Dr. Humberto Ríos Labrada is a Cuban folk musician, agricultural scientist and environmentalist. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010, for his work for biodiversity and sustainable development of Cuban agriculture.
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Greater biodiversity implies greater health. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.
Sustainable development (SD) is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Humberto Ríos Labrada has worked tirelessly in Cuba to diversify crop usage. A graduate student while the Soviet Block was disintegrating, he recognized that indigenous farming knowledge could be promulgated and enhanced to counter growing trends in sugar cane monocropping.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba partitioned small blocks of land to farming collectives. Labrada pioneered “seed fairs” or seed swaps to encourage farmers to share knowledge and diversify their seed usage. It’s working. 50,000 farmers are now involved in Labrada’s agricultural biodiversity work. Check out this video for more information on this inspiring human being.
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