“You have to follow the natural cycles, so you hire nature to work for you, not work against nature. To work against nature, you have to waste huge amounts of energy.”
Roberto is a permaculture expert working for the Cuban non-governmental organization Antonia Niñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity whose vision is a Cuban society with conscious environmental development that recognizes nature as part of its identity. The organization has a program which investigates, demonstrates and promotes sustainable food systems.
“…and reflect more on how to be happy with less, and how you really don’t need that much to be happy. I think that that is a challenge, a world challenge. Cuba has modest experience that maybe some other people could learn from.”
Rita is Cuban lawyer and tour guide raised in New York City. Her family emigrated back to Cuba after the 1959 revolution. Rita was formerly involved in the Federation of Cuban Women.
“One day people (will) start thinking about the end of the car – what would be an era, a moment in the life of humankind. So one day the car appeared and one day the car will disappear.”
Miguel is an architect, urban planner, and community development specialist who works for the Group for the Integral Development of the Capital. He also is a expert at the Scale Model of Havana, the second largest scale model of a city in the world.
“Not only have, through these workshops and courses, has the community learned about permaculture, but they here in the center have learned a lot about the community.”
Carmen runs the Permaculture demonstration project of the “Foundation for Nature and Humanity” in the Cerro province of Havana. She also runs permaculture workshops to and has trained more than 400 people in the neighborhood to grow food and raise livestock on their rooftops and patios.
"The sun was enough to maintain life on earth for millions of years. Only when we [humans] arrived and changed the way we use energy was the sun not enough. So the problem is with our society, not with the world of energy."
“The idea of Peak Oil is that things are going to change and that there is going to be less. I think Cuban’s understand that on an international global level, because island people have that innate sense of a limited resource.”
Rachel Bruhnke is an environmental engineer and a sustainable systems researcher. She has written many papers on U.S.-Cuban collaboration on environmental and sustainability issues. Recently, she organized and led research delegations to Cuba for Global Exchange.
“The soil takes millions of years to form, and to destroy - it takes very little time.”
Miguel Salcines is the garden administrator for the Organipónico de Alamar, a 0.7-hectare farm in a Havana suburb. It is one of the most successful urban organic farms in Cuba and is run by a worker’s collective.
Jorge Mario, Ph.D.
“We were desperate for everything. We didn’t care about first world quality, standards on any commodity, we just needed food.”
Jorge Mario, Ph.D. is a Cuban economist.
Dania Gonzalez, Ph.D.
“People in Cuba, used to shower with hot water. So they used the traditional oil or energy, whatever they had, to heat the water. So if we can have solar heaters, it’s better.”
Dania Gonzalez, Ph.D. is a Bio-climatic Architect at the Technical University of Havana.
“Our crude oil is a very bad thing for the environment. But we had no choice; it’s a mater of live or die.”
Guillermo Leiva is the project manager for ECOSOL Solar, a division of Cuba Solar. They help develop markets for renewable energy, sell and install systems, perform research, publish newsletters, and do energy efficiency studies for large users.
“Peak oil is unprecedented. We’ve never become dependant on fossil fuels before in human history, and we’ve never experience a peak in fossil fuel production, so we’re flying blind as a global community. And so we need examples.”
Richard Heinberg is one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators and author of The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies; Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World; and The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse. He is a journalist, educator, lecturer, and a Core Faculty member of New College of California, where he teaches a program on "Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community."
“What peaks is not total oil; it’s the easy oil to produce. What’s left is the less desirable oil that you couldn’t get out in the first place, very fast.”
Matthew Simmons is chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, is a prominent oil-industry insider and one of the world's leading experts on the topic of peak oil. Simmons is the author of the book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
“People cooperating with and caring about each other are the main factors that we need to encourage.”
Patricia Allison has taught permaculture design courses and consensus decision making for over 10 years. She lives at the Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, whose mission is to create a replicable model of sustainable human culture.