‘Cuba’s Life Task: Combating Climate Change’ Documentary film, 55 minutes, narrated by Helen Yaffe, premiered on YouTube on January 11, 2022 (with related, recommended readings listed further below)
‘Cuba’s Life Task: Combating Climate Change’ premiered at the ‘COP 26’ international conference on global warming in Glasgow, Scotland on Nov 1, 2021. In the audience were environmental activists and the Cuban delegation attending COP 26 , including Cuban Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment Elba Rosa Montoya. The film is produced by Dani Films; directed and produced by Daniesky Acosta; co-directed by Hugo Rivalta; co-produced by Helen Yaffe; narrated by Helen Yaffe. It is sub-titled in English, Spanish, Arabic and Turkish, with more languages to follow. To watch the film, click on the weblink above or on the screen below. For more information on the film, write to email@example.com.
By the film’s producers:
Global warming is among the world’s greatest challenges. As a small Caribbean island, Cuba is disproportionately affected by climate change through extreme weather events. Up to ten per cent of Cuban territory could be submerged by the end of the century, wiping out coastal towns, polluting water supplies, destroying agricultural lands and forcing one million people to relocate. Finding solutions is now essential.
In this documentary film, Dr. Helen Yaffe (Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow), goes to Cuba to find out about Tarea Vida (Life Task), Cuba’s long-term state plan to protect the population, environment and the economy from climate change. The Cuban approach combines environmental science, natural solutions and community participation in strategies for adaptation and mitigation. There are lessons here for the world.
And listen: Interview with Helen Yaffe, broadcast on ‘By Any Means Necessary’ program on Sputnik Radio, Jan 11, 2022 (26 minutes)
Related, recommended readings:
* Cuba shows how to take action on climate change, by Helen Yaffe, Jacobin, Jan 10, 2022
* Cuba shows an alternative to Big Pharma hegemony through global solidarity, by Richa Chintan, Newsclick (India), Jan 8, 2022 (and re-published in People’s Dispatch, Jan 10, 2022)
* Why Cuba’s extraordinary Covid vaccine success could provide the best hope for low-income countries, CNBC, Jan 13, 2022
* Comparing the Covid-19 responses in Cuba and the United States, research paper by Mary Anne Powell, Paul C. Erwin and Pedro Mas Bermejo, published by the American Journal of Public Health, Dec 8, 2021 (Mary Anne Powell is a student at the University of Alabama. Paul C. Erwin MD is Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama and an associate editor of the American Journal of Public Health. Pedro Mas Bermejo MD PhD is with the Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute in Havana, Cuba.) Read the research paper (12 pages) here in pdf format: Comparing the Covid-19 responses in Cuba and the United States
Two books by author Helen Yaffe:
* We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People have Survived in a Post-Soviet World, Yale University Press, April 2020, 288 pp (review here)
* Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, 354 pp (read Helen Yaffe’s account of how she came to write this book, here)
Fidel Castro’s speech to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 1992 (full text)[The ‘Earth Summit’ (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) took place in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992. World leaders spoke to the summit, including Cuban President Fidel Castro.] Wikipedia
An important biological species — humankind — is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be said that consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction.
They were spawned by the former colonial metropolis. They are the offspring of imperial policies which, in turn, brought forth the backwardness and poverty that have become the scourge for the great majority of humankind.
With only 20% of the world’s population, they consume two-thirds of all metals and three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide. They have poisoned the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air. They have weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.
The forests are disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are becoming extinct. Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations exploited and plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed for all this.
The solution cannot be to prevent the development of those who need it the most. Because today, everything that contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is a flagrant assault of the environment. As a result, tens of millions of men, women and children die every year in the Third World, more than in each of the two world wars.
Unequal trade, protectionism and the foreign debt assault the ecological balance and promote the destruction of the environment. If we want to save humanity from this self-destruction, wealth and available technologies must be distributed better throughout the planet. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries would mean less poverty and hunger in much of the world.
Stop transferring to the Third World lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity.
Now that the supposed threat of communism has disappeared and there is no more pretext to wage cold wars or continue the arms race and military spending, what then is preventing these resources from going immediately to promote Third World development and fight the ecological destruction threatening the planet?
Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago. [end of speech]