Cuban Connection

Caribbean Neighbor Shows Environmental Promise




Valle De Vinales

A mere 90 miles from Florida’s Key West, Cuba is still a world away, environmentally speaking. With more than 4,200 islets and keys, the country teems with marine and terrestrial treasures. Half of its southern coast is mangrove forest, the largest fish nursery of its kind in the Caribbean. Its coral reefs are among the most intact in the region.

Politics have insulated Cuba from development and the environmental destruction that so often accompanies it, reports the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). But pressures from hotels and offshore oil interests are mounting.

Over the past eight years, with U.S. government permission, the fund has helped Cuban scientists implement new environmental laws, laying the foundation for conservation. Already, Cuba is one of the few Caribbean countries to reverse deforestation. “Cuba has excellent laws in place,” says EDF attorney Dan Whittle. “The challenge is implementation.”

Still, “The Cubans are motivated to protect their environment,” observes Scott Edwards, EDF’s Caribbean oceans director. “Cuba could become a model for marine and coastal stewardship.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Lower Overhead

Cincinnati has purchased 100 percent renewable energy to operate most of its municipal buildings through at least 2021, cutting its utility rates by more than $100,000 annually.

Independent Action

More than 50 mayors from around the globe have signed the Chicago Climate Charter, intended to guide cities toward reaching greenhouse gas emissions reductions similar to those targeted in the Paris climate accord.

Deadly Cargo

The Iranian tanker Sanchi oil spill in the East China Sea has scientists worried about unknown impacts caused by the toxic nature of the ultra-light, highly flammable oil.

Eco-Villains

A beach cleanup in the Philippines resulted in the finding that Nestlé, Unilever and the Indonesian company PT Torabika Mayora were the top sources of plastic waste there.

Green Team

The Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field recycles 96 percent of all waste, garnering the team Major League Baseball’s Green Glove Award for 2017.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags