CUBA

Creating Sustainable Futures

in the Face of Climate Change


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Where: Baracoa, Cuba

When: December 30 - January 6 (8 days)

Deadline: November 1, 2017

Group Size: Max 15

Age: 18+ We strive to create diverse groups that are interested in engaging with issues and identifying solutions

Credits: 4 Quarter-credit course accredited by Portland State University* and in collaboration with carpe Diem Education


WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

Using Cuba as our classroom, you will join us on the front-lines of climate change alongside scientists and community members who are defining socio-ecological solutions. 

Develop the skills and experiential insight needed for creating a better present and a sustainable future around the world.


The programs are rigorous, so you learn a lot, but at every opportunity, you learn by doing.

  • Interview local experts about How local Populations, food-systems, and markets are Affected by climate change.

  • Learn what helped Baracoa rebound after the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthew.

  • Discover how sustainable–and community–driven agriculture saved Cuba from starvation following the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

  • Visit coffee, cacao, and coconut plantations. Learn about why these crops are important to Cuba and the World. Discover how climate change is affecting them and what we can do about it. Make chocolate and cocoa butter. Roast traditional Cuban coffee. Cook a traditional Baracoan feast. 

  • Hike through verdant green mountains and swim in waterfalls to learn about watersheds and resilience to Climate Impacts.  

  • Enjoy optional evening outings to performances and Cuban music/dance workshops.

  • RECEIVE 4 COLLEGE CREDITS!*


WHY CUBA?

BARACOA, IN CUBA'S "WILD EAST", IS A LIVING LABORATORY FOR UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS AND SOLUTIONS. THE AREA WAS RAVAGED BY HURRICANE MATTHEW IN THE FALL OF 2016, OFFERING THE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS TO LEARN FIRST-HAND WHAT WORKED AND WHAT DIDN'T FOR KEEPING COMMUNITIES, AGRICULTURE, AND LOCAL ECOLOGY STRONG IN THE FACE OF THIS CLIMATE-RELATED NATURAL DISASTER. 


WHAT DO STUDENTS SAY?

..the program enriched my understanding and left me contemplating the multi-faceted impact of climate-change and the approaches needed for communities to adapt and thrive.
— Beth Pecoraro
The program included conversations with farmers, indigenous people, and researchers, and material was always presented from many points of view…I gained a deep appreciation for and connection to the communities we visited, and an understanding of how their livelihoods are at risk from a changing climate.
— Ezra Fradkin
I learned that it is important to understand a system before engaging with it, whether it is an ecosystem or a person... Cuba showed me what people can do by relying on each other.
— Lucy Martin

Itinerary

*Students will be required to prepare with readings, participate in discussions and present a final project (please see syllabus for details). Listed itinerary may be adjusted as deemed necessary by Ecothropic with the intention of offering the best learning experience to students. Activities may include optional evening outings to performances and music/dance workshops.

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Day 1: Fly with the group to Cuba, then travel overland to Baracoa. Surrounded by bright-blue ocean, towering-green mountains, and laced with rivers, this was the home of the ancient Taino culture and in 1511 was where the Spaniards first arrived in Cuba.

Day 2: Before heading out for the day, we'll review the syllabus and expectations for the course (see "Syllabus"). Then get to know your fellow students and learn about the unique local food and rationing system while exploring Baracoa on a scavenger hunt. .

Day 3: Visit the home of local woman that grows cacao. Learn how climate change is impacting this key ingredient in chocolate and what we can do about it. Make your own chocolate and cocoa butter! Return to Baracoa in the evening to discuss everything you've learned with your classmates and maybe join a in salsa lesson or enjoy live Cuban music.

Day 4: Hike through the lush mountains that frame Baracoa to learn how good watershed management can protect people from climate change impacts.  Swim in a waterfall and taste tropical fruits while you explore the local ecology and practice your Spanish with campesinos we meet along the trail.

Day 5: Learn how coffee is produced at a local farm and try freshly brewed Cuban coffee. Talk with experts about the challenges and solutions for this key crop in the face in climate change. Share your ideas and insights with the rest of the group during the nightly group discussion.

Day 6: Spend the morning discussing how we can adapt to climate change based on what you have seen and learned. Visit a local family to learn their experience of Hurricane Matthew and how they protected their land and livelihoods. Explore trails, learn about traditional herbal medicine, and then help prepare a traditional Baracoan meal using coconut and other local produce!

Day 7: Wrap up our trip with a final discussion about the differences and similarities between agricultural, ecological, and climate change concerns in Eastern Cuba versus the US. Present your final projects and then celebrate our trip with a feast on the beach.

Day 8: Return to our Cuban departure airport and fly to home!


Details

Accommodation: During our time in Baracoa, we will be staying in a casa particular, a Cuban bed and breakfast, in the historic center of Baracoa. Room occupancy 2-3 students.

Language Requirement: None

Tuition: $3960 

*Tuition Includes instruction and guest lecturers, accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, site visits, specified activities, Cuban travel visa, and Cuban international health insurance. Not included: Fee for PSU college credit ($500)*, airfare, additional food, drinks, and activities not included in itinerary. Activities may be adjusted at the discretion of Ecothropic. 


APPLY NOW!


*There is a $50 non-refundable fee for all applications that will be credited toward tuition. A non-refundable deposit of $1000 is due upon acceptance to confirm your place in the program. The balance of the tuition and airfare is due on November 15, 2016.

**In order to provide the best and safest experience possible it is imperative that you answer these questions openly and honestly. If you check any of them, please fill out the text area below describe the situation or condition at greater length. We reserve the right to request further information and to speak with doctors, counselors, etc. All medical information and personal disclosure will be kept strictly confidential.

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