There's no denying how intriguing the Rapa Nui people are, and Easter Island will always be a place filled with mystery. After reading about their three sections of land that they used for growing, it makes sense that climate change would devastate the population. When three sections of land become one, competition and starvation are bound to follow. Though climate change could have contributed to the Rapa Nui's downfall, I still believe that overpopulation, lavish use of natural resources and invasive species were the main causes. The world needs to learn from the tragedy of Easter Island since so many parallels can be drawn between the past mistakes and the present day ones.
I totally agree with you Corinne. I also believe that the rest of the world needs to learn from the Rapa Nui people's mistakes. Many countries now are overusing resources that we can't replace and one day they will be all used up. If we learn from what went on, on Easter Island then maybe we can start to learn how to conserve these resources.
I've always though that the main reason for the Rapa Nui people's "extinction" was because of European explorers bring new diseases and virus's to Easter Island, but now with this new study being published we have learned that there decline started before Europeans arrived there. After reading this article, I now believe that one of the main reason's for the Rapa Nui people's disappearance is due to climate change. Because Easter Island was split into 3 sections according to rain totals and nutrient rich soils,it can assumed that the Rapa Nui people were using different parts of the island at different times. One could also assume that there was great competition going on between Rapa Nui people for food. I feel that because of this climate change on the island and Rapa Nui's overuse of resources on Easter Island, this is what led to there extinction.
i completely concur with you that climate change is the main reason of the disappearance of Rappa Nui. Because of the split in sections of the island, the Rapa Nui people were using the island at different times until the exploited all the resources and had no other choice to move on. There are endless possibilities of causes to the decline of the island, therefore it remains a huge mystery .
I think the decline of the Rappa Nui people was due to a combination of climate change and competition. I actually think climate change induced competition. When resources become scarce families will do what they can to protect their own people. The additional factor of the Europeans coming to their land also definitely effected their population.
Good point isha! Competiton would have been a huge factor and of course survivial of the fittest comes into play. Climate change would have resulted in the decreased production of food, which would cause people the fight over the remaining useable land.
I completely agree. Climate change has effected so much especially with agriculture and unpredictable weather that it is a main cause of competition, which brought about the end of this once great civilization.
The deline of the population in Rappa Nui from the booming 15,000 to eventually nothing, has always intrigued me. It has been one of the greatest mysteries in the world's history. At first, the arrival of the Europeans would make sense. They could bring diseases, invasive species, exploit their natural resources, etc. But after the development of the new technology of obsidian, I believe the biggest contributor is climate change. Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass that is so homogeneous that it can easily be split into razor-sharp instruments for many uses, including crop cultivation. But the 1% of water in the obsidian is exposed to the atmosphere, the difference in the numbers tells us which tool was first crafted by "flint knapping". This process eventually proves that climate change is fatal in areas with rich soil and little rain or poor soils with lots of rain. It also too shows how subtle changes in the Enviroment can make a dramatic difference over time. Therefore it makes complete sense that climate change could have devastated and destroyed the Rappa Nui people. And it's terrifying now with our current climate changes, could this be our future as well if we don't make a change now?
You bring up a good point comparing the impacts of climate change on the Rappa Nui to us today. I would love to see a comparison between temperatures of climate change then compared to now. Our climate change is probably much worse than what they experienced but we are more equipped to deal with it. The only question is: is it only a matter of time before we can no longer "deal with it" and it brings us the same doom it did the Rappa Nui? We can't keep pushing away our problems and creating temporary 'solutions.' We need a permanent solution now!
No civilization ever goes extinct because of one factor: the Aztecs and Incas were brought down by European intrusion, warfare, disease, and internal conflicts; Native Americans were killed off by European expansion, warfare, disease, slave trades, and internal conflicts, etc.. Similarly, the Rappa Nui cannot simply be said to have been brought down simply by climate change, although it may have had a role. The web of conundrums on Easter Island brought upon a domino effect that brought devastation to the island. Climate change, overpopulation, overconsumption, and competition together led to more competition as resources ran slim thus creating a positive feedback loop. More competition -> more consumtion -> more competition -> more consumtion -> doom.
Those are supposed to say "consumption" not "consumtion," sorry.
I agree with your point that there has never been just one factor, these civilizations were too vast to be brought down by simply one thing. And the great mystery surrounding Rapa Nui or other ancient civilizations is that there are so many possibilities. New evidence is still coming out, and climate change seems like it could have very well had an effect, but I definitely see it as having been a domino effect type of situation as well.
You make a very good point. A civilization that is flourishing as that of the Rapa Nui was likely needs an amalgamation of problems in order to destroy it. All of these factors are interconnected and all of them played a part.
Nick, I agree with you 100% there have been many examples n history that bolster your argument. There is almost always going to be a domino effect that thrusts a civilization into peril.
The mystery surrounding the decline of the Rapa Nui is intriguing, and we might never know exactly why it happened, but I do not believe we can point to one specific reason. It is interesting to see that climate change might have played a role, but it seems to me based on the article and the summer assignment, the most plausible explanation would be competition for resources as well as overuse of the resources on the island. I think most of the reason was that the people on the island just did not realize how quickly they were dwindling what was available to them, and did not understand how to do things in a way that required less resources.
