In a recent piece for the New York Times, Nick Kristof explained how Easter Island is a metaphor for the havoc climate change will wreak on this planet if we don’t stop our earth-hatin’ ways:
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) March 18, 2018
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) March 19, 2018
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European explorers compounded the suffering in the 18th and 19th centuries by bringing disease and by brutally enslaving many inhabitants, but Easter Island society had already collapsed and the statue-building had already ceased long before the first Europeans showed up. 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.”
Kristof also shared this detail:
I came to Easter Island while leading a tour for The New York Times Company, and those of us in the group were staggered by the statues — but also by the reminder of the risks when a people damages the environment that sustains it.
Yeah … about that “tour”:
No joke: @NickKristof writes this dispatch on climate change from a stop on his NYT-chartered private jet tour of the world. The fee to accompany NYT on this jet tour is $135,000 per person. https://t.co/XVmMlj7HhM pic.twitter.com/L4j2fnq3Sn
— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) March 19, 2018
No joke. It really is beyond parody.