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Peak Oil

A post oil world

Pessimists think that a world without oil or replacement fuels will inevitably mean mass poverty and misery as economies collapse. But not necessarily - there is a country which was suddenly deprived of oil and they're doing fine. Cuba.

Case study: Cuba, where peak oil has already happened

Cuba has a unique place geographically and politically. It is a communist dictatorship lying in the Carribean backyard of the United States, something which greatly displeases the US government. During the Cold War, due to political disputes between the two countries, in 1962 the US decided to punish Cuba by imposing an economic blockade and cut off its oil supplies, thinking that this would bring the country to its knees. In effect, overnight Cuba experienced Peak Oil. Everyone believed that Cuba would grind to a halt, that it's citizens would starve and that there would be great suffering.

Cuba didn't starve

But instead of starving due to the inability to move food from the farms to the cities, Cubans instead started to grow food in their gardens, window boxes and roof tops. To this day, the capital city of Havana provides half of its requirements for fruit and vegetables in this way.

A positive lesson

That Cubans didn't starve or even suffer that much gives a positive example as to what could be done to change how we manage our societies in response to Peak Oil. Their response was to reorganise their society to operate using  very little energy. Find out more here

Next: Energy & the world economy



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A truck unloading in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Laurent Violette
It's a capital city, so where are all the cars?

Would you be willing to grow food in your garden or in window boxes? What else do you think could be done to manage without oil?