Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Learning from Cuba's Footprint

by Robyn Francis

Target ONE EARTH – Living Within Our Footprint and What we can Learn from Cuba

Robyn Francis reports on her visit to Cuba to experience 'first hand' the only nation on earth living within its ecological footprint. Cuba provides important food for thought for everyone enjoying 'western' affluence to meet the challenge of radical and rapid reduction of consumption and waste--as this is ultimately what drives climate change and resource depletion. Cuba's capacity to survive collapse gives hope and inspiration as we grapple with the need to embrace radical changes for the great transition to a low-consumption conserver society.

We can live better with less - Cuba shows us how...

Learning from Cuba's Footprint by Robyn Francis

This is an edited transcript of Robyn Francis’ Key Note presentation at the Climate Emergency Conference, Adelaide, October 2008. The article contains a selection of slides from the accompanying visual presentation.

This presentation shares observations from a 40-day exchange visit to Cuba, Apr 28-Jun 6, 2008, visiting 40 permaculture and related projects throughout Cuba. The visit was funded by the Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange) CAPE, a project of Erda Institute in Australia and my Cuban host organisation was the Foundation for Nature & humanity, based in Havana.

The 2007 State of the Planet report from the World Wildlife Fund identified Cuba as the only nation on earth living within its ecological footprint and at the same time achieving a high standard in the United Nations Human Development Index. I was curious to see and experience ‘first hand’ a society living within its ecological footprint . Hence this presentation is titled Target One Earth – living within our footprint, what we can learn from Cuba.

What does an ecological footprint mean?
To explain what living within our footprint means is best demonstrated by example: If everyone—all 6.7 billion people on earth-- lived like the average Cuban we could sustain our current global population with the resources of one planet earth, whereas If everyone lived like an Australian we’d need 3.7 planets, or like an American we’d need more than 5 planets – this is clearly not sustainable.

We are living well beyond our planetary means and facing planetary bankruptcy.

Read the rest of this article at the Djanbung Gardens website

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