Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wisdom from the Woods VII

Wisdom from the Woods is an occasional column that outlines a complex issue.

Today's picture is of a single stone cairn that originated from Native American burial rituals. Throughout New England, these heaps of stones were placed in strategic locations. It is strongly believed that the placement of these stones was to honor the dead. Oral traditions relating to the practice seem to have been lost, but there is documentation from the early settlement period that indicates that these sites were burial sites or actually sites to honor the departed. At the center of most authentic cairns is usually found a single piece of quartz. Click on the picture to expand it and you can view the quartz. This cairn is one of hundreds discovered at this particular site. To learn more about the stone cairns click here; but please, if you ever find a site do not disturb it as it should still be considered sacred.

Today I'm thinking about Cuba. Having been alive during the Bay of Pigs invasion and being frightened by the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union because of their Cuban missile program, I've thought a lot about Cuba over the years. Barack Obama is seeking a new beginning with this rouge state. Cuba has a long way to go when you talk about civil rights. Is Barack Obama walking into a mine field here? Certainly John Kennedy did. I guess that you have to start somewhere; after all, our world is too small to ignore a nation or nations that could help us stabilize our economy here.

How could Cuba do that you ask? One product and one word; sugar cane and ethanol. The United States has stood idly by while a South American country, Brazil, has lead the world in sustainable energy. Brazil is home to the world's first sustainable bio-fuels economy. Their innovation with flex fuel cars and dedication to become the worlds leader in the production of Ethanol renders them free of Arab oil. Can you imagine a day when the United States could tell the Arab nations, we don't want your oil; we don't need your oil? That day would be comparable to Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon.

Cuba could become the most important trading partner with the U.S. if we could find a way to thaw the relationship. I think that this is what Obama is thinking about. You see, we have very little land that supports the growing of sugar cane. Brazil, Cuba and India are among the world leaders in the production of sugar cane. These countries have the climate and suitable ecosystems for sustaining long term production. The United States fumbles around with the production of ethanol from corn, but using corn is highly inefficient. Sugar cane is estimated to be 10 times more efficient for producing ethanol than corn.

While Obama's step towards thawing relations with Cuba is a small step, it does sound like the Cuban regime wants to come to the table and open discussion. I think we need to strike at the opportunity; but be careful, there could be some treacherous turns in the road ahead. Regardless of our immediate future with Cuba, the U.S. needs to become the leader in alternative fuels. For once; I guess you can say that we have to follow the leader, Brazil.



  1. There is another alternative - hemp

  2. I like the Wisdom from the Woods posts