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Easter Island
Summary

 
Unoccupied open-space and the Collapse
of the Human Population on Easter Island
 
 
 

Recall that population explosions
of some dinoflagellates bring about
calamitous red-tides even as the
dinoflagellate cells themselves
physically occupy less than
            2/1000ths of 1% of
the water sample in which they reside.

 

In his 2005 best-selling book Collapse,
one of Jared Diamond's opening chapters
explores the growth and collapse of the
original human population of Easter Island

 

 

Just as it has proven provocative to
calculate that outbreaks of red-tide
dinoflagellates bring calamity upon
themselves and their environment

even as they occupy less than two
one-thousandths of 1% of the water
samples in which they reside, it also
proves interesting

to apply an identical analysis to the
peak numbers of humans living on 
Easter Island relative to the island's
total area.

 

Here, then, we set forth an analysis
of Easter Island's total area (open
space) just preceding the collapse
of its human population. 

 

 

The mathematics suggests that the island's 
human population and their environment
both underwent collapse even though 
                   99.999 97% 
of the island's total area was physically
unoccupied and "vast amounts of open-
space" still remained theoretically-
available.

 

 


It is interesting, at least, to note that the results
of the dinoflagellate analysis (2/1000ths of
1% occupancy) show such an unexpected
similarity to an analysis of the humans living
on Easter Island (less than 3/1000ths of 1%
occupancy) just preceding their collapse.

 

 

A major difference, of course, is that impacts 
from dinoflagellates result from wastes that are
released into their surroundings,

 

while the impacts of the pre-industrial human
population on Easter Island arose from physical
damage such as deforestation and extensive
over-exploitation of island birds and biota.
The fact that our own production of industrial
and societal wastes is,

 

(a) unique among all animals on earth, and

(b) that our daily production of such wastes
is multiple orders of magnitued worse than
the production of wastes in even the severest
outbreak of red-tide should serve, perhaps,
as food for thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A continuation of today’s demographic tidal wave may constitute

the greatest single risk that our species has ever undertaken.”

 

What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 GPSO 2010

The comments, illustrations, mathematics, and data presented on this site

are offered as a contribution to the Global Population Speak Out dialogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2010, Randolph Femmer.

All rights reserved.