="aligncenter" width="517"] Lake Powell at 42%, 2014 - Photo Credit: Flickr This “extreme weather” encompasses an unusually strong El Niño in 2015, which led to a global coral bleaching event and below-average rainfall in countries across Central America, the Caribbean and Asia. The latter saw its opposite in the United States, Mexico and several South American countries, as well as Southeast Europe, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where instances of 24-hour totals exceeded normal monthly means. These unusual precipitation patterns caused severe drought in some countries and floods in others. Other effects are the rise in ocean heat and sea level, as well as heatwaves and an increase in regional temperatures affecting South America, Eurasia, the west of North America and Africa. Tropical zones such as the Northwest Pacific, South Pacific and Northern Indian Ocean saw an exorbitant amount of cyclones, while there was a decrease in sea ice extent in the Artic. The opposite happened in Antarctica, where...
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Relative Poverty

[caption id="attachment_3899" align="aligncenter" width="324"] Urban decay in Camden, New Jersey. One of the poorest cities in the US - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Iceland (2013) defines relative poverty as a “comparative economic deprivation” and says that “it is based on the notion that poverty is relative to a society’s existing level of economic, social and cultural development” . Iceland then converges with Poverty.org.uk in that both of them think that relative poverty is relevant, because it hinders the capability of households whose income is significantly lower than the average to partake in “ordinary living patterns, customs and activities” ( Poverty.org.uk , W/D). Poverty.org.uk also notes that if a significant amount of families fall below the poverty line it affects society as a whole, as this issue results in less social cohesion. The concept of relative poverty is useful in poverty analysis at large, as combined data on relative and absolute poverty can show how the global economy is moving.  In other words, if the data shows constant levels of relative poverty and diminishing levels of absolute poverty, this is most likely a sign of economic growth. However, “if relative poverty has decreased, the data may be suggestive of a world economic system that has moved in a pro-poor direction whether by design or by accident” ( Nilsen , 2009). This can be explained by the methods used...
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Richmond Vale

Absolute Poverty Definition and Threshold

[caption id="attachment_3893" align="aligncenter" width="323"] The Mathare Valley Slum in Kenya - Photo Credit: Wikipedia As defined in the Declaration of Copenhagen : “ absolute poverty is a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to social services” (UN, 1995). This definition does not take into consideration any other factors but the access (or lack thereof) an individual has to services critical to his survival. In this sense, it fails to acknowledge the social nature of men and that “ individuals have important social and cultural needs ” ( UNESCO , W/D). Therefore, it could be said that the approach taken on tackling absolute poverty is one that seeks to secure the life of those living below the absolute poverty line by providing them with access to crucial services. Thus, it is not concerned with the quality of life of those individuals and households. This relatively simplified view on such a complex issue led to coining the term “relative poverty” and subsequently, its definition. However, these two terms are largely based on income and consumption ( UNESCO , W/D) —two items easily measurable in statistical analyses— and still fail to grasp the multi-faceted nature of poverty. Ever since, social scientists have brought other...
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Carandre: I encourage you to join!

  For 3.5 billion years the climate on earth has supported life allowing species to diversify and flourish. In the last 10 000 years this unusually stable climate has allowed the rise of civilization and provided a home to seven billion people but the climate systems we depend on are becoming unstable. The atmosphere is warming at an alarming rate and from the Amazon rainforest to the frozen tundra our stable climate is heading towards tipping points. Small changes in our oceans, ice sheets, or forests can tip the balance and change our world forever. Dramatic changes are happening in the world right now due to climate change. The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference takes concrete action to make our small island safe for all life here and a model for the world. Get Involved! Meet student Carandre from St. Vincent 
Richmond Vale

Judit - How I learned to live and love my life

                    I was born in 1980 on the countryside of Hungary, which definitely has determined my whole life. Since I was born I was always close to nature and animals. Our family house has its own backyard garden, which makes my family to be almost self-sufficient. I always loved the country lifestyle although I moved to the capital and lived an urban life because of my studies and work. In the last 10 years I was working in the film business and living a very stressful life. I wanted to change my way of living. I wanted to live a more honest life and open my mind. In addition to helping people who live in unbelievable living circumstances. It was also a huge challenge to me to test my limits and myself. Me, as a citizen of a 21st century coming from a developed European capital, I thought I lived my life in a very comfortable and easy way. I used a mobile phone, Internet. I could eat, drink, sleep and do whatever I wanted to do, anytime. I wanted to simplify my life and finally to concentrate on the most important things. I wanted to hear my voice within, and get closer to myself and to the world I’m living in. I was curious to see...
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Climate Compliance Conference Pioneer

