Climate Change and Cuba Highlights Conference Panels

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On the one hand, Cuba is a climate change “hot zone,” a poor country with decrepit infrastructure staring into the face of all manner of climate change calamities: sea-level rise, droughts, monster storms, coral bleaching, etc.

On the other, thanks to Cuba’s own acknowledged scientific expertise, its deepening understanding of the fundamental science and public policy implications of climate change and its desire to re-develop its economy to meet those challenges, Cuba also has the possibility of leap-frogging into a 21st century industrial economy

“Surviving Climate Change: Envisioning the Ecological Future” will be one of the highlight panels at “The Cuban Revolution at 60,” a major international symposium taking place at Dalhousie University in Halifax from October 31 to November 2.

During the three-day conference, over 40 internationally renowned Cuba scholars, policy analysts and policy makers will attempt to take the measure of Cuba’s revolution after its first 60 years by examining the successes and challenges of the Cuban economy, Cuba-US relations, Cuba’s international relations and social change in Cuba, including issues of race, gender (in)equity, health and sexual diversity.

The climate panel, which will include a discussion of the “Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development of Cuba,” a Ford Foundation multi-year project, will also feature presenters examining Cuba’s ecological opportunities and challenges through a variety of expert lenses:

  • Valerie Miller of the Environmental Defense Fund on “Building a Network for a Sustainable Ocean;”
  • Margarita Fernández of the Vermont Caribbean Institute on “Agro-ecology, Food and the Climate Crisis: Transition, Adaptation and Building Resilience in Cuba;
  • Gregory Miller of the Center for Responsible Travel examining “The Potential for Ecotourism in Cuba ;
  • Orlando Rey of Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment explaining “Tarea Vida,” Cuba’s plan to combat climate change;
  • Emily Kirk, an independent scholar discussing “Disaster Management in Cuba: A Health-based Approach.

The conference will also feature presentations by Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s ambassador to Canada who served as Cuba’s chief negotiator with the Americans during the 2014-16 rapprochement; Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the first US ambassador to Cuba in more than five decades, and Dr. Alon Friedman, a ground-breaking neuroscientist at the Dalhousie University Brain Repair Centre, who will discuss his recent findings on the so-called Havana Syndrome.

All sessions are open to the public, and free. Registration is now open. For more information visit the conference website here.

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