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What Really Brought about the Population Collapse on Easter Island?

For years people around the world, swayed mostly by Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, have thought Easter Island—2,300 miles west of the coast of Chile—suffered a population crash because its people used up its resources (chiefly palm trees) faster than they could be renewed. I haven’t known what to think, but, though I knew of its inaccuracies on some other subjects, I assumed Diamond’s story was likely.

Now my friend Dennis Avery has educated me. The real causes of Easter Island’s collapse were quite different—and multiple. And they had nothing to do with consuming resources faster than they were renewed. They had everything to do, instead, with (entirely natural) climate changes—especially cooling, which brought with it drought—and oppression by Peruvians, who essentially kidnapped and enslaved a large proportion of the Easter Island male population and worked it to death in inhumane conditions.

The story is both tragic and enlightening. You can read it here.

This article was originally published on the Stewards Blog.

Featured Image By TravelingOtter (Moai at Rano Raraku – Easter Island) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Beisner is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance; former Associate Professor of Historical Theology & Social Ethics, at Knox Theological Seminary, and of Interdisciplinary Studies, at Covenant College; and author of “Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate” and “Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future.”

Read From Source… [Earth Rising – An Alternative Environmental Commentary]

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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