Richmond Vale

It’s dangerous out there, they said! By Chris

It’s dangerous out there, they said! By Chris
By Chris Before we came to St. Vincent many people told us over and over, how dangerous it can be and how many things have happened in this island. They were talking about robberies and fights and so on. Of course, we were a little concerned about the potential danger ahead of us. I guess all such things happen here, but let’s be honest, they happen everywhere. No matter where you go, you will never be 100% save. As mentioned before, we were quite concerned about the things that might happen, but after almost 3 months I haven’t witnessed one single situation that seemed somehow threatening. In fact, the people here in St. Vincent are the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever met. In my hometown in Austria there were more occasions that made me anxiety. Everybody here is so incredibly friendly and chilled, with a few exceptions I guess, but in all my time here I haven’t met a single person that didn’t put at least a little smile on my face. I really think that if more people would carry a little Vincy-Sunshine in their hearts, the world would be a better place.
Richmond Vale

Hitchhiking from Georgetown down to Kingstown by Karolina

Hitchhiking from Georgetown down to Kingstown by Karolina
By Karolina After the fair organized by St. Benedict church, Shie-Shie, Ammon and I decided to stay overnight in Georgetown and hike up the volcano the next day. However, due to bad weather conditions up there we decided to hitchhike instead. The first thing we did in the morning was running to the beach and swimming in the stormy sea. The waves were massive; I am not even kidding you! Ammon was hesitating a bit but I knew we could not miss this chance! Shie-Shie was super scared but did not try to stop us. It was really hard to stay standing when the waves were hitting the shore. After swimming we felt so refreshed. 10:10 we reached the main road and caught a van which speedy brought us all the way down to the capital. It was Sunday morning, so Kingstown was incredibly quiet. We left the city center and tried to get a ride but unfortunately no matter how hard we tried nobody stopped for a while. To begin with, it is not very common to hitchhike in St. Vincent because if you are stopping a car and asking to give you a lift in most of the cases they will ask you to pay. After many failures, Shie-Shie started to show her communication skills. And then one man stopped for us!!! He was...
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Richmond Vale

5 Effects of Global Warming that will make you think about it! INFOGRAPHIC

5 Effects of Global Warming that will make you think about it! INFOGRAPHIC
The Effects of global warming, the heating of Earth's, oceans and atmosphere, was a topic of debates in the scientific community. Today, the overwhelming consensus of researchers is that the effects of global warming is real thanks to human activity.  This affirmation was supported, as of 2013, by 197 scientific organizations around the globe , which is a stark difference from the levels of awareness in common citizens. Perhaps it is because when thinking about global warming, humans do not see themselves experimenting it now. However, they look at projections for what the world could become if global warming prevails. The truth is, climatic change is not a storm in the making ⎯the downpour has already reached everywhere around the world. Researches about Global Warming According to a Yale University study based on data collected by Gallup in the 2007-2008 period, “about 40 percent of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change. This rises to more than 65 percent in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh and India” . While this is understandable in developing countries ⎯where people often lack a formal education⎯ it results puzzling in those belonging to the developed world, like the United States. Another study by Yale found that, in 2015 , “fewer than 2 in 5 churchgoing Catholics heard about it from their priest in the month after it was...
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Richmond Vale

5 Awesome ideas for reusing and recycling water!

5 Awesome ideas for reusing and recycling water!
Around the globe, people are working hard to protect natural resources before their depletion. People today are ‘going green’ to protect their land and to prove themselves as good citizens. Some think that the natural resources need not to be protected but increased pollution in rivers, streams and lakes has become a great danger for life. Other than that, due to increased population, the consumption of water has increased greatly. Therefore, it is very essential to protect water resources and to maintain the balance in the ecosystems. That's why you need to learn the benefist of reusing and recycling water. What are the Environmental Benefits of Water Recycling? In addition to providing a dependable, locally-controlled water supply, water recycling provides tremendous environmental benefits. Some of them are: #1- Decreases the Diversion of Freshwater from Sensitive Ecosystems Plants, wildlife, and fish depend on sufficient water flows in their habitats to live and reproduce. The lack of adequate flow, as a result of diversion for agricultural, urban, and industrial purposes, can cause deterioration of water quality and ecosystem health. People who reuse water can supplement their demands by using a reliable source of recycled water, which can free considerable amounts of water for the environment and increase flows to vital ecosystems. #2- It May Be Used to Create or Enhance Wetlands and Freshwater Habitats. Wetlands provide many benefits, which...
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Richmond Vale

