Thorny bushes and barren soil made it look like a bad bet, but Cuban farmer José Antonio Sosa ignored other people’s objections about the land and gave life to what is now the thriving La Villa farm on the outskirts of Havana.
Cuba has readjusted its plans to achieve at least 37 percent of electricity from clean energy by 2030, a promising but risky challenge for a nation that is a heavy consumer of fossil fuels and has persistent financial problems.
With aging infrastructure and problems with fuel supplies, Cuba is facing a crisis in its electric power generation system, which could accelerate plans to increase the share of renewable sources in the energy mix.
Cuba, already beset by hurricanes, floods, droughts that deplete its main water sources, among other natural disasters, has seen its socioeconomic difficulties, similar to those faced by other Caribbean island nations, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuban farmer José Antonio Casimiro found in the ageold technique of sowing water an opportunity to meet his farm's water needs and mitigate the increasingly visible effects of climate change.
Yunia Cancio cooked with firewood until a few years ago, when a biodigester was built on her family’s El Renacer farm in Cabaiguán, a municipality in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spíritus, under the Biomass Cuba project. That change meant a lot for her family’s quality of life, but it was not the only one.
With the construction of aqueducts, water purification and desalination plants, and investments to upgrade hydraulic infrastructure, Cuba is seeking to manage the impacts of droughts and floods that are intensifying with climate change.
Most beginnings are rocky and sometimes the obstacles seem insurmountable, before they are finally overcome. This was certainly the case for the Finca Marta, a farm in Cuba that had to begin by digging a well in search of water and with the hard-scrabble work of clearing an arid, stony and overgrown plot of land.
Black plastic pipes, readily available on the mainly empty shelves of Cuba’s shops, distribute biogas to homes in the rural town of La Macuca, buried under the ground or running through the grass and stones in people’s yards.
At a brisk pace, Marciano Calamato and Mireya Noa walk along the dry, yellow soil of their farm, where they even manage to grow onions in Cuba's unique semi-arid eastern region.
When people ask marine biologist Angela Corvea why the symbol of her environmental project Acualina, which has transcended the borders of Cuba, is a little girl, she answers without hesitation: "Because life, care, attachment, the creative force of life lie are contained in the feminine world."
If you enjoy a good daily shower and water comes out every time you turn on the taps in your home, you should feel privileged. There are places in the world where this vital resource for life is becoming scarcer by the day and the forecasts for the future are grim.
Eastern Cuba has suffered drought since time immemorial. But the western and central regions of the island used to be almost free of the phenomenon, until the latest drought that plagued this country between 2014 and 2017.
Strong winds agitate the sea that crashes over Punta de Maisí, the most extreme point in eastern Cuba, where no building stands on the coast made up of rocky areas intermingled with vegetation and with sandy areas where people can swim and sunbathe.
Cuba's tense relations with the United States under the administration of Donald Trump reflect a scenario of conflict that is not alien to the generation that will take over the country on Apr. 19, when President Raúl Castro is set to step down.
“Maybe many of us thought that this project was a dream six years ago, but not anymore. The geography has completely changed, because of everything that has been built and the investments that have been approved," said Nathaly Suárez, director of Construction Management at the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
Based on protein plants, pasture and fodder, Orlando Corrales produces cow and goat milk on a farm located next to a major road in the Cuban capital. "We do not use any industrial feed here," he says proudly.
Cuban migration to the United States is the great loser under Donald Trump's hostile policy toward Cuba, and creates additional difficulties for citizens of this Caribbean island nation who were accustomed to benefits that their neighbors in the rest of Latin America never enjoyed.
At the entrance, the Tierra Brava farm looks like any other family farm in the rural municipality of Los Palacios, in the westernmost province of Cuba. But as you drive in, you see that the traditional furrows are not there, and that freshly cut grass covers the soil.
Early in the day, when a gentle dew moistens the ground and vegetation in the mountains of eastern Cuba, street vendor Raulises Ramírez sets up his rustic stand next to the La Farola highway and displays his cone-shaped coconut sweets.
A new set of regulations to strengthen the maternity rights of working women and encourage people to have children in Cuba were seen as a positive step but not enough, because they do not include measures to encourage more active participation in child-rearing by men.