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Religions 2018, 9(11), 342;

The Spiritual Dimensions of the Permaculture Movement in Cuba

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
A previous version of this article was presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Conference in 2015.
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 28 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Politics: New Developments Worldwide)
Full-Text   |   PDF [291 KB, uploaded 15 November 2018]


Following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba experienced an acute economic crisis in the 1990s known as the “Special Period”. This crisis challenged not only the state’s ability to provide for Cubans’ material needs, but also the moral vision of creating a “New Human” within the Revolution’s political framework. During the Special Period, a variety of new religious and civil society movements emerged to meet both the material and spiritual needs of Cubans. Permaculture, a holistic design system that arrived from Australia in 1993, promotes more harmonious relationships between human beings and nature through a set of three ethical principles: (1) Care for the Earth; (2) Care for People; and (3) Sharing Resources. Within the Cuban context, the growing permaculture movement is part of a larger set of religious and civil society revivals since the fall of the Soviet Bloc. Using qualitative fieldwork, this paper argues that permaculture is functioning as a religious-like movement in Cuba because it provides both spiritual and material benefits to individuals through networks of mutual aid and social solidarity. The permaculture movement also provides flexibility for individual perspectives about nature as sacred and having intrinsic value apart from usefulness to humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cuba; permaculture; nature spirituality; religion and politics; theories of religion Cuba; permaculture; nature spirituality; religion and politics; theories of religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Caraway, R.T. The Spiritual Dimensions of the Permaculture Movement in Cuba. Religions 2018, 9, 342.

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