Richmond Vale

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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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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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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Once in a Lifetime

  Six months in Ecuador - Once in a lifetime experience!   The second part of my program as a volunteer was one of the best things that could come to me in my life. It literally changed my life in many aspects, it helped me to understand many issues related to poverty. The period in Ecuador lasted six months from October 2013 until end of March 2014. The opportunity to be a volunteer is a once-in- a-lifetime experience that allows you to use all your knowledge in practice, the opportunity to meet new people, the opportunity to share your culture as well as learn a lot about the new one, to learn new skills, to come across a new lifestyle, to discover a lot about yourself, you will be able to reflect on your own values, and the most important aspect of being a volunteer is to help other people! The project I participated in was Child Aid Celica. Celica is a small village up in the south of Ecuador very close to Peruvian boarders. In the village and in all the communities I was working in, everyone was friendly and they accepted me with open arms. The Child Aid project is a very broad program in which the whole family is involved in and many various activities are carried out in order to improve...
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The Best Year of my Life!

                  By Tjasa Zupanc, Slovenia THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE! One year of life can be very normal, sometimes even boring if nothing special happens. But I can’t say that for the last year of my life. I can’t use words normal, usual, nothing special, ok…Everything was different, new, exciting and most of all challenging. I’m talking about my life in Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), another kind of school that seeks for those who want to make our planet more equal and those who care about our nature and the place we live in. I was a part of Ecuador team for one year and before we went to the project in Ecuador where we were working with Humana People to People, a humanitarian organization established in Africa, Latin America and Asia, we were living very interesting but different life at RVA. But everything started much earlier, before I even heard about the school. It started inside of me when different feelings started to grow. Feelings which pushed me to do something that I was dreaming about for a long time. I always wanted to meet new people, see new places and at the same time learn new things and do something that is a bit challenging. I always found too many reasons (excuses) why not to go;...
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Moringa 10000

Richmond Vale Academy and its’ Climate Compliance Conference plan the next big step with a new project, which gave birth under the name of ‘MORINGA 10,000’. The goal is to plant  - hand in hand with the people of St. Vincent - 10,000 Moringa Trees around the island of St. Vincent, within 20 different communities. The aim of the project is to bring this miracle tree to this beautiful island, to teach about creating a better health for everyone, to teach about climate change and to make a positive action towards a better future for all on this beautiful planet. Moringa 10,000 Around Christmas time 2013, Richmond Vale Academy – teachers and activists - will go out to the public with the tree planting action in St. Vincent. 10,000 trees will be planted in 20 different villages all around this beautiful island. Together with mobilized people we will give birth to a new St. Vincent. Getting Started Today The Tree Planting Action will take place later, but we are kicking off the action already now in August. The Tree Nursery is getting a shape, soil is being prepared, the irrigation system is getting installed and the first trees are being planted. At the same time the project plan is getting more concrete and the next steps are being decided on. A Miracle Tree The Tree can...
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Life can be much simpler than we imagined!

It has been about two months since we arrived in San Isidro, Belize, for the project period in our Fighting with The Poor program. On the first weeks we’ve spent most of our time adapting to the new lifestyle and understanding a bit from the Project Leader what were our goals on the project. For this part, we had two meeting with local leaders, as the head of the women’s group and the “mayor”, visited local families to get their point of view of the situation they lived in and made a quick trip to see what the other DI’s had done in the village of Aguacate where they were last year. During this initial time, we had some free time that was put into making improvements in the house; we fixed a broken fridge, constructed our shower, closed leaks in the ceiling and bought new equipment necessary for our daily routine. We also spend quite some time playing with local kids, trying to understand a bit how life works in the village and how is the relation between family members and neighbors. After a couple of weeks, we felt more comfortable and could start some interaction with the locals. The first step was to build an organic garden and compost with our host family in our backyard. We are still struggling to get it correct...
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Effects of Poverty

