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Jared Diamond – snookered

16 December 2013

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2013/new-evidence-challenge… … Jared Diamond's best selling book is beloved of the Greens and the Enviros but is under attack once again. Why people appear to object to it may in part be the suffocating moralising involved – and the fact he has deliberately altered historical accounts in order to satisfy a preconceived agenda. The collapse of society on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is well documented – the inhabitants were taken into servitude to work on plantations elsewhere in the South Pacific by European people with an eye on the markets and making a killing. They might have made a lot of money but they also did a lot of the killing. Hence, when Jared Dioamond came along and claimed he knew better he obviously ruffled a few feathers, and has been under attack on several occasions. Basically, he blamed the people of Rapa Nui for soiling their own environment. Why would he do that? He wanted an example of environmental suicide and he invented one on an isolated island in the Pacific. As such, Rapa Nui became a sort of poster child of the Doomsayers – an example of human over population, over exploitation of resources, the destruction of their habitat (cutting down all the trees), and their virtual disappearance as a people and distinct society. In other words, even primitive peoples living in the rainforest could not be trusted to look after their patch of the world – and the Greens and Enviros that know what is best for the rest of us, were able to feast on their superior morality and decry the motives and lifestyle of others, even those of very poor people who did not have much of a carbon footprint. No wonder other researchers found this all a bit nauseating, and morally sick rather than superior. The big question is – how did they get away with it for so long?

Dr Mara Mulrooney claims the exact opposite is true – the people of Rapa Nui represent a haven of light in that people learnt the lesson of sustainability and continuity, and very definitely there was no society collapse. She adds, 'based on these new findings, perhaps Rapa Nui should be the poster child of how human ingenuity can result in success rather than failure' – not the sort of deduction Greens like. All development and advance by humans is in some ways wicked – anti Gaia. However, an analysis of 300 archaeological sites on Rapa Nui, using C14 to date activity, shows that large tracts of the interior of the island continued to be used for agricultural production right up to the arrival of Europeans, and beyond. Sweet potatoes and taro were the most common crop.

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