                    STUDENT STORY FROM SEULBEE - THE FIRST GAIA TEAM! Before my coming here, I was just a freshman of the university in my country. I always wanted to do something helpful for others in my life. And I found a good chance to make changes in Saint Vincent and Grenadines. Through 6 months, I didn’t make a big change. But when I look back as a Gaia team, I can see that we achieved a lot. We made garden for community, taught children in school, went to radio station, recorded TV program, participated lots of international environment activities like Earth Day and World Coastal Clean Up Day, ran Gaia Kids Club and Gaia Adults Club, fund-raised for Gaia News Letter, and mobilized community and so on. Everything was not easy because we were the First Gaia Team. But finally we carried it through together. I still have to learn more but I learned a lot from little to big things. Now I know how to make composters, make seedling, put love until their growing and eat with gusto! Also I learned many things in school because we had to live together in school 24 hours and 7 days . There’s no mom or other person who will do for me. Now I do my things myself....
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Exxon Denying Climate Change

Exxon knew about climate change Exxon replaced the Esso, Enco and Humble oil companies in 1973, but its history goes back to 1859, where Standard Oil of New Jersey was founded. Exxon and later ExxonMobil has since grown to become the largest and most powerful oil company in the world, with a value of 360 billion USD, nearly 20 times that of Mozambique’s GDP. Exxon knew everything about climate change, and denied it. The Los Angeles Times, in cooperation with the Columbia University School of Journalism and a prize-winning website called Inside Climate News, have after months of thorough investigations reported that as early as 1979, top scientists at Exxon predicted quite accurately how carbon dioxide was accumulating in the atmosphere, and that the main culprit was the products sold by Exxon and the other big oil companies. Exxon scientists continued their research, and through the 1980s they developed climate models that all showed how the burning of fossil fuels influenced our climate by raising the temperature, which would cause serious climate change. It is now clear that the predictions made by Exxon scientists 40 years ago were very accurate compared to the actual rise in global temperatures since then. In the mid-1980s, these scientists laid out their predictions before top executives at Exxon; that temperatures on Earth would rise by up to 6 degrees Celsius...
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Richmond Vale

So much to share - So much to learn

My passion is to travel and help people. I finished high school last year and I was not sure of what to study and I wanted follow my passion before I made a decision on what to study, also I wanted to gain some experience. My decision of joining Richmond Vale Academy, Climate Conference was a perfect first step out of school. I can honestly say that I have learnt so much I did not know about before and I am grateful for the experience I have gained here so far. I am part of the 6 months Climate Compliance Conference; we concentrate on a lot of practical work although we still have some theory studying too. I am now half way through my course and it has been very productive and fun too. We have different periods in this course, first we get to know the school and learn our different responsibilities. Then we have a period called “Making Richmond Vale Academy Climate Compliant” here we had a chance to choose different projects on how to make RVA Climate Compliant. Our team chose to concentrate on making our own bio-char production, a worm production, a recycling garden and a low cost gutter irrigation system. Now we are in the period called “Making St. Vincent and the Grenadines Climate Compliant”. So far we have made plans...
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Richmond Vale

Can organic farming feed the world?

The agribusiness and industrial farmers have for years expressed that organic farming is unprofitable, maybe OK as a tiny niche for those who are willing to pay high prices, but certainly not anything that would ever feed the world. The view of agribusiness is probably not changing much, since they earn their money on selling their products to industrial farmers and their profits depend on the amount of products - hybrid and genetically modified seeds, pesticides of all kinds and chemical fertilizers. But as many smaller farmers show that it is actually profitable to farm organically and as more and more customers ask for organically grown products, and as the crop varieties for organic farming are developed, even some of the industrial farmers become interested in this.                   There are examples of industrial strawberry farmers in Mexico, who have hundreds of hectare under production who have seen some of their neighbors produce organic strawberries on a much smaller scale, and can see that the profit per hectare is actually higher. Not just because there is a better price, but most of all because there are much smaller expenses of spraying chemicals. The extra file connected to this task tells of some long-term trials to compare organic farming with conventional methods. They have run for more than 30 years at the...
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