At Organoponico Vivero Alamar farm just outside of Havana, where rows of fruits and vegetables soak up the early spring sun on a recent Wednesday, a simple red-stemmed mint plant is under the 24-hour surveillance of a security guard and watchdog.
Phil Chiampa and his wife Toni Lyn have been coming to El Oriental de Cuba for decades, but they worried they may have lost “the best Cuban food that we’ve ever had” when an arsonist set fire to the restaurant in 2005.
John Wesley rides his horse through the Cuban countryside, beneath tall palm trees and mountains so green they look purple. He holds the reins in one hand and his Bible in the other.
Laura Weber looks fondly at a gallon-sized tank filled with test tubes and adorned with weathered security clearance forms. This tank, called a dry shipper, had been charged up with liquid nitrogen to act as a special cooler that would keep its contents cold during the long journey from the United States to Cuba and back again.
As climate change worsens, the world’s coral reefs continue to fail at staggering rates. But in Cuba, years of strict environmental regulations have given these ecosystems a fighting chance.