Clarity and Inspiration

Clarity and Inspiration
By Sara Auerbach I chose the Climate Change Activist Program , because it was an opportunity to do something different and to engage in meaningful action. There were a few things that I hoped to gain from my experience at RVA: Clarity. I hoped the program would give me a better picture of how I wanted to move forward both career wise and in everyday life. Inspiration. I wanted to revitalize my passion for environmental stewardship and addressing social problems. Practical skills . I wanted to leave RVA with ahandful of new skills that would aid me in living a life that would be more sustainable, more conscientious, and healthier. I can honestly say that RVA helped me to achieve all of these things. I am grateful for my experience at the school and for the opportunity to travel, create new relationships, and to broaden my understanding of the world. I believe that the community projects and sustainability goals that drive RVA are a positive force in a world that sorely needs effective programs that build people up and take care of our planet. I will say that the program is not perfect; I experienced frustrations as well as doubts over the course of my time at RVA. Ultimately, these are the things that open our minds and help us expand the way that we think and how...
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Richmond Vale

St. Vincent’s geothermal development approach

St. Vincent’s geothermal development approach
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) with a population of approximately 104,000 people is 150 square miles and lies 60° 56’ West longitude and 13° 15’ North latitude, approximately 100 miles west of Barbados, 68 miles north of Grenada and 24 miles south of St. Lucia. From a morphological point of view St. Vincent shares similarity to the other Windward Islands, consisting of a central axial range of mountains starting from La Soufriere (1,234m) in the north, to Mt St Andrew in the south. The island is entirely volcanic with six main volcanic centres located along its central axis. Like most of the CARICOM member states, with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago and to a lesser extent Barbados, SVG is heavily dependent on imported oil for commercial energy need, particularly in electricity generation. The all-time high electricity rate of USD 0.43/kWh in 2014 was attributed to a 56% fuel surcharge. In response to the high electricity cost and oil dependency, the exploration of indigenous sources of energy became a top priority for the Government. A geothermal project became the preferred option given the limited baseload power alternatives and the already exhausted exploitation of hydro energy. Geothermal energy development , as stated by Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves, “will become the game changer for economic development in SVG” . The Prime Minister considers the reliance on imported oil...
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Richmond Vale

Planet of Slums

Planet of Slums
During the 18 months Fighting with The Poor Program , participants both study and take action to fight global warming and global poverty in St. Vincent, Belize and Ecuador. Part of this program is to also to plant trees, organize clean up actions, teach in schools and start vegetable gardens along with a number of theoretical studies to understand the causes of poverty. One of the study tasks focuses on the book "Planet of Slums" by Mike Davis , and here is from the introduction to the study task.   In 2008 the number of people living in cities for the first time surpassed the global rural population. The individual who tipped the scale might be a baby born to a city dweller or an adult migrating from the countryside, but in either case, it's likely that the newcomer will have arrived in a Third World slum. By 2030, an estimated 5 billion of the world's 8.1 billion people will live in cities. About 2 billion of them will live in slums, primarily in Africa and Asia, lacking access to clean drinking water and working toilets, surrounded by desperation, poverty and crime. Already these slums are huge. According to Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums, nearly 80% of Nigeria's urban population, or some 41.6 million people, live in slums. The comparable numbers in India are...
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Richmond Vale

How to look good in green

How to look good in green
Dressing sustainably can be very simple when you know what you’re doing! Commonly known as eco-fashion, it is the concept of taking into mind the long-term environmental and social impacts of our clothing every day. But often people don’t know what informed decisions to take in dressing fashionably without impacting the planet. For many people, this means recycling: instead of throwing away that tee shirt you ruined in the wash, could you make it into something? Could it become a cute pair of sandals, a pillow case, some cleaning rags, or a pair of socks through some careful stitches? In this article I’m going to give you... 10 steps on how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle your stuff! 10- Second hand shopping Instead of going to your favourite high street store go to a vintage store or a charity shop. It’s great for saving money, you might be lucky and find an amazing piece. It’s crazy what people throw away sometimes 9- Get your hands dirty! (don’t be afraid to D.I.Y) Go online and learn how easy it is to make your own clothes or accessories from recycled and old clothing 8- Shop on Ebay You can find second hand goods that are still brand new! 7- donate to charity stores Give back and instead of throwing your old clothes away, someone else might like your unwanted clothing....
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Richmond Vale

