Peak Oil is You

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Page added on March 29, 2009

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Can the West cultivate ideas from Cuba’s ‘Special Period’?

(CNN) — Since the revolution in 1959 Cuba has been many things to many people, but the collapse of the Soviet Union meant few have seen the island state as a vision of the future.

But that could be changing — at least in one aspect.

As worries about “peak oil” grow in developed nations, the communist republic is proving to be an increasingly popular example of how to cope when the spigots run dry, for the simple reason: they’ve already been there.

With the loss of supplies from oil-rich Russia in 1991, and a U.S. embargo preventing imports from elsewhere, Cuba was plunged into a severe recession in the early 1990’s, referred to as “the Special Period.”

Suddenly society was faced with dramatically reduced amounts of hydrocarbon energy, and the result was a fundamental reorganization of food production, leading to a boom in urban organic agriculture, which requires fewer inputs than conventional farming.


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