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Cuba – a Peak Oil Country Presented by Pat Murphy, Executive Director, The Community Solution A Program of Community Service, Inc. Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

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Presentation on theme: "Cuba – a Peak Oil Country Presented by Pat Murphy, Executive Director, The Community Solution A Program of Community Service, Inc. Yellow Springs, OH 45387."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cuba – a Peak Oil Country Presented by Pat Murphy, Executive Director, The Community Solution A Program of Community Service, Inc. Yellow Springs, OH 45387

2 Why Study Cuba? Cuba is unique in the world in experiencing rapid oil depletion  Oil usage reduced over 50% in less than a year! Cuba is unique in changing from an industrial to an agrarian society  Cuba is successfully turning back the clock. Cuba per capita energy usage – 1/15 of US per capita Cuba is building an “agrarian” culture – “modernized peasantry”  Focusing on building human resources rather than physical ones  Emphasizing biotechnology – not genetic engineering  2% of Latin America population, 11% of scientists

3 The Cuban Hypothesis – Key Points Does Cuba represent a model for post oil?  In the Third World?  In the First World?  Both? Does Cuba practice a unique set of “community” values?  Can a post oil world exist with current world values? Is Cuba decentralizing/localizing?

4 Cuban History 1990 – Present Soviet personnel left Cuba in 1991 – Soviet Union disbanded  Ended economic subsidies worth $6 billion annually.  GDP down 85% Oil usage down over 50%  Population lost weight (20 lb) – 30% per capita calorie decline  Major decrease in standard of living US increased efforts to undermine the regime  Mack Amendment (1990)  Trotecilli bill (1992)  Helms Burton Act (1996) Cuba continued historical emphasis on social needs  Medical care – education – culture

5 The Special Period – After Oil Loss Dramatic responses – do or die efforts De–collectivized agriculture – allowed private food production Changed from industrial to organic agriculture using oxen Allowed US dollar transactions (1993) Developed tourist industry Solicited remittances from Cubans outside Cuba Cut back on everything – abandoned Soviet industrial model

6 2003 Status Economy now growing at a slow rate Food production almost up to 90% of pre crisis period  Energy usage much lower than pre crisis period Very few new housing developments  High energy cost cement, steel is in short supply Transportation is often improvised  Vehicles are often shared Medical care and education above pre crisis levels  Educational standard class size is now 15 students

7 2003 Statistics: US and Cuba comparison US lifespan: 77.4 years Cube lifespan: 77.0 years US mortality: 6.63/1000 Cuba mortality: 6.45/1000 US per capita income: $37,800 Cuba per capita income: $2,800 US new housing size: 2400 sq. ft. ~600 per capita Cuba new housing size: 700 sq. ft. ~135 per person 4:1 US to Cuba ratio sq. ft. per person

8 Cuban Food Involuntary vegetarianism – always more energy efficient  Meat eating went from twice a day to twice a week Increased vegetable and starch consumption  Decreased wheat and rice production  Increased vegetable sources of protein – decreased meat Urban gardens developed throughout cities Rural areas developed – particularly health and education  Many people left Havana for the country  Wages raised for farmers Cubans have one of the healthiest diets in the world

9 Crops Inside Screen Greenhouses Various screen sizes used to filter sun Allows more varieties of crops

10 Raised Beds Everywhere Designed for hand labor

11 Small Business Food Producers A local farm

12 The Modernized Peasant This man earns more than an engineer

13 Raised Beds Near Protected Crop Crops for hotels raised in screened area and fertilized

14 From Machine to Animal Traction Rediscovering what was effective in the past

15 Oxen Replacing Tractors The farmer may have gone to agricultural college

16 Cuban Transportation Every means possible – dump trucks, buses, bikes, mules, bicycles Vehicles heavily utilized - Occupants per trip: US 1.2, Cuba 5-6 Hitchhikers Empty vehicles commandeered by “highway patrol” Very light road usage – high person per vehicle ratio Cars not a right – privilege awarded for performance Inconvenient but very efficient relative to energy usage

17 The Camel – 300 Passengers Cuba mass transportation

18 Provincial Version of Camel Each of these units looks different - innovation

19 Varied Forms of Transportation Horse drawn units like this have taxi licenses

20 Using Cars as Buses Old American cars – typically 6-8 passengers

21 Mercedes to Pedal Power

22 Innovation under Fire Mass transport appeared immediately using existing vehicles No need for light rail or subways or new vehicles A social transportation revolution, not a technical one Works when people cooperate rather than compete

23 Medical System Free medical care Lower infant mortality rate than US Same life span as US More doctors per capital then US Much more effort on prevention Doctors live in the neighborhoods they serve

24 A Local Clinic “This is a vocation – not a business” Cuban Doctors earn 2-3 times average person U.S. Doctors earn 5-8 times average person

25 Summary – Material Life Cuba has best health care, education, and food, in third world  It is a model for 82% of the people in the world Equal to US in life expectancy and literacy – lower infant mortality Superior social programs to US  Free medical care and free education  Social security – men retire at 60, women at 55 Food supply healthy and adequate – but not plentiful or rich Fewer material goods – cars, houses, furniture, electronics

26 Cuba Summary Cuba has limited high sulfur oil supply Food system now a sustainable one – and the key to health No plans for high tech “alternative energy” – solar/wind farms  “We can’t afford that stuff” – Havana economist  Developing small solar and wind systems Development plan  Optimize human resources – medical, education, culture  Pursue intermediate technology – not high technology Creating a socialist agrarian society  A model for a “renewable third world”


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