Richmond Vale

An Open Letter for an Open Future

An Open Letter for an Open Future
Dear all, We wish you a very Happy New Year and like to share an article from a subject that the  18 months Fighting with The Poor Team study at Richmond Vale Academy . The concept of Open Future zooms in on the Future. Not the past, not the present, but the future. With lessons learnt from the past, we can influence the Future through the Present. The concept of Open Future consciously looks at the future as something that we can have an influence on, as something with possibilities, as something that we can take decisions about, something that we can plan for, as something that we can conquer. We want the Future and we want it without an end in sight. This is Open Future! The other future, the opposite one, we call the Closed Future, which is a future with an end. As a human society at large (as well as each one of us by him or herself), we do many things that support a Closed Future for Humanity – even though we don’t want to act like that. In those acts we don’t consciously consider the future as something with many different possibilities that we can pursue, but instead we consider it as something that is already decided. That is closed future. The concept of a closed future is omnipresent. It...
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Richmond Vale

Caribbean Leaders to Create World's First Climate Smart Zone

Caribbean Leaders to Create World's First Climate Smart Zone
With the right domestic and international reforms, the world can take climate change by the reins. The Caribbean will be home to the world’s first “climate start zone”, an initiative dedicated to the discovering new ways to break through the systemic obstacles that stall the flow of finances to climate-conscious investments. The announcement at the One Planet Summit in Paris Tuesday when the international assembly was called to discuss progress made since the signing of the Paris Agreement two years ago. The ambitious strategy centres around the belief that with the right domestic and international reforms, the world and the Caribbean can be weaned off its dependency on fossil fuels to adopt renewable sources. The plan will set the foundation for a US$8 billion investment plan to strengthen the Caribbean infrastructure for long-term resilience and transform 100 percent of the 3.2 million homes across the region to energy efficient households. “This is a great first step. Now we need to turn this possibility into a set of realities that benefit all our people,” said Grenada Prime Minister and CARICOM chair Keith Mitchell. “We all need to work together to change the rules of the game to accelerate climate-smart financial flows for the Caribbean and other small island developing states. Together we can build thriving economies fuelled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation. The time for...
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Richmond Vale

New Irrigation System at RVA

New Irrigation System at RVA
Our current period in the program is called “ Making RVA climate compliant ”. We split our team, my group was responsible for setting up a new irrigation system for our garden and especially the tree nursery. This is part of a project to plant 6,000 soursop trees in St. Vincent. Currently, rainwater for the garden is collected in a pond. From there, it is pumped up using electricity from the grid. We wanted to change this by using a solar pump. Now, when the sun is shining, the water gets pumped into an elevated tank. From there, it can be used whenever it is needed just by the gravity and without any additional energy. This makes the garden more self sufficient and independent from fossil fuels.   The first step was the planning. We made a general concept where we want to install each component and measured the distances for the pipes. Then we prepared a shopping list for all the materials required. After this, we started to dig trenches to lay down the pipes. Another task was to fix the pond. Every time it had rained a lot, the pond overflowed and the soil around was flushed away. We installed a new overflow, put the soil back and planted vetiver grass to stabilise the soil. A problem was finding a good tank with enough...
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Richmond Vale

Environmental Preservation- Synonimity with Social Justice

Environmental Preservation- Synonimity with Social Justice
Much of the focus of sustainability and environmentalism in recent years has shifted to raising awareness on Climate Change. Understandably so, since the rising temperatures we are currently facing are leading us to an equally exponential rise in disasters and a domino effect of damage that when at some point reached, might prove to be irreversible. There is much disagreement surrounding this kind of bold statement. The scientific studies and research is there however, for those brave enough to look. Regardless to how one feels about Climate Change: it’s a Hoax; environmentalists are sensationalist; the planet has always undergone different climatic ages. All fair points even. However, amongst both sides it could be of relevance to focus on a more present and more important message that opposing views might find a common ground through- How Environmental preservation and better resource management is extremely beneficial to human welfare and development , irrespective of whether Apocalypse is coming, now…or then. On many occasions I have had in response to the path I have chosen, the assumption made about me that I am a tree hugging; nature loving, hippie eco- warrior. Though some elements of this I can’t deny, especially when I’m frequently spotted in an embrace with a Willow or now in St Vincent a Mango or Bread Fruit, it’s not really actually the case. The reason why...
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Richmond Vale

St Vincent, God save the Queen!?