The effects of poverty are so tightly interwoven with its roots that at times it results very difficult to determine if a poverty-related issue is a cause of it or caused by it.  Using education as an example of this: people living in poverty have limited access (if any at all) to education at any level, which in turn makes it nearly impossible for them to find a job with a wage that allows them to gain access to education. These people continue to be poor and their children are born into poverty, with no hopes of improving their lives. These causes-effects, or factors, that perpetuate poverty in a household are known as the cycle of poverty . Families who fall in this cycle tend to stay in it “for enough time that the family includes no surviving ancestors who possess and can transmit the intellectual, social, and cultural capital necessary to stay out of or change their impoverished condition” ( Melio , 2015). [caption id="attachment_3807" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Poor Kids in Rishikesh, India - Wikipedia THE EFFECTS OF POVERTY IN SOCIETY: CRIME AND STABILITY Another of the causes-effects of poverty is crime . Statistics reveal that these two issues are geographically related, e.g., one is certain to find crime where poverty abounds. This is not at all surprising, considering that the instability brought in by crime...
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Poverty Definition: Using the Capability Approach

Universal in reach and spanning millennia, poverty has been a problem of mankind for as long as the latter has existed. However, a final definition for it has yet to be agreed upon. According to Cambridge Dictionaries , an appropriate poverty definition is “the condition of being poor”; but this hardly seems sufficient for a multi-faceted obstacle to global development such as this one. It becomes evident, upon further inspection, that a definition for “poor” is necessary to establish a poverty definition; and this is where the discrepancies arise. What exactly constitutes being poor? [caption id="attachment_5962" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Poor children in Uganda - Photo Credit Pixabay The classification of an individual, household or country as poor or non-poor depends on the indicator used to study the subject. With poverty being a concept that depends on the definition of poor, each indicator has a different perception of it; and hence tackles it using an unique approach. Furthermore, standardized views on poverty product of statistical analyses differ from those of the poor themselves; which only serves to justify the existence of multiple definitions for it. Taking this into consideration, the capability approach to identifying the poor and hence measuring poverty is, perhaps, the most complete in today’s world. Poverty Definition: Using the Capability Approach [caption id="attachment_5963" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Pixabay Erenstein et al (2002) define it as an...
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35 of the best Martin Luther King Quotes

Martin Luther King Jr. was without a doubt one of the most important figures of the 20th century. He contributed to the advancement of Civil Rights in the United States through non-violent disobedience based on his Christian beliefs; and hence played a key role in shaping the United States as they are today. [caption id="attachment_5956" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Moreover, the work of Martin Luther King Jr. has echoed around the world, inspiring civil rights activists in places as far and different from each other as South Africa and Ireland. To honor his cause and legacy, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday of January each year. On the occasion of this day, we chose 35 of his most inspiring quotes. Read them below. MARTIN LUTHER KING ON LOVE 1. "darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." 2. "I have decided to stick to love... Hate is too great a burden to bear." [Tweet "3. "Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.""] MARTIN LUTHER KING ON HOPE [Tweet "4. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.""] MARTIN LUTHER KING ON RACIAL EQUALITY 5. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will...
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Respecting and loving nature

Beautiful nature The nature in St Vincent must be one of the world’s most beautiful ones. Always growing and always green. It amazes people who sees it from the sky or from the ocean and does something to you to be a part of it. On the nature weekend some of us had the opportunity to walk the Parrot trail , a 1½ hours walk in the eye of the jungle. Just by going up in the car through the valley towards the start of the trail kept us quiet and amazed. The start of the trail was on a wide road. Along the road there was a goat with her two baby goats drinking milk from her and making all of us melt by their cuteness. I keep getting impressed of what animals do to people’s feelings. Walking further ahead we heard the parrots making their sounds. Since I was little I have hated to see animals in cage, and especially birds. Birds have wings for a reason; I think the worst we can do to a bird is to lock it in so it is unable to use the function that represents them as a bird. Even worst is that it is animal lovers who do this to them. It was really touching to see them fly there free in the sky over the...
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Grey Water System

Grey water system in Richmond vale academy. The greywater is water that comes from the showers, laundry and kitchen. Basically is the water that contains inorganic particles like soap, oil and some synthetic compounds. This water once is used for differents purposes it is thrown to sewage systems or waterbody like rivers, lagoons and seas. These actions are very harmful for the nearby gray water effluent ecosystems and the environment. Having in account the facts that have been happening through the years (soil and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change) it is necessary take action about this situation that affects the whole planet. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1200"] How a Grey Water System in your house works Recycling water In Richmond Vale Academy we are building a greywater recycling system in which we are taking the water from the laundry and six showers, we estimate recycle about 1000 liters of water per day. For design and built this system, is necessary to consider the type of contaminants, the amount of water, available materials and the use to which it wants to give the treated water. The latter consideration is very important due to this kind of water can’t be used for human consumption, where is include drinking, showers, wash kitchen utensils and cooking. Some benefits that in Richmond Vale Academy we are going to get...
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Local communities taking action against Climate Change

