Causes Of Collapse And Its Effects On The World's Most Remote Human Outposts

1471 WordsSep 22, 20156 Pages
The small, isolated Rapa Nui Island—or, Easter Island—began its history of human-habitation with difficulty. Settlers were 3,000 kilometers away from other settlements, native plants and animals were limited, and its geographic location make the island subject to El Nino’s varying conditions (Hunt and Lipo 2007). Despite obstacles unique to Rapa Nui, as compared to its Polynesian neighbors, the people of Rapa Nui were successful before collapse, surviving as “one of the world’s most remote human outposts” (Hunt and Lipo 2012). The cause of collapse is, however (and, of course), a subject of debate over whether natural or anthropogenic factors led to the Rapa Nui’s downfall, and a lack of evidence has stopped anthropologists from reaching a more conclusive agreement. A union of the two overarching factors have been suggested, however combination of climatic and anthropogenic “causes have been merely hypothesized but not investigated” (Louwagie 290). Evidence is present and convincing on both sides, with layered explanations accounting for the rapid decline of a complex, highly functioning society. While researchers such as Jared Diamond and Donald Hughes seek to showcase Rapa Nui as a cautionary tale against the dangers of ecocide, and thus paralleling the modern world, there is an equal pushback to frame the Rapa Nui population as a capable, adaptive, and resilient people who were dealt a bad hand. This paper will explore the debate of Rapa Nui’s human-shortsightedness
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