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The Power of Community

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The Power of Community -  How Cuba Survived Peak Oil Using Permaculture - 53 minutes

The documentary film The Power of Community How Cuba Survived Peak Oil Using Permaculture portrays the spirit of the Cuban people as they responded to the loss of their economic lifeline chiefly in area of petroleum, resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Using their ingenuity and buy viagra online cheap uk working in concert with one another, the Cuban people take the viewer through the lifestyle changes that were foisted upon them by these losses during what is known as the “Special Period in Times of Peace”; and how they succeeded in turning around what could have ended in disaster.  In today’s world, where climate change is at hand, Cubans have already undergone what Richard Heinberg calls “an energy famine”. 

alt Their experience illustrates adaptable, concrete solutions for countries around the globe on how to move from an unsustainable use of fossil fuels to a healthy way of living sustainability by dancing with nature.  In no uncertain terms, this film let’s us know that there is no need to wait for an okay from the political sphere.  We just need to get started, and stick with the canadian healthcare cialis task until we obtain a viable world community.

The viewer is drawn into the lives of the Cuban people in the opening scene by a group of Cuban musicians playing Afro-Spanish music, the foundation of Cuban music.  This sensual music continues to play softly in the background throughout the film adding to the scenes of resolve of this ethnically diverse country.

Using a chapter format, writer, producer, and director Faith Morgan explores the implications of the artificially imposed Peak Oil crisis on daily living, and the approaches Cubans took to work through their issues.  Morgan’s formatting clearly demonstrates how the super levitra loss of petroleum in one aspect of life cannot be compartmentalized. 

At this point I want to make mention of a number of observations about the film by saying that I spoke with a member of The Community Solution’s filmmaking team to gain an understanding regarding the obstacles they faced in making this film.  The narrative is conveyed by Caucasian members of government and privately run organizations.  The color of interviewees skin does not take away from the knowledge that they impart; but it does make a statement that skin color plays a role in the difficulties people of color have in becoming rising professionals.  I was also disappointed that no government officials would speak on the record about the government’s role in fostering the move toward sustainability; as well as a lack of everyday Cuban voices who were either too shy or fearful of speaking about the affect of the oil crisis on themselves.  Despite these shortcomings, I highly recommend the film.

Morgan sets the stage for our understanding of the Special Period by incorporating a segment entitled: A Short History of Peak Oil.  With the loss of over half of its oil imports from the USSR, a man-made crisis was at hand and required a drastic change of life style if Cuba’s economy was going to survive.   Transportation was adversely affecting people’s ability to get to work and obtain food.  It became necessary for Havanans to shift from an automobile culture to one of carpools, hitch hiking, walking and even the bicycle, which was not part of their culture.  Expanding mass transit was a necessity requiring innovating with old trucks and camels.

With the lack of oil, Cuba’s investment in the green revolution began to falter because of its dependence on fossil fuel and mechanization. Unable to transport food, and with malnutrition on the rise, the Castro government implemented food rationing. Cuban’s lost about twenty pounds. While hunger was prevented, unrelenting starvation was a part of everyday living.

alt Taking matters into their own hands, residents of Havana and cialis and diarrhea other cities struck out on their own, turning their city’svacant lots, rooftops, patios, and unused parking lots into organic production gardens filled with healthy, locally grown produce.  Adding fruits and vegetables to their diet reduced diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.  Lacking in agricultural experience, and with the government on board, Australian permaculture teachers were invited to run workshops and to train trainers who would went out into communities and engaged the population in gardening and living in harmony with the earth. 

In rural areas individuals turned to old time farmers who were familiar with working the earth by hand, and with oxen.  The government moved away from state run farms.  Using “localized solutions” they created small-privatized farms, coops and private farmers markets.  With research and the development of biopesticides and biofertilizers, farmers successfully produced more food than the state run farms had ever achieved.  Renewing a spirit of community farmers distributed free produce to the elderly, pregnant women and schools.

altThe innovativeness of the Cuban people played an important role as they sorted out energy alternatives to petroleum use for their homes and schools.  Rather than continue to live with rolling blackouts, renewable energy in the form of wind, hydro systems and solar were implemented. "The sun was enough to maintain life on earth for millions of years," said Bruno Enriquez, a director of Cuba Solar. "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."

In The Power of Community How Cuba Survived Peak Oil Using Permaculture we see how Cubans had determination, and commitment to look beyond the individual and work cooperatively for the greater good of their society. The creative solutions the Cuban people employed are ones that we can learn from as we begin experiencing the natural consequences of the decline of crude oil.  Do we wait until we are in crisis mode, or do we take on a spirit of communitarianism and we like it propecia for sale work for the good of the whole?  The choice is up to us.

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