Following 50 years of post-Cold War split ties the U.S. and Cuba have restored “full diplomatic relations.” This new era of communication and development will open new channels of connect between the US and Cuba, such as technology, industry, and tourism. Amidst the great media admission of environmental disaster, Cuba has formulated a strict plan to protect its well preserved lands from tourism. The country faces the challenges of producing sustainable environmentally friendly agricultural methods, while simultaneously protecting the most well kept beaches and marine sanctuaries in the Caribbean.
The expansion of Cuba’s economy will begin with agriculture, oil, and tourism. The country currently imports $2 Billion dollars worth of food per year, making 70% of the food consumed. The country geographically has the capacity to become fully self sustainable food producers. The challenge will be to ensure appropriate environmental design for the soil treatment and irrigation systems considering the surrounding ocean reefs. The two documented plans include:
- Nov 2015; the agreement outlines: ‘ a planned effort by both countries to share scientific knowledge, collaborate on conservation efforts and jointly “address the causes and effects of climate change” in Cuba ‘ allowing the US scientific community to hold conversation and have influence in regards to environmental care of marine life.
- Environmental policies est. in the 1990’s to combat ecological destruction, requiring that the country maintain 25% of its natural marine habitat from development
The forthcoming development of Cuba and its travel industry, especially as it opens up to Americans will be an interesting test of our environmental morality. It worries me that Cuba’s coastlines will be overrun with tourist activity, seen as “the last frontier” of pure reef coastline. Will Americans be able to respect the environmental boundaries of Cuban nature? What factors will Cuba, as an impoverished brown nation have on these dynamics?