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Easter Island

It’s not that Easter Islanders were suicidal or stupid, but that the environment was fragile and they kept up old ways that were unsustainable, triggering a chain of events that could not be reversed.

“Easter’s isolation makes it the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources,” Jared Diamond wrote in his 2005 book, “Collapse.” “The parallels between Easter Island and the whole modern world are chillingly obvious.

“Those are the reasons why people see the collapse of Easter Island society as a metaphor, a worst-case scenario, for what may lie ahead of us in our own future.” ...
That brings us to climate change, to the chemical processes we are now triggering whose outcomes we can’t fully predict. The consequences may be a transformed planet with rising waters and hotter weather, dying coral reefs and more acidic oceans. We fear for the ocean food chain and worry about feedback loops that will irreversibly accelerate this process, yet still we act like Easter Islanders hacking down their trees.
- Nicholas Kristof, A Parable of Self-Destruction, NYT, MARCH 17, 2018


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