college prep work

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cuba Part 2

Cuba part 2
Cuba’s oil exports decreased from 13 tons to 4 tons of oil a year almost instantly. This is the perfect example of what would happen if peak oil around the world did not plateau off at the top but had a very steep decrease.
Something that we would see in the U.S. and was seen in Cuba was the weight lose that they had. Cubans experienced average weights lose of 24 pounds. Since Americans are the fattest country in the world now, due to the massive amounts of fast food and generally unhealthy food that has become the normal meal for Americans.
So that is without a doubt something that would be a good outcome from Peak oil. In recent years the amount of young people with diabetes and other health issues from food has sky rocketed. So since all food will have to be naturally grown and we wont be able to have the drinks with the high amounts of the high fructose corn syrup, the average American will be healthier.
Although I do not feel this will happen right away. As we discussed in class Cuban people were still not that far off from when they were a peasant state. So many people still knew how to farm and live off the land. While in the 50’s it may have still been that about 20% of the U.S. population were farmers now only about 5% are. So we have this small group making all the food for the remaining 95% of the population. So while Cuba did have food issues for a while, I think that two things will lead to more people either going hungry for a longer or actually dieing from malnutrition. One is as I said before the lack of farmers. While people will be able to learn from people and start farming, it will be a much slower process due to the fact that there are so few teachers. It also seems that Cuba has a much more community oriented feel, and that they are more obligated to help others if they can. Professor Snyder told us a story of a friend who was riding around Cuba on a bike and every night had a place offered to stay and got a huge amount of food. When he told us about that some of the students didn’t believe that there were not nights he was alone. In the U.S. we are taught that people who are outside or without a place to stay are not safe. It is actually illegal to hitchhike now. So I feel that people will not have so much of the community feeling when things go bad. People in the U.S. will try and sustain a life just on their own but without working together survival is going to be much harder. For example if say two families got together, and one did the farming and made the food while the other kept the equipment and built the houses etc, there would be much more time to work together, and generate more food or whatever needs to be done.
Something we learned from a reading we got was a step that will be gone through is people becoming scavengers. Since there will not be machinery people will have to continue to use the things that were made before peak oil. If the cars stop working take the metal from them and put them to use perhaps on a roof. In Cuba we see that they had to do just that. Vacant lots in the city were converted into small gardens that could feed the surrounding areas. Roof space that before was not being used was also used to put food, since their unblocked surroundings would give the plants a large amount of sun.
An issue they had was that cement and other building materials were very expensive, so it has been very difficult to build new structures, because the little gas that they do have is going towards public transportation. So the state of the buildings is starting to not be very good. Something that I think will happen with the U.S. is since it a much larger population than Cuba the resources will be used up much quicker and they will not be able to continue to build new things. Stretch malls and suburban set ups have been built to only last for very short periods of time. Stretch malls and big shops such as Wal marts are only designed to last up to 14 years. So now we will have all these neighborhoods with huge amount of destroyed land that can neither be used for land regrowth since all the cement destroys it and it can not be used for shops any more since there will not be any resources to fix them up.
Overall I feel that Cuba can show us that there could be a much more positive out look on peak oil, only if Americans have a more joined mentality, as well as start work on teaching each other how to live a more green life style.


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