Easter Island Part 2
What did we learn from Easter Island?
For those of you who do not know, Eastern Island is famous for the large human head carvings called Moai. Although these are fascinating structures to observe and think about, they draw attention away from the hellish lives that people lived before they no longer occupied the island. If you look at the island today there are no trees and there is significantly less biodiversity than there once was. The question is what happened to the people that lived there?
There are several theories on how the island became depleted. However, they all stem from the idea that deforestation, overuse of resources, disease, and even invasive species led to the demise of the civilization on the island. Some suggest that the deforestation came from the civilization’s obsession with building Moai. Others say it came from human ignorance. Whichever the case, we know that human error led to the decline of forested areas. We also know that mistreating a crucial environmental resource will lead to an eventual collapse. Interestingly enough, this collapse took several years. This did not happen overnight. There was evidence of tribalism and even cannibalism, which became increasingly present when the sole focus became hunting birds and fish. Previously, there was balance when food from vegetation, complemented the meat from the hunted animals. The human-induced imbalance led to the brutal life people would experience in the last years of the island. This is alarming because in the present day we are aware of the mistreatment of our natural world, but seem relatively unfazed by what history suggests.
I’m not saying that everyone should drastically change their life or that people should become individual scholars on environmental degradation. What we need to do is understand the severity of the problem. Most people don’t understand how unique and fragile ecosystems are. A small disturbance can be catastrophic in the long term, and that is not an overstatement. At the same time, I realize that people have lives to live in the present. That is why informed leaders need to make a plan to adjust our lifestyles over time so that we don’t repeat what happened on Easter Island. History repeats itself and human behavior takes a millennium to change. Just because the scale of time may seem distant, that does not mean that we can put off its severity. Behavioral changes rarely solve any large-scale problem. Technology is what has answered every human crisis throughout history. This situation is no different.
On a deeper level, the reason these situations keep happening is due to our inability to be satisfied with our living situation. We improve life with a tunnel vision and never seem to be satisfied with the existence of our societies. If we were capable of having the presence of mind, we would be satisfied with our technologies and societal organization. In a smart world, our population centers would be smaller, we would understand the proper balance of technological usage, and we would maturely handle our shared existence. Since this won’t be happening and never will happen, the best decision you can make in creating your own reality while at the same time understanding the never-ending flaws surrounding you. You can control your inner circle, you can control where you live, you can control the job you have. Creating your own reality takes time, but it’s worth it!