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Environment and Sustainability Committee

Guest speaker on alternative energy, Mario Arrastía Avila:

mario arrastía avilaMARIO ALBERTO ARRASTÍA AVILA. Specialist in Science, Technology and Environmental Information at the Center of Information Management and Energy Development (CUBAENERGIA), part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment. Arrastía Avila reached the rank of Assistant Professor at the Pedagogical University Enrique José Varona (ISPEJV). He graduated with a Bachelor of Education, specializing in Physics and Astronomy in 1982. He has taught Physics at all levels in Cuba for 27 years. He founded and directed the Group of Energy Education at the ISPEJV from 1998 to 2006 and worked for three years in the Dinaledi Project in South Africa advising Physics teachers in the Limpopo and North West provinces. He has participated in National and International events and has presented at conferences in Norway, Argentina, South Africa and Spain. Arrastía Avila has also published articles about astronomy and energy in popular science magazines in Cuba, Japan, Spain, Argentina, the United States, and Denmark. He is the author of two books; Energy Conservation and Environmental Respect: Foundations of a Sustainable Future, and Solar Energy for You, aimed at developing an energy culture among Cuban students. The first of these books received the category of Outstanding in the XV National Forum of Science and Technology.

Arrastía Avila has visited energy facilities in Norway, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Argentina and Nicaragua. He is a member of CUBASOLAR, and participated in drafting the energy module for the training of Social Workers. He currently works in the Outreach and Education Group of CUBAENERGÍA, where he coordinates the job, together with Educational Television, to develop audiovisuals directed to the training and development of a popular energy culture. He is also the editor of the Electronic publication “Energy Clips” which is distributed to more than 2000 national users, and over 200 readers from 12 countries of Latin America and Spain.

Arrastía Avila has been scientific advisor to the national television program Energy XXI, and was an advisor to the documentary Life and Energy for Cuban television. He has a diploma in Solar Photovoltaic Energy from the University of Havana. He has received international courses on renewable sources of energy from the Center of Energy, Technology and Environmental Research (CIEMAT) in Spain, and Solar Energy International in the United States. He writes a column about energy issues for the national Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde and currently is coordinating and teaching in a TV course on Energy and Climate Change.

(updated August 2010)



Yateras is located near two United Nations Biospheres Reserves, so designated for their biodiversity. Bacanao, which lies southwest of Yateras contains 6,000 plant species, 800 species of insects, and numerous reptiles, birds, and mammals, many of which are endemic. Cuchillas de Toa Biosphere Reserve, east of Yateras, contains two protected nature reserves which host more endemic species of flora and fauna than any other region of Cuba.

The Committee is interested in learing more about environmental issues that include organic farming and use of solar energy. The region surrounding Yateras is also important for its agricultural products, the most important of which from an economic viewpoint is coffee. Currently all schools in the area use solar power as an energy resource and use of solar energy is expanding.

(Last updated September 10, 2004)


Humboldt Park

Bust of Alexander Humboldt at Alejandro de Humboldt National Park Headquarters. UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Cuban tree snails

Endangered Cuban parrot.cotorra

solar energy

Solar Energy