For those trying to imagine life without oil, Cuba has proven the solitary example of a country successfully de-industrializing. Confronted with the collapse of aid from the Soviet Union and ever-tighter U.S. sanctions in the early 1990s, the socialist state was forced to scupper its centrally-planned, fossil-fuel-driven agriculture and rediscover sustainable and green farming practices.

The solutions developed by a young generation of farmers and agronomists – including urban farms in vacant lots in the capital, Havana, and a network of producers across the country – now provide 80% of the country with predominantly local, organic produce and helped turn Cuba into an unintentional leader of the green movement.

An excellent film, called 'The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil' documents this and provides, not only a very compelling argument in favour of a socialist answer to economic planning, but a thought provoking discussion as to how we, as a species, can hope to develop without the needs of fossil fuels.


While the rest of the world is busy destroying the ecosystem, a report published in 2006 by the World Wildlife Fund claims that the only country in the world with "sustainable development" is Cuba. WWF includes in its report a graph which shows two features: the human development index (established by the United Nations) and the so-called "ecological footprint" which shows the per person energy and resources consumed in each country.

Surprisingly, only Cuba has passed in both arenas, which is enough to be designated a country that "meets the minimum sensitivity criteria". The study's authors credit the high level of literacy, long life expectancy and low consumption of energy for this success. The authors also claim that Latin America is the region that leads in sustainable development.