In the last few weeks, we have spent countless hours immersed in the Cuban environmental scene talking about nature, the environment and climate change.
Our conversations have been everything but dry. We are meeting with people that have a deep connection to the natural world and a lot of knowledge and vision.
From interviews, to informal conversations, to storytelling – they all seem to be sharing a simple message that is resonating with me: as humans, we need to learn how to see ourselves as part of nature, and not as something separate from it.
Here are some quotes that have stuck with me:
‘Siento que soy ni más ni menos de cualquier otra parte de la naturaleza.’
‘I feel that I am nothing more and nothing less than any other part of nature.
I am like an ant, I am like a bird. I am neither unique nor better or more valuable than any other part of nature. We are all important.’
Carmen runs the program for sustainable development at the foundation Antonio Nunez Hímenes in Havana. She was among the first people to receive training on permaculture and she has made it her job to share permaculture practices across the country.)
‘I feel that life in the city is absolutely crazy. Everything that happens in nature is a closed cycle. Life in the city breaks this cycle.
We let the sun, our only source of energy, be reflected on pavements- and be wasted.’
(Carmen Cabrera, Foundation Antonio Nunez Hímenes)
‘We mistakenly see nature as something separate from us, as a primary resource.
Nature is our house. We can’t see it as a product to sell.’
(Ricardo Diaz, Biology Professor, University of Villa Clara)
‘I am not sure why we have the idea that to love
we need to possess.’
(Roberto, guide of the botanical garden at the University of Villa Clara
talking about how people pick the beautiful flowers the garden makes openly available to the public).
‘Sustainability is the horizon.’
(Silvio, founder of the permaculture farm ‘el Mambi’)