Dr. Thomas Henry Culhane is a faculty member of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida, Tampa and the co-founding director of the not-for-profit educational corporation "Solar CITIES" which helps community stakeholders solve urban ecology and development issues surrounding waste-water, solid waste, food security and decentralized clean energy production. As a National Geographic Emerging Explorer since 2009 Culhane introduced his own designs for low cost biodigesters to community leaders in Brazil and many Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries. His research involves closing the loop between food waste and food production, creating local resilient systems for poverty alleviation and wildlife preservation.
Culhane first visited Cuba for a week as a graduate student in Urban Planning in the year 2000, researching the country's leadership role in the agroforestry use of the highly nutritious fruits, leaves and seeds of the indigenous Maya breadnut tree, Brosimum alicastrum. Culhane spent time doing research in the Havana public library and in the field in Punta Maria la Gorda, where he also explored the relationship between coastal forests and Cuba's spectacular coral reefs. He looks forward to continuing the effort to create sustainable tourism opportunities that benefit local communities and environments"
For the past 4 years Culhane has been a full time professor of Environmental Sustainability and Justice at Mercy College, New York, where each year he continues the tradition of “voluntourism” by leading his students on service learning projects to observe and participate in renewable energy and waste management projects, training them in the field at the college and in the New York and Pennsylvania regions and then bringing the low cost technologies and ideas they develop to developing regions (most recently villages in Palestine and the Bedouin areas of Israel and immigrant sending regions of Belize and the Dominican Republic, where many Mercy students are from).
Culhane, whose doctorate is in Environmental Urban Planning, speaks passionately and insightfully about how every one of us can make a difference wherever we go, as “prosumers” who consume intelligently and ethically and who proactively create alternatives through sharing solutions when we travel.
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