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project
Richmond Vale Academy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Chatoyer Garden, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund, will launch its home garden project today, June 5. The launch takes place at Richmond Vale Academy beginning at 13.00 with tour of the organic gardens and is open to the public. The Pass-It-On Model Garden Project aims to build the capacity of the local communities to live more sustainably, cost effectively and healthily by creating model gardens for families (or farmers) and for people to pass-on what they have learnt, to inspire others to start their own gardens. This project uses crop diversification and organic principles of production as a means of adapting to the effects of climate change while also using agriculture as a means of environmental protection. [caption id="attachment_11062" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The project teaches participants to cultivate food on small plots of land, without the use of chemicals. Using this model, a household or a farmer can use 800 square feet of land (a plot measuring 20 x 40 feet) to produce 130 heads of lettuce every two months along with 36 roots of chives soon after. Two intensive vegetable garden beds can produce okra, eggplant and hot peppers are other vegetables. An animal component can consist of a coup for raising two rabbits or layer five layer...
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Richmond Vale

Organic Bananas

Organic Bananas
New technologies are being introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture, to improve Banana Production in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Ministry is partnering with H2K Agro to conduct trials on Banana Farms with the aim of controlling the Black Sigatoka and Moko diseases that have been affecting the banana industry. Speaking at a media conference, Mr. Rex Suckoo, Representative of H2K Agro, pointed out that the Company utilises natural means of strengthening the banana plant. He said that this will create a healthier environment for farmers and possibly open up a market for organic bananas. Mr. Suckoo also said that overall they have demonstrated that the technology works, and he ensured that it would have a greater benefit to the people of this country. Soruce:   agriculture.gov.vc
Richmond Vale

Learn more about our amazing Academy!

Learn more about our amazing Academy!
It’s 9 pm at Richmond Vale Academy, and a small circle of drummers sends rhythms into the darkness of the hills. The stars seem to be on steroids, but we still need flashlights for our dragon quest. Franklyn—the local hiking guide, night watchman, and nocturnal pollinator-in-chief—ambles ahead of our motley group: two young Scandinavian honeymooners, two mature ladies from Barbados, and a burly Dane who is minding a teenage boy with unspecified problems. Franklyn leads us into rows of tall, twisting cacti whose flowers reach full bloom only at this time. Lacking the right moths, they need human hands and a paintbrush to stimulate the production of dragonfruit, Hylocereus costaricensis. The huge white blossoms have a monstrous beauty. Tonight there are 54, significantly less than the record 1000, but enough to contribute to a crop. The succulent red globules that they’ll turn into helps make this institution the largest producer of this exotic fruit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The extraordinary Richmond Vale Academy is full of such surprises. The first is that it exists at all. A part of the International DRH Movement (Danish “Travelling Folk High School”), RVA can trace its origins to 1970, when pioneering educators took a busload of Danish youngsters into Asia Minor to expand their horizons and learn by experience. Their encounters with poverty led to engagement, and eventually...
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Richmond Vale

6 Causes of Water Pollution and How to Stop It INFOGRAPHIC

6 Causes of Water Pollution and How to Stop It INFOGRAPHIC
Over two thirds of the Earth's surface is covered by water. As Earth's population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet's water resources. In a sense, oceans, rivers, and other inland waters are being "squeezed" by human activities—not so they take up less room, but so their quality is reduced. Poorer water quality means water pollution. Pollution is a human problem because it is a relatively recent development in the planet's history: before the 19th century Industrial Revolution , people lived more in harmony with their immediate environment. As industrialization has spread around the globe, so the problem of pollution has spread with it. When Earth's population was much smaller, no one believe pollution would ever be a serious problem. It was once popularly believed that the oceans were far too big to be polluted. Today, with around 7 billion people on the planet, it has become apparent that there are limits. Pollution is one of the signs that humans have exceeded those limits. Causes of Water Pollution Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and makes up over 60% of the human body.  Water pollution affects marine ecosystems, wildlife health, and human well-being.  The answer to solving pollution is to make changes in our daily habits and pay more attention to the types of products you consume.   (Click infographic to...
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Richmond Vale

