Cuba: breaking corporate power allows sustainable development

Cuba is a world leader in ecologically sustainable practices. It is the only country to have begun the large-scale transition from conventional farming, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, to a new agricultural paradigm known as low-input sustainable agriculture.

Cuba was the first country to replace all incandescent light globes with energy-saving compact fluorescents and to ban the sale of incandescents. It has also pioneered the decentralisation of electricity generation by installing thousands of diesel generators the size of shipping containers where they are needed. This has cut transmission losses and made the grid less vulnerable to disruption.

One reason why Cuba leads the world in sustainable practices is dire necessity: Cuba has had to adapt to acute shortages of energy, raw materials, manufacured goods and financing as a result of external circumstances.

In 2006, a World Wildlife Fund study concluded Cuba is the only country in the world with both a high UN Human Development Index — a composite ranking based on quality of life indices and purchasing power — and a relatively small “ecological footprint”, a measure of the per person use of land and resources.

Not only does Cuba offer an inspiring example of what’s possible when even a small, poor country frees itself from the tyranny of the corporate rich, Cuba and Venezuela lead a bloc of Latin American countries with progressive governments — the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) — on the world stage in the struggle for social and environmental justice.

Original article published at

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