I agree with you Julie, the overuse of resources and the increase of competition might have been a tremendous cause of the decline of the Rapa Nui. Climate change could have been a factor as well, but it makes sense that with increased competition and loss of resources could have been the main cause of the decline of the Rapa Nui.
I agree Julie, that this massive extinction of people couldn't be the consequence of one major action yet factors such as completion and lack of resources are always key problems early civilizations have faced. The other article described the deforestation of the Easter Island palms that were essential for the Rapa Nui people's survival thus it's a plausible belief that completion was the start to their downfall.
This place is truly intriguing. Once a vast last of resources, wiped out. Through reading both this article and recalling our summer work, I do believe climate change caused this destruction. With varying unpredictable weather affecting land available to farm, competition over food would have arrizen, causing the people to destroy themselves
I feel relatively safe in assuming that climate change is what condemned Easter Island based on the information presented in both this article and the one we were assigned over the summer. The summer work explained how overuse of resources, oftentimes prompted by competition, caused what was once an oasis to become unlivable. This article adds some finer strokes to the picture that has already been painted for me about Easter Island, bolstering the hypothesis of what happened to the islanders with new scientific data such as the dating done via obsidian. All the signs point to the same story- environmental destruction led to the downfall of the Rapa Nui
I agree, I think that climate change played a clear role in the downfall of the Rappa Nui, and it should be taken as a warning not to overexploit resources.
I believe that what happened to the people of Easter Island was just a domino effect of unfortunate events. With the decline of resources and the increased competition for resources, the Rapa Nui had to find some way to find food and resources. I also believe that climate change was a big factor in their decline as well. With increased farming and land being used, not only were they using up vital resources faster, but the increase in resources for farming depleted their resources as well.
I agree with you Brian. It's obvious there was a "domino effect of unfourtunate events." It's interesting learning about the many causes of the island falling like the decline of resources and increase in farming.
After reading the articles I feel that the Europeans were not the main cause of the decline of the Rapa Nui. I actually think that the main cause of the rapid decrease in population is the lack of consistencies in the climate and the bad soil quality. However these are not the only causes but they seem to be a major one. I also think that competition between the Rapa Nui was a cause for their extinction. Between these major problems the Rapa Nui had no chance of surviving, and when the Europeans came they brought diseases so this was like the tipping point for the Rapa Nui.
I think using the phrase "tipping point" to describe the introduction of European disease to the island is more than appropriate. Whatever chances they had to 'bounce back' from environmental or organizational problems were completely squashed by the obstacle of disease.
Amidst the many theories, the article we read over the summer still seems to make the most sense to me. Although disease definitely could have played a role, I believe it was the Rappa Bui people's lack of sustainable living that led to their decline. They cut down every last tree and exhausted that little island, while all the while, their population soared. That always equals disaster, and that is why I believe the main reason for their decline was purely their own.
I really think you did a great job defending your view here. The raps nui definitely had a huge roll in the destruction and decline of Easter Island. The pattern is already evident now, regardless of climate change (which humans have impacted).
I completely agree with this. The evidence shows that there was decline before the arrival of the Europeans, and climate change is not exactly well outlined. In fact, what the article describes as climate change seems to better be defining the over-use of resources on the island, and how the climate itself couldn't handle how quickly the islanders were destroying the trees and farming the land.
I agree. The article we read over the summer explained that people are causing their own demise by cutting down trees and exhausting their resources.
I agree with the theory of self destruction Gi. It is similar to what we are doing globally just on a much smaller scale. Unsustainable living will eventually lead to negative consequences.
What I think happened to the Rappa Nui people is that they ran out of resources and depleted their food supply. But i also think there were other reasons for their extinction. War between tribes and diseases could also have played a factor. Climate change could have also done its part by hurting food supplies.
You are right Ryan. The Rappa Nui destroyed their island, which led to more and more violent conflicts as groups of people fought for resources. Climate change would have only made the situation worse.
I don't think there is any question that climate change had an impact on the decline of the rappa nui. The weather patterns and the irregularity of rain and soil nutrients is an obvious effect of climate change. How else would you be able to explain the variations in soil quality?
To me, the article we read over the summer makes the most sense as to why Easter Island fell. The Rappa Nui people depleted all of their resources, making it inevitable that their island collapsed. After reading the new article about Easter Island I do believe climate change also played a role in the decline of the island. I believe the overconsumption of natural resources, and change in climate were the main factors that caused the decline. With so many theroys associated with the island, we may never know what actually happened to it.
As many of the others have said, I feel that there were many factors that were brought upon the extinction of the Rappa Nui. After reading this article it's sfae to assume that climate change was one f the major effects. I think tht climate change did play a big role in the extinction and after it changed the people of Rappa Nui had to adapt and form to the new situations and many of them possibly couldn't. This most likely brought the competiton and food shortages we learned about from our summer work. In the end the population was completely obliterated p, and though we many never know the full cause it's safe to say climate change played a big part.
