Cuban Sustainability


The Cuban Model of Sustainable Medicine

What Cuba has done with their medical system, food system, and transport system is nothing short of phenomenal. It is revolutionary in the purest form of the word. When Cuba lost half of its petroleum supplies and nearly all its fertilizers, pesticides, and medical supplies after the collapse of the USSR, it was forced to deal with issues of sustainability in short order. Cuba, I predict, is going to be one of those places we will wish we had studied more closely when oil prices soar and our own infrastructure starts to fall apart. Instead, the United States has ignored it, criminalized Americans wishing to visit it, and deprived Cubans (one of our closest neighboring countries) of food and medical supplies. Why will we wish we had studied it? They are a successful experiment for the post-peak-oil world in so many ways—converted to sustainable and organic agriculture, living on extremely limited fuel (it’s illegal to not pick up hitchhikers needing a ride), brilliantly organized to deal with hurricanes, highly educated, providing free medical care, both standard and alternative to all their citizens, as well as sending free doctors abroad to other countries, and providing free training for medical students from around the world. Now that’s what I call sustainable.

— Didi Pershouse

Books:

Healing the Masses, Cuban Health Politics at Home and Abroad by Julie Feinsilver

Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba

Development within Underdevelopment? New Trends in Cuban Medicine by Ernesto Mario Bravo

Community Health Care in Cuba by Susan E. Mason, David L. Strug and Joan Beder

Where There Is No Doctor, a village health care handbook by David Werner

Films:

The Greening of Cuba This film documents the extraordinary transition of Cuba’s food system, after they lost access to pesticides and fertilizers from the USSR. They converted their food system to organic and sustainable methods, a fusion of old knowledge and modern methods.

Salud This new film from www.medicc.org is a great film on the Cuban Health care system.

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Articles:

An Acupuncturist’s Visit to Cuba by Didi Pershouse, CCH, LAc

Health Care? Ask Cuba By Nicholas D. Kristoff, NY Times.

The Cuban Paradox by Chelsea Merz, Harvard School of Public Health

Green Medicine, How Cuba is Integrating Natural Remedies into its Health Care, By Andrew Webster

Cast of Thousands, Cuba’s Contribution to Global Health in the Global Health Council’s Health Link, by Conner Gorry

In the Eye of the Storm: Disaster Management Lessons from Cuba

The Cuban Approach to Health Care: Origins, Results, and Current Challenges

Cuba and Dealing with Global Pollution in Culture Change

Sustainable Cuba in Carfree Times

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