St Vincent, God save the Queen!?
It’s been only a few days since my arrival in St Vincent and the Grenadines . A few beautiful days were my eyes have been open to the beauty of nature and where already I have fully fallen for this charming island and its amazingly lovely inhabitants. A few qualms have already risen however, one in particular which holds coincidental synergies with what is happening back home in London. I reached into my pocket the other day to inspect the local currency. Notes usually give some clues about relevant facts on the local history and whilst I’m here I intent to also learn about this beautiful place. I was surprised however, to see the head of the queen smiling back at me and I joked- I’ve come all the way to the other side of the world, and still, I can’t escape this woman’s portrait. Now I’m no anti- royalist , I accept to some extent that the Royal family is part and parcel with British culture and  being originally Maltese I don’t see that I’m in the right position to contest that…at least within the UK. I then went on to discover that St Vincent is in fact a sovereign state and although it is in fact  considered  ‘Independent’, it is in actually Her Majesty’s Territory. According to Cahil: 'She is Queen of 32 countries,...
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Richmond Vale

A warm welcome

A warm welcome
So....I don´t know where to start, so much has happened, so I will probably best start by introducing myself: I am Tessa, 19 years old, from Germany and -yes, hard to believe when looking out of the window and seeing the blue ocean –  am currently at the Richmond Vale Academy on St. Vincent!   Richmond beach Another great thing I noticed first was that Stina and the other teachers are really passionate about the projects and making SVG climate compliant. I am really looking forward to working with these people and my team and I am sure I will learn so much in those 6 months – not only about environmental protection and organic gardening in our daily classes but also about living in and growing as a community. 
Of course you may think “It can´be perfect paradise, right?” and it isn´t, there are and will be daily challenges like no electricity or Wifi but we always try to find a solution or work around it. I don't think “perfect paradise” exists and that there will be always problems to work on but in the process of finding solutions to challenges make humans grow. 
So far I have the feeling that exciting but at the same time challenging 6 months lay ahead of me. By Tessa, November Climate Compliance Team
Richmond Vale

Global warming as crime against Humanity by Jomo Thomas

Global warming as crime against Humanity by Jomo Thomas
Plan Talk, Nov. 1 2017 With increasing frequency, the Caribbean has been experiencing heavy rainfall, devastating floods, monster hurricanes, very hot days and nights as well as prolonged periods of droughts. So far this year, the region has witnessed two category 5 hurricanes that that wreak havoc in Dominica, Tortola, St Croix, BVI, Turks and Caicos, St Martin, and Cuba   In responding to this absolutely life changing, indeed existential threat, Professor Anthony Chen, speaking at a climate change forum hosted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, suggested that Jamaica should seek economic restitution from global polluters at the international Court of Justice (ICJ). It is a cause all Caribbean nations should embrace. As Dr Chen noted that the dangers and threat of global warning has been well established since the 1990s, but the countries responsible have not taken any significant steps to reduce greenhouse gases. The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accords and the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency is a global warming/climate change denier. No serious planner in the region can fail to factor the deadly issue in yearly if not daily or monthly brain storms. Towards the end of 2013, Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent experienced devastating storms. The Christmas Eve storm took 13 lives and caused more than $300 million in damage, about 17 percent of Gross...
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Richmond Vale

