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Is being green a luxury in developing nations?

Reflecting on being green in Cuba

Reflecting on being green in Trinidad, Cuba

This past week-end, i got back from a much needed vacation in Cuba. While there, I reflected a lot upon the feasibility of being green in a developing, socialist no less, nation.

Often in the developed world, we equate being “green” with “green” products. It’s true that making the switch from conventional to “green” or eco-friendly products is definitely a step in the right direction, but I think we’ve lost track of the essential meaning.  A green lifestyle should be about reducing consumption, not the buying of new “green” products. Check out the story of stuff if this doesn’t make sense.

It’s easy to be ethnocentric and judge other peoples cultures. Immediately upon arriving in Varadero, I was quick to judge the resort I was at for not recycling (shampoo bottles, pop cans, wine & rum bottles etc.) and bus drivers that would idle for half an hour at rest stops.

However, upon reflection, the Cubans did much more than I have seen Canadians do in a long time which probably impacts the environment even more. They live a lifestyle that we have long forgotten about. A lifestyle that embodies the basics of no waste, albeit for economic reasons. Continue reading