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Easter Island
Summary

Mathematics of the
Easter Island Collapse
 

A recent survey of ancient and contemporary societies
whose original ascendancy was followed by collapse
includes a chapter devoted to
Easter Island

with its land area of 66 sq. miles and an estimated peak
human
population (depending on the study surveyed) of
between 6,000 and 30,000 people
                     (See Jared Diamond's book Collapse, 2005)

 

Taking a mid-range peak population estimate of
approximately 15,000, the following mathematics
obtains: 


Assume that e
ach person, while standing, is, on
average, approximately two feet width at shoulders
and 1.5 feet front to back
, so that each individual
physically occupies (2) x (1.5)  =  approximately
3 sq. feet of space

 

Thus, 15,000 people x 3 sq. feet each would
occupy approximately  ~ 45,000 sq. feet.
   

Since o
ne square mile  =  27,878,400 sq. feet,
the
 
total "empty space" on the island amounts
to

66 square
miles times  27,878,400 for a total
island area of  ~ 1,839,974,400 sq. feet

 

 
Since a total of approximately 45,000 sq. feet is
physically occupied by the 15,000
residents,

45,000 sq feet divided by 1,839,974,400 sq. feet
(the total existing area) equals:  

             2.44568 x 10 -5   =  .000 02446
                                               
or  .
                      2.45  / 1000ths  of  1%
.


(a)  1% of 1,839,974,400   =  .01 x 1,839,974,400  = 18,399,744  sq. feet

(b)  1/10th of 1%:                .001 x  1,839,974,400   =  1,839,974  sq. feet

(c)  1/100th of 1%:           .000 1  x  1,839,974,400   =    183,997  sq. feet

(d)  1/1000th of 1%:           .000 01  x  1,839,974,400    = 18,399   sq. feet
(e)  3/1000ths of 1%:          .000 03  x  1,839,974,400   =  55,199  sq. feet


 


Thus, at its peak, the human population of Easter
Island probably occupied less than 3/1000ths of 
1%  of the island's total available area


 

 

In addition, since 100%  minus 3/1000ths of 1%
                    equals  99.999 97 %


the total percentage of unoccupied "open space"
at the time of collapse was
approximately
.
                            
99.999 97 %.


 

Thus, Easter Island's human population, its
environment, and its society underwent
catastrophic collapse


even when
.99.999 97 %. of the island
remained unoccupied
.


In other words, collapse occurred
even
               as "vast amounts of open-space

                 remained theoretically-available

 

In other words, we see still another history
that ended in collapse, this time involving a
human society confined to an island with
limited resources. 

In addition, the above collapse occurred
even as "vast amounts of open-space"

remained theoretically-available to the
island's human occupants

 

 

 

Footnote 1: 

Just like Easter Island, earth itself is, after all,
also an island (in space),

and though earth is many times larger in size
than Easter Island, so is the size of our
population

 

Footnote 2:  The similarity of our situation
and that of the peak population of Easter
Island is not perfect, however. 

The humans on Easter Island constituted
a pre-industrial society
that could deforest
their environment, kill all of its birds and
most of its seabirds, and
overexploit its
resources


 


Unlike us, however, they could not generate
billions of tons of CO2 and industrial wastes


and plunder resources from all parts of the
planet 

In addition, they had no industrial wastes,
automobile exhausts, oxidized fossil fuels,
chlorofluorocarbons, mercury wastes,
logging concessions, investment portfolios,
and mechanized fishing fleets with which
to assault their environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.