Easter Island Population 2016Osterinsel Population 2016
Isle of Easter: Learning from our past
As of January 1, 2016, the global population was expected to be around 7. As far as deforestation is concerned, about eighty per cent of the world's forest was devastated by people. With the issue of the destruction of the environment and the ability to fight it becoming more and more common among global government and its electorate, people are looking for some kind of guide to saving what is over there.
Fortunately, the world's guides don't need to look at a computer simulator or create a theoretical script to see what would be happening if they didn't alter the course. Looking back into the story gives them the necessary orientation, as the sinking of Easter Island on a small-scale demonstrates, how the delicate equilibrium between man and his surroundings must be kept in control in order to prevent an appocalyptic result.
The Easter Island is a small, secluded volcano island about two thousand leagues off the Chilean coastline with a surface area of only one hundred and fifty sqm. It was first populated in the years 700-1100 AD. In a group of about twenty to thirty persons, the inhabitants of Easter Island, who call themselves "Rapanui", formed a hierarchical community characterized by religious and ritual practice and culturally valuable.
This practice involves the construction of their renowned sculptures of walls of stone, which still confuse the historian today, as they could move these extreme rocks without it. Rapanui needed large amounts of wood from the island's forest to build long, versatile paths on which the rocks could be pushed.
In addition to the use of wood to make the statue, the Rapanui have heavily cleared the island for boiling and warming, rowing boats, farming and other everyday goods. But as the Rapanui were living in their apparently paradisiacal realm, their impact on the island's enviromen. When the wood began to vanish from the woods, the Rapanui had to stop making homes and use what was remaining on the rock on the island for cave and shelter.
The Rapanui only had to rely on farming for their food. Though Easter Island had a tropic weather, the ground was poor in nutrients and the only crop that could thrive was potato and beef. Effects on forest degradation also affected their own convictions and practice, both spiritually and culturally.
The Rapanui could no longer pull the rocks and set up sculptures without timber, bringing their societal structures and religions into a spin, which led to common conflict and hate between the individual factions. The separation, together with the current destruction of the environment, led to the near extermination of the Rapanui and finally to the slavery of the surviving discoverers during the 17th and 18th centuries.
But there were a fistful of geographers and scientists who contradicted theories that the Rapanui were to blame for the Easter Island being deforested and collapsed. There is a hypothesis that the Rapanui accidentally introduced gnawers to the island on the first vessels, and that the rat proliferated so quickly that in the end they ate all the treeseed.
The Rapanui, who degrade their surroundings, were not the cause of their collapse, but that the island's current weather, flora, soil and countryside were not favourable to mankind, and they would not have survived anyway. However, the Rapanui's devastation of their surroundings sped up all other elements in the game and was the main cause of their doom.
Rapidly moving forward until today, and societies face a similar issue that the Rapanui have had to face for centuries, only this one on a worldwide basis. Declining forest, increasing atmospheric and hydrological contamination and increasing power demand are confronting people with serious impacts on the environment that will result in famines, diseases, war and population decline.
What can the public today draw from Easter Island and use it for the futurolog? The world around us gives us daily access to our own living and working environments, and for centuries we have been exploring new ways to gain more and more while at the same time expanding our own population. We as a truly international community must recognize in the years to come the pressures we place on limited ressources and how we can meet these constraints in order to secure our wealth for the better.
Rapanui faith in the stonecaps kept causing them to destroy their surroundings in order to do so. Equally, many in today's world believe that we cannot alter our present behaviour and our customs in our life and that changes in the world around us will never happen. In the same way that we and the Rapanui have changed the world around us to suit our present way of life, we have the capacity to transform it again to guarantee a viable, secure and healthful world for the time being.
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