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6399 North Wells Road, Bigtownville, CO 32748

Welcome To a Greener World!

For questions about GAIA email: 

gaia.usa @ gaia-movement.org


Gaia Main Office:

8918 S. Green St., Chicago, Il 60620

Phone#: 773-651-7870


Other Gaia Locations:

Portland, OR: 503-577-0589
Kentucky: 316-293-6467
Indiana: 773-651-7870





Rewear, Reuse, Recycle

You put your clothing and shoes in a Gaia Movement collection box. Once a week (or more often), we collect the clothing from the boxes. Read more...

Gaia School Program

Gaia provides free environmental educational programs and works to promote sustainable practices like the reuse of clothes by placing Gaia Clothes Collection Bins with schools throughout Chicago. Read more...

Urban Gardening

Over the past few years Gaia has planted flowers, bushes and trees around our ware house facility. This has provided living space for birds and other animals. Read more...

Take Action

The Gaia Movement USA encourages all people to understand their impact on the environment. - Read more...

St. Vincent Update 2



St Vincent Update 2


La Soufriére and Program Areas


            This issue I am going to talk about the hike up the volcano and then talk about the programs we have selected to do.


            La Soufriére is the highest point on the island, more than 4,000 feet. There is a trail from both sides of the island. Because we are on the leeward side of the island we took the one from that side; it is the harder trail. We started by walking down to the beach. We walked north along a beach for about a mile, across a river, and then cut into the island via a dried-up river bed (How it’s dried up in this place I don’t know). The river had formed a beautiful chasm. It has walls made of rock and mud that were quite a thing to see. It looked like someone did a bad concrete job.


The trail begins in a chasm formed by a dried up river.


Getting lost in the shrubs as we approach the top.

The trail proper began with a gentle rise through the rainforest. The trails are not like the U.S. they are very narrow, and many times you have to duck to go through a long arbor of branches. They also don’t take erosion into account, so there are very few cut-backs. On the lower slopes we passed a couple of farms. Many people here are subsistence farmers. They have a small home, and then plant their crops on the public lands that are nearby. They also have animals that they feed in the public lands. They will keep the animals on a long leash and move them every few days. It is not uncommon to walk on a trail or road and meet cows, goats, sheep, and donkeys.


            As we got higher the forest would clear, and we would get great views of the volcano. We would also see marijuana plantations growing in the valleys beyond the trail. Although illegal in St Vincent, pot is one of the major exports. It mostly goes to nearby islands. The volcano trail is the last place north most people go on this side of the island, and very few people come here. So the farmers feel comfortable planting here. Often we see motorboats go by our beach filled with people for harvesting. It is a poor country, and this is one of the few ways to make a living here.


            After the halfway point the trail starts to go uphill without a break. This is where your legs start burning. The trail also gets harder. There is one tree I almost had to go into a crawl to get under. Near the top we busted out of the forest into a beautiful area of shrubs and tall grass. Some of it was as tall as me. As we got closer to the summit the vegetation went away and we were left with a trail of loose rock. The wind really picked up and made it hard to walk in spots; a couple of times I was nearly blown off the ridge.


            At the top we had great view of the mount we had just climbed. Looking into the crater we could see the clouds coming over the ridge on the far side; then go into the crater; only to come out on the side we were on. It was very ethereal. Also cold, the only time I’ve put my windbreaker on was up there. In the center of the crater was a large knob; partly covered with vegetation, and partly exposed rock. There was a small part of the knob that was smoking. It was odd because the crater had to be thousands of feet across, but only a tiny part of it was active.


            We were able to go down into the crater. There is a very steep trail that leads into the crater, with a series of ropes to help you down. Because the trail was just loose rock the erosion of everyone walking had created huge wash-outs, some around 5 feet deep. So, it was easier to walk on the side of the trail where people were cutting a new trail; in ten years the wash-out will be twice as wide. The bottom wasn’t very exciting; the best place was about halfway up where you could sit and enjoy the view of the basin.


            The walk back took a lot less time than the walk up, but it still hurt the knees and toes. Unfortunately one of my teammates slipped and twisted her ankle, so she needed help coming down. But we all made it up and down. Then we took a swim in the ocean. It is nice having the ocean so close; it makes working out so rewarding.


Program Areas


            This week we have begun our program tasks to make the school climate compliant. We have chosen four and are each in charge of organizing one.

 Bio Char – This is making charcoal from wood we find and old lumber. The charcoal will be buried in the garden as fertilizer for the roots of the vegetables. We will make an oven to bake the wood into charcoal. All of the wood we use will be dead; no trees will be chopped down. Then we will bury the charcoal. This prevents carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere as the wood decomposes. Instead the gas is stored underground. When done properly we can even return some of the heat energy from the baking process by collecting the oil that is a by-product of the baking process.


Tools are precious here. We planted a wheelbarrow hoping to grow more.

 Recycled Garden – In one corner of the organic garden we are building a garden out of reused items. We will use old planters and wheelbarrows as pots to plant lettuce, carrots, cabbage, and similar vegetables. We will also reuse other items to decorate the garden; things like old tires, bamboo, and scrap metal. Of course this will make the garden more beautiful, and give us more growing space, but it will also be an educational tool for visitors that come here. Also, we are having a competition in the school where students and teachers have to make something for the garden that is out of reused items. I will make a trophy for the winner.