Renewable Energy: Everything you need to know

Renewable Energy: Everything you need to know
Renewable energy or green energy comes from resources that will be naturally replenish within a human timescale.   What does this mean? Well, simply put, renewable energy draws from an infinite bank of resources. Think of tides, sunlight, rain and the currents in rivers! They are not running out anytime soon, and unlike fossil fuels , using them does not entail major environmental risks. Historically, every time there has been an increase in oil prices, the world has turn its eyes towards renewable energy. After oil prices drop, however, things have gone back to business-as-usual. If renewable energy is the best option available why does this happen? Cost and a huge interest from big oil and chemical corporations to not make it happen, mainly. The infrastructure for drawing out and using fossil fuels is already there. This does not only entail complex oil refineries and coal-powered plants, but the electricity lines, gas pipes, etc. that make it possible for you and I to use these resources. The same is not true for renewable energy. Big corporations are already making profit from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, building the infrastructure for the production and use of renewable energy would take heaps of time and money. People who are in the money-making business have not interest in wasting these resources. TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY Most renewable energy comes either directly...
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Richmond Vale

6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World

6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World
Poverty is a social condition that is characterized by the lack of resources necessary for basic survival or necessary to meet a certain minimum level of living standards expected for the place where one lives. The income level that determines poverty is different from place to place, so social scientists believe that it is best defined by conditions of existence, like lack of access to food, clothing, and shelter. People in poverty typically experience persistent hunger or starvation, inadequate or absent education and health care, and are usually alienated from mainstream society. Poverty is a consequence of the uneven distribution of material resources and wealth on a global scale and within nations. Sociologists see it as a social condition of societies with unequal and inequitable distribution of income and wealth, and the exploitative effects of global capitalism. Causes of Poverty In the war against poverty it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of it; for only tackling the roots of the problem one can provide a final solution to it. This is especially useful to remember when considering that although poverty is a global issue, there is no blanket cause for it. Therefore, there is no common solution. The causes of poverty vary from one country to the other and are ascribed to their history, governance and the dynamics of society within it. However; when...
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11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic

11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic
A beautiful aspect of being human is that we have the power to change things that we don’t agree with — whether it is what’s in our food, how animals are treated in captivity, or inequality between genders or races. When you begin to take action to bring awareness to the causes you care about, you become an activist in the process. So, while the seemingly extreme actions mentioned above will definitely get you noticed, they are, by no means, essential for becoming an activist. All it takes to become an activist are passion, knowledge and the a desire to make a change. There are so many ways in which you can be activist for a better world; options are wide and open, everywhere in the world organizations -like Richmond Vale Academy - are looking for volunteers, people that are in need of help and there are causes in abundance to fight for. Reasons to Become an Activist  Becoming an activist for a better world is something that everyone have to do at least for a period in its  life. To step out of your regular and standardized life is not only of great social benefit, but offers so many benefits for your life. Here are 11 reasons why you should become an activist and help in big!! (Click infographic to enlarge .) Share this Image...
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Richmond Vale

9 benefits of crop rotation for the environment

9 benefits of crop rotation for the environment
The crop rotation is a thousand years old technique that has been proven to help the environment , improve the soil and so many other things. Crop Rotation This system is the practice of growing several dissimilar or different crop types (or no crop at all) in the same area and in sequential seasons. Historians believe that farmers in the Middle East already practiced crop rotation as early as 6,000 B.C, although they didn’t fully understand the science behind it. The logic behind crop rotation is when the same crop is grown at the same place for several years the soil is depleted of certain nutrients. [caption id="attachment_6471" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Example of crop rotation on a small-scale. Photo Credit: Wikipedia . Doing rotation, a crop that draws one kind of nutrient from the soil is followed during the consequent season by a crop that returns the nutrient to the soil or draws a distinct ratio of nutrients. Environmental benefits of the crop rotation Several problems begin to creep up when you don’t rotate crops. All these problems can lead to decreased yields over the course of several years. First, the land itself can become “tired” and less fertile. This is because if the same type of crop is planted in the same area, the plant will continue to drain same nutrients from the soil.. Second, certain...
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Rainwater Harvesting: 6 Ways to Save the planet!

