Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tonight's Detroit Abides, Join us!


I thought I would send this along to remind you about tonight's Detroit Abides in Eastern Market and inspire you to join us. Here is a review of the film from Yes Magazine, which is a resource we highly recommend. We hope to see you this evening! ~Gregg

Wednesday, March 18th, 7 - 9 pm
in Eastern Market's heated Shed 5

This Month's Topic: Peak Oil

This months FREE movie is The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Reviewed by Janaia Donaldson
Yes Magazine

“The Power of Community” is creating excitement in localization groups, and with good reason. In this film, individual Cubans tell us how they responded to an artificially imposed “Peak Oil” in the 1990s, when the fall of the Soviet Union caused the loss of most food and oil imports. Their stories serve as a valuable model for a world facing Peak Oil on a global scale. Cuba’s transition to a low-energy society is hopeful and instructive.

Interweaving a cogent overview of global Peak Oil with the story of Cuba’s experience, director Faith Morgan outlines the dire consequences of Cuba’s energy crisis. Transportation halted. Electricity was available sporadically. Lacking substitutes for fossil-fuel-based farming, food production was devastated. The average Cuban lost 20 pounds.Morgan shows us the innovative responses of the Cuban people. We see city-dwellers planting urban gardens on every available plot, using permaculture and organic farming to reclaim soils destroyed by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These local farmers reconnect with their neighbors and willingly supply free food to elders, schools, workers, and pregnant women.

We also see how Cuba coped with a sudden lack of energy for modern infrastructure. Without fuel for cars, Cubans walked, carpooled, and rode buses. They even massively adopted the bicycle, despite the prior absence of a cycling culture. We also see Cubans creatively reducing energy consumption in their homes and workplaces and implementing small-scale renewable energy projects.

Most of the innovations Morgan presents arose from the Cuban people, but she shows how the government fostered them. To increase food production, the government divided state farms into smaller private farms and cooperatives. With smaller farms and local control, farmers replaced fossil fuels with labor-intensive practices, animal power, and Cuban-developed biopesticides and biofertilizers, resulting in increased per-acre productivity.

To help people survive, the Cuban government even expanded their free, localized medical system.

Cuba adapted, survived, and thrived because they mobilized their entire culture. They made changes requiring cooperation, adaptability, and openness to alternatives. As one Cuban in the film remarks, “When told they needed to reduce energy use, everybody did it.”

Janaia Donaldson is the host and producer of “Peak Moment,”, a TV series about community responses to Peak Oil.


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