This past couple of weeks in DHM we discussed wicked sustainability problems and the collapse of Easter Island. I have been able to contribute to the learning community in regards to these topics by sharing my knowledge of the impacts of global climate change and the affects the human footprint has had on the Earth. I have already taken environmental science courses at my previous school and I do my own research because the environment and its health are very important issues to me. Because of my background and prior knowledge, I was able to contribute some to my small group when talking about the issue of deforestation on Easter Island and how that impacted the soil negatively, which ultimately led the islander’s to be without food.
In general, my perspective tends to be an environmental one, rather than a social one, but it seemed that my peers had more of a perspective for the social aspects when we were discussing the collapse of Easter Island. Because we had different perspectives, my group and I were able to share those perspectives with each other and gain new insight. I was able to learn a little more about how the things that happened between the two fighting groups on the island have had a connection to the dwindling resources on the island, and I was able to explain to them more in detail what may have happened to the island, in terms of how the deforestation and overuse of resources contributed to the physical collapse of the island.
While listening to and learning from my peers, I had to be patient and compassionate. My group and I often had very different answers to questions we were asked or different opinions of topics we were given. I was placed in charge of writing on the discussion boards the professor had given while the group contributed ideas the first and second weeks so it was my responsibility to write someone’s answer even if I did not fully understand it or agree with it and to ask questions kindly when I had them. I then brought new ideas to the discussion when it was my turn to contribute by stating facts and bringing attention to the environmental aspect of the situations we reviewed.
After the readings and discussion about the collapse of Easter Island, I was left reflecting on just how close the rest of the world is to the same sort of inevitable collapse due to ill management and social quarrels, but I think the idea that stuck with the most is that we can eventually run out of resources. It is not something that is talked about that often; I think everyone has been taught at some point that resources are finite but we do not imagine ourselves actually running out of the things we need. Learning about what happened to Easter Island and watching the 11th hour really highlighted to me the true limit of what we have here on earth.