The recent visit of Barack Obama to Cuba made me think of the urban and rural habitats of this country. I would like to relate the Caribbean state with another island, Japan. Both have tended to isolate themselves from the rest of the world; Japan in the first half of the 20th century and Cuba for more than 50 years. Regardless of their geographical, historical, and political circumstances, we can approach their soils and bodies of water by taking a glance to their artificial lights at night. These visualisations are from NASA.
The intensity of the artificial lights in Japan contrasts with the limited exposure of Cuba. The darkness of the Caribbean Sea and of the Gulf of Mexico are in opposition to the brightness of the Korea Strait. What do these images tell us about the future of both islands? How can we measure the environmental sustainability of an imminent economic liberalisation in Cuba? The answer could come from different angles, but this snapshot in 2016 is a first step to understand urban and rural situations in two contexts.