The Environmental Change and the Collapse of Easter Island

Topics: Easter Island, Environmentalism, Climate change Pages: 4 (1200 words) Published: June 9, 2013
The environmental change and the collapse of Easter Island
Ruud Coumans

In this paper, we will search for an explanation of the mystical collapse of society on Easter Island, during the 18th century. We’ll use the second chapter for the book “Collapse. How Society Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. First we will summarize some of the evidence supporting the explanatory framework of the author to give an outline of the situation. Then we will state the research question. After that we will talk about the underlying process where we will discuss the actions of the assumptions of the actors goals, the theory of the action implied and the initial conditions. We will finish with a conclusion.

In his first chapter proposed the author, Jared Diamond, five contributing factors for understanding environmental collapses. These five factors are damage, climate change, hostile neighbors, friendly trade partners and the societies respond to its environmental problems. We can use these factors to explain the collapse of the Easter Island. Firstly, there was much damage done to the environment by the inhabitants. Jared Diamond states that the extent and reversibility of the damage depends on properties of both the people and the environment. In Easter Island, the inhabitants mainly cut trees for burning firewood, cleaning gardens, to cremate bodies and making seaworthy canoes. This led to an extreme example of deforestation. But, not only did the inhabitants destroy many trees, they also had the bad luck to be living on one of the islands with the highest risk for deforestation. In the book, nine environmental causes for deforestation are mentioned, and the Easter Islands had to deal with all of these 9 factors. The variations in rainfall and latitude, the fact that it is a dry island and that it is a cooler island farther from the equator contributed mostly to the deforestation. Another contributing factor was the overhunting of birds. After a while there...
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