(Article changed on March 3, 2014 at 11:41)
(Article changed on March 3, 2014 at 11:37)
Easter Island (Rapa Nui), a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is most famous for its 887 giant carved stone statues (Maoi). What many don't know is that the now desolate island was once a verdant paradise with a thriving culture.
Understanding what happened there, and why, should serve as a loud and clear alarm to a world now following a similar path.
The rise and fall of Easter Island serves as a microcosm, demonstrating the disastrous result of overpopulation, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources. Cultural and environmental exploitation led to the demise of a vibrant society, which was sophisticated enough to carve, move, and erect the giant stone monuments that remain a mystery even today.
In his best-selling book, Collapse
, Jared Diamond says Easter Island is the "clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources." Diamond termed this self-destructive behavior "ecocide", a fate that could one day be our own.
It should also be mentioned that an alternative explanation for the island's demise has been offered - one that blames the deforestation on rats. It purports that rats were introduced as stowaways on canoes, and proceeded to devour all the trees. Once the island was depleted of vegetation and the birds that lived off the plants, the population adapted and survived with a new food source - the rats.
Those who support this theory consider it to be a demonstration of "successful" human adaptability. Successful adaptability? Really?
Retired, reformed capitalist, recovering consumer, quasi-luddite, artist, self-published poet, spiritual growth activist, animal rights advocate and Reiki master - originally from New Jersey, now living near the great urban experiment called (more...)