Rainwater Harvesting: 6 Ways to Save the planet!
Rainwater Harvesting is one of the best methods to save money and help to protect and care for our planet, especially to avoid dependency on regular water supply system . But, what is a Rainwater Harvesting System? It is an innovative technique that is use to harvest rainwater from roofs and other above surfaces to be stored for later use. Rainwater harvesting have many uses, such: garden and crop irrigation, watering livestock, laundry, and flushing toilets. However, unless you establish a well purification system, you cannot use the harvest rainwater for showering, bathroom sink or kitchen because it’s not really fit for consumption. In a normal scenario the rainwater is collect from roof buildings and then store inside of a tank. The desing of rainwater harvesting systems is done after assessing site conditions that include rainfall pattern, incident rainfall, subsurface strata and their storage characteristics. Those in the city, can harvest and use rainwater, also, the people in more rural areas can use it too. Reasons for rainwater harvesting Water in the oceans and seas is not always drinkable water and little [caption id="attachment_10903" align="alignright" width="375"] Rooftop's rainwater harvesting linked to ground storage. Photo Credit: Gilbert García . of it can be directed to other purposes. So, there is a constant shortage of water that is either good for drinking or home and industrial use. Besides,...
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Richmond Vale

DIY: Reduce your Footprint! Part 1 by Annick

DIY: Reduce your Footprint! Part 1 by Annick
By Annick    Our way of living is largely contributing to climate change . On average, the ecological footprint of a US citizen is 9.0 gha meaning that this amount of land is needed to sustain one person in the US. It also means that 9.6 worlds would be needed to sustain the current population. Obviously, we only have one world. So how do we live? And how does this affect our footprint? Find out all about how you can reduce your footprint by reading my blog series in which I present every other week simple steps on a new topic. And guess what?, becoming more sustainable is more easy and fun than you would think. So stay posted! [caption id="attachment_10882" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The ecological footprint of several countries. Photo Source: The Green Market Oracle Blog 1: Food This week we will talk about food! Your diet can have a large footprint via multiple ways. Let’s find out how that works and what you can do! Livestock: how eating meat increases your footprint Let’s start with meat. The meat industry is recognized by the Food and agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) as one of the main contributers to GHG in the atmosphere . This has various reasons. First of all, eating meat is less efficient as a lot more land is needed to...
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Richmond Vale

My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon

My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon
By Ammon  During the last six months working as Development Instructor in Ecuador we have worked with Humana Pueblo a Pueblo on many different projects as well as our own personal projects as Development Instructors. We are here as a team of 3 DIs from Richmond Vale Academy as part of the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor program. During my time here as a development instructor I have worked in the Community of Opoluca which is part of the district Paltas or Catacocha. I have worked with Humana to develop organic home gardens, compost production, and organic pesticides as well as working with large garden parcels and distributing saplings and seeds to the families in Opoluca. I myself have also given English classes as well as various other classes in the school as well as my personal project of building water filters to recycle water for use in gardens. In the Barrio of Opoluca we work with 40 families in total. Around 30 of the families have organic gardens and the rest of the families either raise pigs or chickens. I only work directly with the gardens. We focus on making the gardens an integral part of the family’s everyday life and everyday diet. I focused on teaching the basics of seeding, planting and maintaining a garden. The families have knowledge about plants because...
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Richmond Vale

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)
Traditionally the lawn was a symbol of status in the Feudalism . Large expanses of lawn, meant that the farm had many sheep and many cattle. Americans have been obsess with lawns since the 1950s, but that way of thinking is changing. It's time to rethink and use our lawns better. [caption id="attachment_10844" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo credit: Pexels Keeping and caring for a lawn requires a staggering amount of energy. It uses a lot of water, uses valuable soil and the pesticides and petrochemicals used to fertilize the grass, filter and contaminate our groundwater. The typical American lawn uses 10,000 gallons of supplemental water (not including rainwater) annually. This a serious problem, especially as we see more and more areas facing water shortages and droughts. Here are some problems caused by lawn pesticides: They contaminate our water supply . A study from Virginia Tech found that most homeowners apply chemicals to their lawns in ways that pollute our drinking water. They create serious health risks for wildlife and pets . A 2013 study published in Science of the Total Environment found that dogs exposed to lawn care chemicals can have a higher risk of bladder cancer. They get into our homes and present health risks . They are correlated with increased risk of a variety of cancers, nervous system disorders, and other illnesses. Children get expose...
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