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Cuba's 15 Years!

La versión española más adelante

Mapa Verde Red, the Green Map network in Cuba, is one of the more dynamic and elaborate ongoing Green Mapmaking projects. Based at Centro Felix Varela in Havana, the Cuban Green Map team has been incredibly prolific in creating tools, maps, videos, guides and educational frameworks. Led by biologist Liana Bidart Cisneros, a great group coordinates all aspects, including María Luisa Ventosa Zenea, Dely Rodríguez Velázquez, Asunción Capote Fernández, Gustavo Blanco Vale and Victoria Castillo Garrido.

In 2013, the 15th anniversary of Mapa Verde Red was celebrated with the publication of Mapa Verde en el contexto Cubano. Published by the Centro Felix Varela, this book is a thorough overview of the processes and methodology underlying the practice of Green Mapmaking as a means for sustainable community development. Download the book below! This anniversary was also marked by the Cuban national television station with a short film showing the network’s impact on sustainability in rural and urban communities in 12 of Cuba's 14 provinces.

Spot Mapa Verde from Centro Félix Varela on Vimeo.

Since it was established in 1998, Mapa Verde Red has led numerous projects. For example, in 2009, the project “El Rincón de Candito” took place in Alamar, a district of Havana. Transforming a garbage dump into a multipurpose community site with a graceful bamboo pavillion, this project served as a model for sustainable community development.

A wonderful 25 minute video features projects across the country – it’s in three segments – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Mapa Verde Red took part in international Green Mapmakers events at Bellagio Italy and in Victoria Canada. A co-produced book about the community-based process, Mapping our Common Ground (in English) / Mapeando Nuestra Tierra Comun (en Espanol) is an important outcome of these meetings.

Special thanks to Liana Bidart Cisneros and Bernice Keshet for this report.

These are a few of Mapa Verde Red’s unique icons, helping to chart the specific ecology and social life of Cuba.

Bernice asked Liana to explain a little about the work and special methodology of Mapa Verde Red, and the unique impacts of this work (an English translation follows the Spanish text).

Mapa verde en Cuba, quince años en RED

La RED cubana de MV surge en Cuba en el año 2001 pero desde 1998 ya se aplicaba la metodología a partir de que la Sra. Wendy Brawer la trajera a nuestro país y el Centro Félix Varela, ONG cubana (www.cfv.org), la incluyera dentro de sus líneas de trabajo como metodología de Educación Ambiental. A partir de entonces, un equipo compuesto por personas del Staf del centro, voluntarios integrantes del Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática, maestras y otras personas jubiladas, se dieron a la tarea de multiplicar este saber, y es así que en estos momentos contamos con alrededor de 1500 mapedaores y la RED en 12 de las 14 provincias del país.

La RED ha ido complejizando su trabajo y enriqueciendo la metodología a partir de las características de nuestro contexto, dinámico y cambiante como todo proceso en la búsqueda de un mejor proyecto social. Esto, lejos de ser una barrera, se convierte en desafío y oportunidad para poner en juego la creatividad y el saber de los integrantes de la RED, además de promover la articulación con organizaciones, instituciones, proyectos y redes sociales que potencian y facilitan acciones dado la complejidad de las problemáticas que se identifican en el diagnóstico en las comunidades.

Por la legitimidad alcanzada en algunos territorios, MV es hoy un referente frecuente en investigaciones y estudios de comunidades, incorporando nuevos elementos y visibilizando problemáticas socioambientales. También ha sido asumida por Universidades en tesis de diploma y maestrías, lo que ha contribuido al sustento teórico de lo que ya hemos declarado como: Mapa Verde en el contexto cubano, particularizando ya la metodología que empleamos, que no es solo de información y educativa, sino con fines de transformar de manera participativa lo que no es deseado en las comunidades.

Nuestro desafío hoy está en sintonía con las problemáticas generadas por el cambio climático, teniendo en cuenta las evidencias de daño que ya tenemos: que hacer, cómo y con quienes. Otro, continuar creciendo y fortaleciéndonos como RED, sensibilizando a decidores con la metodología, para propiciar una mayor participación ciudadana en la trasformación socioambiental.

Green Map Cuba – Celebrating 15 years to our network!

The Cuban Green Map System was established in 2001, yet the methodology has been applied since 1998, when Ms. Wendy Brawer brought it to our country and the Cuban NGO, the Felix Varela Center began including it as a methodology for environmental education. Since then, a team made up of the Center staff, members of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, teachers and retiree volunteers undertook the task of spreading this knowledge.

Today we have approximately 1500 Green Mapmakers in our network, working in 12 out of Cuba’s 14 provinces, from Pinar del Rio to Guantanamo.

The network has extended and enriched the scope of its work and methodology over the years. Beginning with our context features, we use dynamic, ever-changing processes to search for ways to improve our social impact. However challenging, the changing nature of these processes is far from being an obstacle. On the contrary, it becomes an opportunity to put the creativity and knowledge of the members of our network into use. In addition, it promotes cooperation with organizations, institutions, projects and social networks that promote and facilitate action, while overcoming the complexities and difficulties that arise in different communities.

Gaining reputation in many local communities, Green Map Network in Cuba is now frequently used as reference in research and community studies, incorporating new elements and increasing the visibility of socio-environmental issues. Our resources are also used by universities for thesis and masters research projects. These efforts have contributed to the theoretical framework of what we have already stated: Green Map in the Cuban context, and the particular methodology that we use, is not only an educational information tool, but a means for participatory transformation of everything that can be improved in our communities.

Our challenges today are in line with the problems caused by climate change, taking into account the impacts that we can already witness: what to do, how and with whom. Another goal is to continue to grow and to strengthen our network, informing decision makers with our methodology and promote greater citizen participation in socio-environmental transformation.

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