Easter Island and a Culture that didn’t Rise

Can the downfall of an entire civilization be foreshadowing what could be for future planet Earth? When we look at the demise of the Easter Island civilization, we see that this might just be a reoccurring pattern. The Polynesian natives wondered out to find a home that would sustain them and their culture, so when stumbling onto Easter Island, that is what it became. At the time of the island’s discovery, I am sure it looked like a good place to start a civilization, but could the Polynesian people not find anyplace better than an island surrounded by nothing but water for miles? I am sure these people were tired of traveling, but were they not intelligent enough to think about resources or even rescue on the uninhabited island? What I mean is, clearly, they weren’t thinking ahead of future problems they could have, or if they were even going to be discovered on this middle-of-nowhere- island. While searching the island, they discovered that resources such as fresh water, were limited, certain crops they had cultivated were not successful in growth, and that they had an abundant amount of free time. So, what does any human do when they are bored? They find something to occupy their free time.

For the Easter Islander’s it was to carve giant faces from stone known as Moai. The Easter Island people known as Rapa Nui were a very religious and superstitious people, so these Moai statues were carved to protect and watch over the families. When resources were dwindling, the Rapa Nui people no longer thought these stone statues were protecting them and many were destroyed. Could these people not see the resources dwindling? Were they that unaware of the problem until it was too late? To add to the lack of resources, slavery was also depleting their population. Spanish and European ships came to the island to collect those well enough to work in slavery. New diseases, such as small pox, were brought to the island taking a toll on weak bodies of the Rapa Nui people. How did these people survive so long in such scarcity of resources? Cannibalism? Starvation? Escape off the island? I see a people that were intelligent enough to save their humanity, but didn’t know that they were in need of saving themselves.

When you compare the Easter Island story to humanity today, you see that we are ten times more equipped and intelligent. We know that there is a problem with using resources, and that our population is rapidly growing, but like the people of Rapa Nui, will we save ourselves and this beautiful planet? Will we make the connection that nature isn’t our property, but it is also a type of lifeform? I don’t think that any of this will cease anytime soon because we are a culture that desperately seeks the status of wealth and power. We sacrifice each other, and resources for a higher title, or another zero at the end of our salary, just as the Rapa Nui people did in cannibalism, comparison of their Moai, and who was in control of their families or tribes. Human civilization has a reoccurring pattern, and if we, as humanity, don’t learn moderation or understand that Earth is also a life form, we will end just as the Rapa Nui people did. I feel this way because there are constant examples of these problems we are creating as a society. There have been massive oil spills that pollute our ocean, industrial areas that produce unclean air causing harm to those around them, chemical waste that we bury which creates unclean soil and radiation and many more. Society looks for the easiest way to get rid of something that is least costly, and the least amount of work. We also are a people that want, want money, things, time, but I think we (not in my lifetime) will eventually run out of time if we keep chasing after advancement in the wrong ways.

I am hopeful for our society because we have distinguished that there is a problem with resource depletion and over consumption. However, learning how many wicked problems we are facing today is quite overwhelming, especially if we aren’t producing feasible ideas to reduce the problems.  By watching the 11th Hour video, I as a consumer, am realizing just how much society is hurting the earth. I believe that if we all do small things in, even such things a recycling all out bottles or taking less time to shower, that we can make a difference somehow, someway.

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