Easter Island, global warming, ecological destruction - lessons from history
Easter Island lies in the southeastern Pacific Ocean about 2000 miles
west of Chile.
A thousand or more years ago, Polynesian tribes settled the island, and built a civilization
that flourished and then crashed, leaving behind a legacy of stone statues of monumental
proportions. Today, the statues are the main tourist attraction on this remote island.
The collapse of the once-thriving civilization was a drama of reckless
played out over centuries. Islanders capable of carving and transporting the huge stones
they fashioned into statues must surely have been wise enough to anticipate and avert the
consequences of the ecological disaster they wrought by destroying their forests.
For whatever reason, they failed.
Today's global civilization confronts, in global warming and other forms of ecological
devastation, a threat of unprecedented urgency. A century from now, it will be possible
to look back and say, "They learned the lessons from history, and did what was needed to
preserve their world." Alternatively, future historians will ask, "Why didn't they learn?"
Some details of Easter Island's history are recounted by Jared Diamond in his compelling essay:
The following presentation by songwriter Fred Moolten tells the story in a five-minute music video:
Unlike other Fred Moolten songs and CDs, which are available for purchase through most online
music vendors, "Easter Island" is intended as a gift to the community of individuals concerned
with this planet's future. Those who find it meaningful are encouraged to share it with others.