Cuba: Why We Don’t Need to Fear the End of Fossil Fuels


For most of my life I have had a mildly ominous sense that the future could be problematic if we continue to pollute the water and the air, deplete the soil, and kill off bees with pesticides. I am not alone in these thoughts. Though I am mostly quite optimistic, this subtle fear is always there. For the most part, I think it is a positive fear because it keeps me vigilant, active in raising awareness about the environment, and walking lightly, with respect upon the land. Part of my hopefulness, despite the overwhelming environmental bad news, is that I have a best friend who is a permaculture expert. When we are on road trips, he reminds me to consider where the water drains off the mountains and he is always inspiring me to observe the natural flows of the land.

His name is Andrew Millison and he lives in Oregon. We have had many long debates about how the future might look and how we might respond to the various futures we have envisioned. I believe that technology is a big part of the healing and transformation that is coming our way yet it is also true that our unsustainable use of technology is part of the problem. Over the years, we have come to see ways that modern technology and traditional permaculture concepts can be integrated and work together for a sustainable future.

Recently Andy was at an international permaculture convergence in Cuba. Upon his return, I loved hearing his stories. Cuba is one of the permaculture capitals of the world. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, their economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half , and food by 80 percent, people had to learn new ways to live. I had learned about this in a great film called The Power of Community, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, but it was even better to hear about it first-hand from a friend.

I think that all of us know deep inside that a big change is on the horizon, and it can be scary if you aren’t able to envision how it might look. Yesterday, Andy called me to let me know that he had finished the video he had made of his travels to Cuba and it is quite enlightening and fun to watch. The music was all recorded on-sight and it compliments the sense of “we can do this, it can be simple, fun, and beautiful.” It has Spanish and English subtitles and I felt like I was along for the journey while watching it.

Thanks Andy, as always, for your inspiration and for the opportunity to help you share it with The Culture Collective Community. Make yourself some tea and check out the video below. Be sure to leave a comment telling us how you envision a sustainable future and share this with your friends!


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