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

Mi experiencia en RVA (Spanish & English Version) by Nelson Ramirez

Hola a todos! Acabo de iniciar mi experiencia en el programa impartido por RVA llamado “ Luchando contra la pobreza ”. Es mi tercer día en el centro de estudios y estoy gratamente sorprendido en varios aspectos:   1. La belleza natural que rodea la escuela es impresionante, estamos cerca de ríos, cascadas y del mar.  Al atardecer en la puesta del sol, se puede apreciar paisajes de una belleza única.                       2. Los temas que están propuestos en el programa son súper interesantes, muy actuales y el material de apoyo es muy completo. Este material de apoyo ha sido en su mayoría elaborado por los estudiantes y profesores de la escuela.   3. La diversidad cultural que se encuentra en la escuela hace muy enriquecedora esta experiencia (en el centro de estudios se encuentran más de 15 nacionalidades), adicionalmente la posibilidad de comunicarnos en el inglés como idioma común para todos hace que esta experiencia sea apropiada para aquellas personas que desean mejorar sus habilidades en el manejo del idioma inglés. Nelson Ramirez – Colombia English version   Hello everybody I am Nelson from Colombia, this week started my experience as a part of the team called “ Fighting with the poor ”. It is my third day at Richmond Vale Academy and really surprised for...
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Richmond Vale

Flashbacks to our first weeks – watch the video!

This video is a compilation of the different experiences we had during the first seven weeks in six-month climate compliance program. The collection includes among other things: Visit to animal production site Charcoal lecture Breadfruit festival face painting activities Visit to soil lab Hike to volcano Open day festivities Working on a home garden. Video was created by Mikel. Hope you enjoy it! [embed]https://youtu.be/_rbymk6sDtQ[/embed]
Richmond Vale

Do you know this numbers?

Do you know this numbers?
  2°C 565 Gigatons 2795 Gigatons Do you know this numbers? For us and our future generations it is very important to know about it. Our climate changes very fast, faster than we want to be true.  To explain the numbers I have to start with a calculation: In all medias we can read about CO2 and that we have to reduce the CO2 emission. But first we have to know how much is too much? Jim Hansen and his Team at NASA studied exactly this and published which said, that we don’t know enough to know how much is too much. However any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350ppm is not compatible with the planet on which civilisation developed and to which life on earth is adapted. But 2013 we already had 395ppm CO2 and it is rising around 2 points every year. Everything frozen on earth is melting and the result is: - The great ice sheet of the arctic is reduced by more than the half- The oceans are about 30% more acidic than they were 30 years ago- The atmosphere is about 5% wetter than it was 40 years ago We have burned enough coal, gas and oil to raise the temperature of the earth one degree.  Now to the numbers... 2° C That’s how much the world has...
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Richmond Vale

Why start organic gardening

Why start organic gardening
People start organic farming for a lot of reasons, as a hobby, a way to eat healthier, to reduce their grocery spending, to earn extra income, etc. There are also many people (like myself) who do it for philosophical reasons as part of a value system. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy my work in the garden or on the farm, it's tiring and in my case there is quite a bit of trial and error, but I do genuinely enjoy it. Which I guess is lucky for me because my reasons for doing it would have me out working with the plants regardless. Now I’m not going to go on a sustainability rant or try to convince you that the ideologies to which I subscribe are right for everyone. The purpose of this post is to try to put organic gardening into a big picture perspective, because I feel that looking at it in that way not only enhances its value, and the fulfillment that we can get from it, but also it can increase our yields and reduce the amount of work that we have to do.   I guess that to begin it would be worthwhile to define “organic”, because it's a termthat is subject to interpretation. In the commercial world it simply means non chemical, which in my opinion isn’t...
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Richmond Vale

Carbon Footprint 101: How to Calculate it and Reduce it

Carbon Footprint 101: How to Calculate it and Reduce it
Carbon footprint is one of those terms that has gradually — over the last 10 years or so — moved its way from the obscurity into everyday conversation. But what, exactly, does it mean? What is a carbon footprint, how can you measure yours, and how can a carbon footprint be reduced? The term carbon footprint is defined as the amount of carbon (usually in tonnes) being emitted by an organization, event, product or individual directly or indirectly. Everyone’s carbon footprint is different depending on their location, habits and personal choices. Each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) either by the way we travel, the food we eat, the amount of electricity we consume and much more. However, there are people, organizations, nonprofit institutions (like Richmond Vale Academy ) and even local governments who have begun talking about the carbon footprint and motivating each other to put in place programs to reduce their carbon footprint, like our Climate Change Activist Program . Click here to go straight to how to calculate it Click here to go straight to how to reduce it What are Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Greenhouse gases are a group of gases that are able to trap heat (longwave radiation) in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth's surface warmer than it would be if...
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The Caribbean produce less than 0.1% of the global pollution