Taking action against climate change Where many governments have been slow to act against climate change, cities and localities where the community has more direct influence on politicians have started to act to limit greenhouse gasses. In July 2015, Pope Francis gathered mayors from big cities around the world, who discussed how they could make cities sustainable such as planting trees, providing public transportation, making room for bicycles, installing solar panels etc. Because local communities for some time have acted on their own, this has started to push national governments towards more action. We see a change where cities and local communities are taking action for climate change. Financial capitalists begin to see the writing on the wall The pressure to move away from fossil fuels is finally having an effect on the financial capitalists, who are the major force behind the capitalist system. The governor of the Bank of England that issues the British currency warned investors in September 2015. He simply said that the vast reserves of fossil fuels could never be burnt and thus investors will end up owning useless oil or coal reserves and making huge financial losses. Goldman Sachs, the leading investment bank in the USA and the ultimate insider whose chief executives go on to become leaders of government agencies and central banks in North America and Europe, announced in...
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Learning From Nature

From the moment we open our eyes for the first time and throughout life we are learning constantly. We are primarily taught and inspired by teachers in school, our parents, friends and others. The specific environment we grow up in also has an impact on who we become, some of us grew up on the countryside, some in the city, some in a village or some , somewhere completely else. Most of us go to school and learn about the world and some of us see the world with our own eyes by travelling when we get older. But with this article I would like to speak about is, for me, the greatest teacher of all; nature. The meaning The word nature can have so many different meanings for each individual; it is really a broad concept. According to Wikipedia nature is “the natural, physical, or material world or universe. Nature can refer to the  phenomena  of the physical world, and also to  life  in general. The study of nature is a large part of  science . Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.” I found it very interesting that we often define nature as something explicit, something that is outside ourselves, instead of including it in what we are. Nature is life. Nature...
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Horses

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Scuba Diving

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Rooms

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Hikes

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Food Production

With soaring food costs, one billion people going hungry every day, fast food and junk food causing malnutrition, obesity and health problems, food production based on fossil fuels contributing to global warming and climate change – with all these problems and more, the question of how to produce and supply healthy food for all is a burning issue of our time. At RVA, you will be involved in food production on several levels and from different perspectives. You will study the issues globally and locally, getting the facts and investigating the consequences for ordinary people. Why are the people of St. Vincent, with their seemingly perfect conditions for farming, far from selfsufficient with food? What does it mean when giant corporations control food production with profit as their only goal? You will work in the academy’s garden farm, growing organic vegetables and fruits for own consumption, raising animals for meat, and growing lime, passion fruit and bananas for sale. You will learn how to plan and start garden farms as an important action when fighting with The Poor in Central or Latin America, and how to solve obstacles such as getting water for irrigation, making compost from local waste materials, and fighting pests without using harmful poison or expensive fertilizers. You will study and try out simple, efficient and sustainable ways of increasing crop yield, so farmers...
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Climate Change in St. Vincent

[caption id="attachment_4178" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Infrastructural damage in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines town of Georgetown, following the Christmas Eve 2013 storm. Photo Credit: trust.org In a lot of developed countries, and especially those in temperate climates, it is easy to think of climate change as something that is going to happen. A threat that will influence the lives of our children or grandchildren. However, in a lot of places people are already experiencing a lot of the negative effects of global warming . Particularly developing countries around the equator are seeing the impact and if you happen to live in a small island state you are facing an even higher risk. St. Vincent & the Grenadines , unfortunately, fits perfectly into all these categories. At  Richmon d Vale Academy we went out into the local communities to observe and talk to people about their experience with living in a place that is changing rapidly. Not all of the people we met were familiar with the concepts of Global Warming or Climate Change  but everyone could tell that their country was acting differently than it used to.       The consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Rising sea levels. As glaciers and icecaps are melting the sea level is rising. A group of older Vincentians we met told us...
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