Will we end up like Easter Island?

This week’s topic discussed similarities between The 11th Hour and Lessons of Easter Island. I didn’t know a lot about either topics going into the discussion, but seeing the movie and the reading gave me an interesting insight.

In our breakout groups, we discussed if the outcome of Easter Island’s downfall was inevitable and personally, I think yes. In the reading, it talked about how the original islanders caused major deforestation and began harvesting trees to transport their massive statues for religious purposes. They used a huge part of their resources for things that weren’t “necessary”, but in their eyes, it was. Asking an entire village to not build these “gods” that they worshipped would have been impossible. 

There weren’t many resources on the Island to begin with, but when the English settlers came over to the island, they brought things from their home and expected the island to adapt to their way of life rather than adapting to the life of the island, which also assisted in the downfall. The settlers brought over food to be planted, but the soil was not good after the deforestation previously. 

In The 11th Hour, it showed how our planet is also slowly depleting. As time goes on, we use more and more fossil fuels that heats the temperature of the Earth. Causing things like glaciers in the Atlantic are melting, air pollution and climate change. Over the course of the next few 100 years, the planet may be seeing things like acid rain! In the movie, Stephen Hawking compares Earth in future years to that of Venus, which has a temperature greater than 800 degrees fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead or zinc.

Easter Island was a good depiction of a lesson we should all consider. First, that Earth has a limited amount of resources. As we speak, the number of trees we have gets smaller. The oceans are being massively overfished or the fish are caught, killed and trashed. It’s wasteful. Even things like poaching is causing such great harm to our environment. We are losing more and more resources that we need. We may not see it, but I guarantee our children, their children, and the generations after will see the issues of the things that may seem small, but in reality are causing our planet ultimate doom. Second, doing nothing about it will speed up the process. The original Easter Islanders continued to build those statues and completely destroy their forest which destroyed the soil. It’s a butterfly effect. If we let this pattern continue without finding new ways to do things to help the planet, it is going to get worse and worse at the rate that technology and our fossil fuels are being developed and used. 

For me personally, after the reading and the movie, it made me want to think of more ways to help the planet. Ultimately, our children and grandchildren are going to be “inheriting” parts of this world. Why wouldn’t we want to make it a better one for them as they will, hopefully, do for their children?

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