 Low Cost Irrigation System – We will make a gutter and irrigation system for the recycled garden. We will use old hose to make a drip irrigation system using the technique in the “40 Green World Actions” book. We wanted to make a gutter using old plastic, but Jesper is too protective of his plastic, so we will use an old gutter instead. Although we have an irrigation system for the garden, it was made using all new parts, and very expensive. The system we build will only have a few new parts; it will be an example for the Vincy’s in their own gardens. But I am sure it will be harder to build.


Worm Production – A previous team made a worm box, but it hasn’t been cared for. We are going to restart the system. We are not only going to build it to make compost for the garden we are going to try to breed the worms. This way we can add some to the garden to help aerate the soil. Unlike the worms we get for the garden at Gaia we are going to dig up our friends from around the school. I’m sure they’ll like the food we feed them better.

 I will keep you all updated on the progress of these projects, and I hope to tell you more details about the environmental impact of the systems we install. I think some of them we can do in Chicago.



Sunsets are probably the most common sight around here. Rainbows are a close second.


A friend I met.


This is the computer repair shop.


We had an open house. Vincy’s came and learned the issues, and about the school.


Halfway up the volcano.


On the Vermont Nature Trail, on the southeast part of the island


People leave old fridges all over the place. I am going to make a book from all I see.


We were going to sacrifice someone to the volcano, but were too tired from the hike into the crater


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  • Recycling is Good for the Environment The U.S It takes less energy to create new items from recycled materials than it does to create new products from raw materials. Mining minerals and milling trees into lumber requires vast amounts of energy. Recycling allows us to reuse materials many times to conserve natural resources while creating the products we use in our everyday lives. Extracting materials from mines or forests is done far from the place where goods are consumed; however recycling starts in your own home. Gathering recyclables and reprocessing them into feedstock for future products is done locally by people who live, work and spend money in their own communities. Burning garbage or throwing waste into landfills produces byproducts that pollute the environment. Runoff from landfills and metals like mercury find their way into streams, rivers and oceans, fish, and eventually into human beings, harming our health.


    Why should we care about Landfills?The U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, in the "good old days," every town (and many businesses and factories) had its own dump.  There are 39,044 general purpose local governments in the United States - 3,043 county governments and 36,001 sub-county general purpose governments (towns & townships). One suspects that there are many more old and abandoned commercial, private, and municipal dumps than the 10,000 estimated by the EPA.

    All landfills could require remediation, but particularly landfills built in the last 60 years will require thorough clean-up due to the disposal of highly toxic chemicals manufactured and sold since the 1940's.


  • Greening your kitchen

    Kitchens are a major source of harm for the environment. Often times, it is a place where food is wasted, water is used in abundance and energy is used in excess. Thus, when attempting to make changes to go green, it is important to evaluate the practices one is using in his or her kitchen and make applicable changes.


    Eco-friendly cleaning products

    Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of chemically reactive and toxic cleaning products which contain various toxic chemicals, some of which emit volatile organic compounds causing respiratory, dermatological and other conditions. Green cleaning can also describe the way residential and industrial cleaning products are manufactured, packaged and distributed. If the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term "green" or "eco-friendly" may apply.

    Green cleaning is behavioral as well as simply using healthy and environmentally friendly products. Consumers are being made aware of the ways in which green cleaning is most-effectively used. In fact, more emphasis these days is being placed on microfiber technology which eliminates the need for chemical cleaning supplies, or even green cleaners. Just water alone and a quality microfiber cloth can eliminate over 99% of bacteria from hard surfaces. Using very hot water or steam cleaning is also and effective method without chemicals simply by heat-treating the surface.

  • Your carbon footprint Footprints offer clues about where we came from and where we're headed. Their impressions tell us something about the animals that leave them. But while actual footprints offer details on size, weight and speed, carbon footprints measure how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we produce just by going about our daily lives. A drive to work, a flip of a light switch and a flight out of town all rely on the combustion of fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. When fossil fuels burn, they emit greenhouse gases like CO2 that contribute to global warming. Ninety-eight percent of atmospheric CO2 comes from the combustion of fossil fuels.


    The lungs of Earth

    Tropical rainforests are often called the "lungs of the planet" because they generally draw in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. But the amount of carbon dioxide that rainforests absorb, or produce, varies hugely with year-to-year variations in the climate. Rainforests do play a key role in the global ecosystem. Some experts are now calling them the "air conditioners to the world," because their dark depths absorb heat from the sun. Without the forest cover, these regions would reflect more heat into the atmosphere, warming the rest of the world. Losing the rainforests may also have a profound effect on global wind and rainfall patterns, potentially causing droughts throughout the United States and other areas.

    The act of deforestation itself affects the environment as a whole. Roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released in the air (a leading cause of global warming) comes from burning the rainforests.


Latest News

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    Here is something you can feel good about:

    Every pound of clothes donated saves 8.8 lbs of CO2!

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Our Main Office also accepts clothing donations,run recycling programs, educate small groups on environmental issues and welcomes volunteers on open days.

General Information

 The Gaia Movement USA, is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. We started in 1999 in Illinois and we are currently also active in Indiana, Kentucky, and Oregon.
Our mission is to create awareness about the plight of the environment, to educate the public about caring for our planet, humanity and the environment, to run recycling operations and to support environmental projects and programs locally and globally.