Thursday, February 27, 2014

Jared Diamond's theory of environmental suicide

Dr. Mara Mulrooney wants to debunk Jared Diamond’s famous assertion that the people of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, committed “environmental suicide.”

Mulrooney, assistant anthropologist at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, spent six years collecting and analyzing radiocarbon dates from around the island in an effort to ascertain how the people of Rapa Nui sustained themselves before and after the time of the first European discovery in 1722.

Mulrooney claims that the data paints a picture not of resource decimation but rather of “sustainability and continuity.” Mulrooney goes so far as to say that “perhaps Rapa Nui should be the poster-child of how human ingenuity can result in success, rather than failure." (thanks Michael)