The main message of the article entitled “ Easter’s End” by Jared Diamond is to alert us to the possibility that if we continue to ignore human impact on the natural resources of our planet, we too could destroy all the natural resources that we rely on for survival and become extinct like the early inhabitants of Easter Island. In the article, the author describes the classic case of, to quote Winston Churchill, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
The article is an interesting reflection on the possibilities that could befall the human race. However, much of the material he presents is anecdotal, rather than being supported by facts and while it opens our minds to the possibilities that could befall us, it is not supported by any specific scientific evidence. After reading the article, I felt that human self-destruction might be a possibility, but I was left with the thought that the human race today is much more mindful of their impact on the planet and the belief that what occurred on Easter Island would not happen to us.
The “evidence” that the author uses to convince us of his hypothesis include Roggeveen’s observations of the flimsy canoes the islanders used (64:4), the fact that no materials currently existed on the island with which to recreate the acts of their forefathers (67:1), the total lack of vegetation (67:1), the evidence of and subsequent disappearance of porpoise bones (67:2) (68:3), the appearance of human bones (68:3) and the gaunt appearance of the statues (68:7).
Although the author offers us scientific studies aligned with archeology, pollen analysis and paleantology, he provides us with no documented, repeatable studies which are necessary elements of any reputable scientific paper. The article, while a fascinating account, is at worst merely a story, and at best, impetus for researchers to conduct further studies.
Is this a science article? I doubt that it is. The author fails to list any verifiable sources, and no references appear at the end of the article to which a scientist could refer for further study. Whilst the region under discussion is very remote, some verifiable research has been undertaken in the last 100 years or so, which could have been used to bolster the credibility of the article.
Diamond, Jared. “Easter's End.” Discover (1994): 62-69.