Cuba, home to 11 million people, is located in the Caribbean. Cuba and its small surrounding islands are known for their beautiful scenery, appreciation for science, and great diversity of natural resources. Cuba's greatest richness is in its people, who are a magical mix of native people, Spanish, African and Chinese--which is reflected in the country's culture and character. Today, Cuba has rural and urban Green Map projects throughout all its provinces.
In 1999, Mapa Verde Cuba (Green Map Cuba) was initiated simultaneously in the cities of Holguin and Havana by city environmental educators. At the end of 2000, the Mapa Verde Cuba national network took shape.
The Mapa Verde Cuba network gives structure to the island's various participating teams and has helped create exchanges, document different experiences, and provide videos, manuals and training. Their primary function is to run Mapa Verde workshops, linking mapmakers, students, and community leaders from all over the island.
Children, young people, adults and elder participants range in age from 5 to 85. Projects are based at elementary and secondary schools, universities, neighborhood and popular councils, community revitalization workshops, elders' groups and ecology centers. Each Mapmaker team has its own coordinating group and system. Over 1,000 students from across the island have taken part.
Mapa Verde projects help young people revitalize, reclaim and restore their community assets. The experience helps reinforce community and environmental values through sustainable development as participants develop skills and gain a sense of lasting ownership.
Mapa Verde projects are very much participatory. The methodology and mapping process maintain a sense of cultural diversity and promote a movement focused on solving environmental issues. Its use of poetry, songs, rap, theater and dance with environmental themes celebrates the different people and talents involved in the project.
The participation of people from different generations and professions provides great richness. The groups take field trips, create contests and share their experiences as they interact with people from other parts of the island and the global Green Map network.
Some thematic Green Map examples:
- Project Muraleando Elders' Map: In the municipality "10th of October", a poor district of Lawton, community elders have charted hazardous places for pedestrians, places where
elders live alone and need help, parks for exercise and other places of interest to seniors.
- Cultural Personalities Map: In the popular council of Prince, municipality "Plaza of the Revolution", this map highlights local people doing cultural work or art who share their work with the community.
- Biodiversity Maps: several maps have charted places with special natural resources and protected lands, showing forests and rivers. These have been created in Mil Cumbres
(Pinar del Rio) and Topes de Collantes (Sancti Spiritus).
- Disabled Access: In Manzanillo, province Granma, this map charts places with good access and places that present risks for disabled people.