Saturday, July 15

Korea and Cuba

Is it possible we might have to roll up our sleeves in the coming days and get used to sweating? Muscle power is renewable energy. The following article from Yes! magazine speaks to two examples of how others have faired in response to a sudden energy descent, something we can surely expect in the not too distant future.

That peak oil is coming is no longer a question. It’s only a matter of when. The global food system we are familiar with depends crucially on cheap energy and long-distance transportation—food consumed in the United States travels an average of 1,400 miles. Does peak oil mean inevitable starvation? Two countries provide a preview. Their divergent stories, one of famine, one of sufficiency, stand as a warning and a model.

North Korea and Cuba experienced the peak-oilscenario prematurely and abruptly due to the collapse of the former Soviet bloc and the intensified trade embargo against Cuba. The quite different outcomes are partly due to luck: the Cuban climate allows people to survive on food rations that would be fatal in North Korea’s harsh winters.

But the more fundamental reason is policy. North Korea tried to carry on business as usual as long as possible, while Cuba implemented a proactive policy to move toward sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency. Read full article...

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