The Caribbean produce less than 0.1% of the global pollution
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Thursday championed the cause of Caribbean and other Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), which he said are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Addressing the 72nd session of the United Nation General Assembly, the Antigua and Barbuda leader noted that whatever position and nation takes on climate change, the evidence of global warming is now irrefutably stronger. “Two Category 5 hurricanes within 12 days, that unrelentingly pounded so many countries, can no longer be dismissed as ‘the vagaries of the weather’, nor can they be explained as ‘nature’s doing’. Hurricanes are stronger and bigger because they are absorbing moisture from increasingly warmer seas, caused by global warming,” Browne said. “And, that is a man-made phenomenon, whose manufacture is attributable to those nations, that consume 80 percent or more of the world’s primary energy, emitting dangerous levels of pollution into the atmosphere.” The prime minister outline how on September 6, Antigua and Barbuda was the victim of the ferocity of Hurricane Irma, the largest storm ever endured in the Atlantic in human history. He reiterated that Barbuda, the smaller of the two islands, was decimated; its entire population left homeless; and its buildings reduced to empty shells. Antigua and Barbuda was spared the full blast of Hurricane Maria just nine days later, although, Browne said sustained...
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Richmond Vale

The New Climate Compliance Conference Book is out

The New Climate Compliance Conference Book is out
Dear Friends! We are very happy to share with you the new Climate Compliance Conference Book ! From the introduction; Believing that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate, irrespective of their circumstances, the CCC program works with a diverse range of stakeholders ranging across cultural, social and economic boundaries. Participating members include local community and family members, international volunteers, community organisations, institutions as well as government bodies. During these first five years, the CCC has impacted upon the lives of 50.000 people in Saint Vincent and abroad. This program has been the platform of need, from which a springboard of hope has been built; to enable and empower several groups and communities. People have dived into action for positive climate change, from 2012 to 2016: 25.000 trees have been planted. Farmers have been supported by using more sustainable agriculture techniques. 15.000 students across SVG have been taught hundreds of lessons. 20.000 climate compliance newspapers have been produced and distributed. Furthermore, lessons on global warming and climate change have been given to 3.000 people visiting the Academy and to another 5.000 students and teachers at universities and colleges in Colombia, Guyana, Costa Rica, USA, England, Germany, Denmark, Norway, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Jamaica. It is, therefore, because of our dedication to climate change adaptation that we have chosen to celebrate our achievements and to...
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Climate change and Stronger hurricanes: Are they really connected?

Climate change and Stronger hurricanes: Are they really connected?
With Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma leaving destruction in their wake and Hurricane Maria looming in the Atlantic Ocean, the frequency and the power of the storms raises the question: How big of a role, if at all, does climate change play on these events? There are several vital ingredients needed for hurricanes to form. These include an initial disturbance in the atmosphere for the storm to form around, very warm sea surface temperatures to sustain the storm, and a lack of vertical wind shear so the storm is not torn apart during its formation. In the Atlantic Ocean, hurricanes often form near Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa. They then track westward towards the Caribbean and the US. Lots of factors can affect how strong these storms ultimately become, including how much time they spend gathering strength over the ocean, and the background weather patterns through which they travel. This storm season we have seen sea temperatures persistently about one to two degrees Celsius above normal over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, which has allowed stronger storms to form and develop. Atlantic sea temperatures have warmed over the past century , thus enhancing one of the key ingredients for hurricane formation. Hurricanes and Climate Change are they really connected? According to Ex-NASA Scientist James Hansen , there is a clearly connection between climate change...
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A brain-stormed organic approach to agriculture

A brain-stormed organic approach to agriculture
Caribbean countries are particularly susceptible to climate change related risks. For these reasons, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Ministries of Agriculture of the Eastern Caribbean States (ECS) and other partners launched a Regional Competition to identify, document and disseminate successful cases of the implementation of technologies and practices that are contributing to climate smart agriculture in the ECS. This competition is part of a broader effort to develop capacities and strengthen institutions to enable an effective response to climate change by the region’s agrifood sector. Richmond Vale Academy is featured in this book by IICA and the national winner for St. Vincent and the Grenadines featuring Climate Smart practises. The challenges posed by Climate Change Over the past several decades, multiple climate changes have occurred across the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), located in the Lesser Antilles, including increasing temperatures, changes in water availability and precipitation, and increasing instances of floods. The December 2013 floods, for example, adversely affected many agricultural zones across SVG and several regions are still recovering. These changing climatic conditions, especially over the last twenty years, have presented multiple risks to the country’s agricultural sector, affecting the productivity and quality of crops. Marked changes in rainfall dynamics, with more frequent and intense precipitation events, and more frequent and pronounced drought events that disrupt farming and...
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6 Month Gap Year Opportunity in the Caribbean - An Environmental Program

6 Month Gap Year Opportunity in the Caribbean - An Environmental Program
Today, thousands of people are taking gap years all over the world; travelling for months on end, doing it with relative comfort and ease. Today, a gap year can be anywhere, for any length of time, doing anything you want. You can build an orphanage in Belize; teach English as a foreign language in Israel, trek through the Himalayas in Nepal or travel around the 'banana pancake trail' in Southeast Asia. It really is whatever you want it to be. A gap year comes under many guises - backpacking, a career gap, a short gap (most of the times for 6 months); travelling, time out, a sabbatical - but they all mean the same thing. A gap year is constructive time out to travel in-between life stages. It usually means travelling, volunteering or working abroad. Often it means all three! Save the Planet in a 6 month Gap Year in The Caribbean! Climate change and global warming, are something real , and only we can do something to change that reality. If you are looking for a way to save the planet and meet new people, travel and live new experiences, then a 6 month gap year in the Caribbean is just what you need!   St Vincent and the Grenadines is one breath-taking nation made up of an island chain, part of the Windward Islands,...
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Richmond Vale

8 climate change facts that definitely make you think!

8 climate change facts that definitely make you think!
Climate change and global warming are hot topics these days. Studies conducted by various scientists suggest that climate change is happening and it could have devastating and damaging effects on human life. So, what is climate change? Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year. Or it could be a change in a place's usual temperature for a month or season. Climate change is also a change in Earth's climate. This could be a change in Earth's usual temperature. Or it could be a change in where rain and snow usually fall on Earth. Weather can change in just a few hours and climate takes hundreds or even millions of years to change. Climate Change facts Climate change facts show clearly that we need to act. Change is happening; the Paris Agreement set the ball in motion – though has been criticised for not going far enough –; and as well as nations including Portugal, Denmark, Costa Rica and Scotland producing huge amounts of energy from the sun and wind; Sweden is soon set to become the first fossil fuel-free country in the world; largely due to public demand in the past few years. The effects of climate change has already started occurring in the...
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Anita Joined the Team of the First EPONA Workshop in SVG!

Anita Joined the Team of the First EPONA Workshop in SVG!
We are very happy to receive Anita in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which will be part of the first EPONA: The Secrets of the Wild Horses , to be held at the Eco Center in February 2018. Anita is a certified Eponaquest Instructor, EAGALA Instructor, Yoga teacher, One Horse Life Teacher and a certified Health Coach. In her 47-year long life, she have been curious about horses and how to learn from them. Attending a traditional riding school at a young age left her with many more questions than answers on how to connect with these wonderful animals. In the Stina Herberg Website , Anita said that: “The search for knowledge has not always been easy as I found that the knowledge I was searching for was not always easily accessible. It has taken me on several journeys, some far away abroad to foreign countries. There have been many incredible horse-people that has inspired me through the years, people like; Carolyn Resnick, Linda Kohanov, Anna Marciniak, Klaus F. Hempfling, Fredrik Pignon, Jean Francois Pignon, Marc Rashid, Bill Dorrance, Marjike De Jong, Karen Rolf and Alexander Nevzorov, and Stina Herberg, to mention a few.” But at the end, the best teacher to understand horses, is of course horses! Anita said that her horses teach her how to be strong and positive, especially after suffering from stress...
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