In my personal estimation, I think that there is no one simple answer to what happened to the people of Easter Island. I think it was a combination of the diseases along with the evident reason: climate change. Due to the dwindling resources I feel as though people felt desperate and thus conflict ensued. I do think, as most people have said already, that there is no an easy answer and we will never really know for sure what happened in this intriguing case it is always interesting to speculate.
I like your theory that climate change may have caused a role in the disappearance of the people of Easter island. It is one that I had not thought of.
It seems almost certain that a lack of sufficient resources led to the fall of the Rapa Nui. Although this article specifically mentions climate change, it does not specifically mention what kind of climate change, nor does it elaborate on it. It seems more likely that the people themselves were to blame, possibly due to over-cultivation and deforestation leading to resource scarcity. It is also likely that disease had played some role in this as well, but evidence shows that the Rapa Nui were declining before the introduction of the Europeans, much less their diseases. Climate change may not have been their downfall, but the climate as a whole not supporting the sustainable growth of resources could have been one of the main downfalls of the Rapa Nui so many years ago.
I totally agree with you. It is most certain that they went extinct because of an unsustainable way of life.
I think that the people of Easter island collapsed because they exhausted all of the resources that they could use. The denizens of Easter island did not properly allot resource use, and this led to them running out of just about everything needed to survive. I also believe that the rapid decrease of available resources led to tribes attacking one another for any resources. These attacks most likely accelerated the rate at which the inhabitants of Easter island became extinct.
I believe that the mystery of what happened to the Rapa Nui is a combination of forces. It's scientifically proven that their major decrease in population occurred before Europeans discovered Easter Island thus their influence can't be responsible for what was already in motion. Having read the other article over the Summer on the mystery of the Rapa Nui I've personally believed that some type of natural disaster occurred because despite how people live Mother Nature is always unpredictable. Also just from simply one tragic event the entire collapse can be attributed to a series of tragic events that enfolded as a consequence. And despite the Rapa Nui people's intelligence factors such as the weather can't be controlled thus a bad farming year could be catastrophic for such an early civilization. Completion would increase causing more natural resources to be used until ultimately described in the other article there were signs of deforestation. The lack of resources would cause a massive decrease in pooulation and contributing factors that may just simply be unknown could've caused the ultimate extinction of these people.
The people of Easter island collapsed because they exhausted all of the resources. The people of Easter island did not properly allot resource use, and this led to them running out of just about everything needed to survive. This most likely led to chaos over resources and started attacks. These attacks most likely accelerated the rate at which the inhabitants of Easter island became extinct in the end.
I believed they collapsed due to their unsustainable living. Being on such a small island did not provide much opportunity to push their problems aside. They had to deal with their actions and the consequences of those actions were immediately visible. It was only a matter of time until they exhausted their resources and the island became inhabitable. This is most likely what led to their extinction.
I think that a number of factors contributed to the decline of the Rappa Nui. It would impossible to point a finger at. Any one factor, whether it be disease, deforestation, or climate change. I feel that each of these factors contributed to the decline of their society. I do feel, however, that deforestation caused the population to grow to an unsustainable level, and when the last few trees fell, a rapid decline was immediate.
I completely agree with you! There is defiantly a vast variety of why their society became rapidly declining, and I believe deforestation also had a large role in their decline as well.
I definitely believe that climate change played a role in the extinction of the Rappa Nui but I think deforestation and the exhaustion of their natural rescources was the main culprit. The fact that nobody stopped and thought about what might happen after the last tree was cut down is mind boggling. We need to learn from there mistakes and not follow the same path they did.
It seems very apparent that climate change led directly to the downfall of the Rappa Nui. They over used their resources due to competition. Its similar to what could happen to the larger world, I think we should see this as a warning. Its a perfect microcosm for the results of over exploitation.
From this article and from the summer readings its obvious the fall of the Easter island inhabitants was due to a number of different factors. Like the overuse of resources and eventual competition of fast depleting resources and now they've found that climate change is one of those factors. It feels premature to label a singular cause for their downfall since there is still a few holes in the history of the native Easter islanders but these new dating technologies like radio carbon ratios are an awesome strive to some more answers about what happened. it'll be really cool to see what the next discovery about the island will be,,
I believe that the Rappa Nui were infected and diseased by the European settlers. The European's came across Easter Island during the time when different groups of people were traveling overseas in search of new land. Back then they did not have knowledge of germs, infections, etc. They never learned proper hygiene or that we had to bathe or clean ourselves, thus causing diseases and infections to be formed and spread through out Easter Island. Easter Island did not have proper soil or steady rain, causing their crops to be mediocre. When the European's infected the Rappa Nui, there was very limited options for a cure. Then the Rappa Nui soon became weak, infected and very ill. Their crops easily failed to grow because of the citizens not being able to care for them, and the lack of a suitable climate. As time passed more and more people died, and the surviving people's only option to turn to was cannibalism. That is what I believe happened to the Rappa Nui.