Mora / Afternoons – I wonder…….

Jim Mora introduced a rebuttal/contra hypothesis of the Jared Diamond version of events on Easter Island. Ask yourself why. Maybe, just maybe, it was a topic of general interest – the statues.

Or maybe, he was keen to broadcast the slant – it would go with those repeated digs at Al Gore.

Whatever, he didn’t read this out (sent yesterday): 

Jim – your interview with Carl Lipo was interesting, but left the big question unasked.

  Shifting statues, like daily existence, takes energy. Societies which raise themselves above mere existence, do so by tapping into an energy-source capable of underwriting the extra effort – typically the energy released by cracking carbon bonds. We do this when we digest food, or drive a car.

 

The amount of energy required to fashion 900 statues, and to shift nearly 300 of them a major distance, is calculable, as is the energy required by those who would have to have fed the quarriers and removal experts.

 

There were trees on Easter Island, everyone agrees. There are none there now, everyone agrees. Lipos’ associate Terry Hunt, suggest the trees succumbed to introduced rats – the same rats which failed to denude any other island they colonised. Rats? I smell one.

 

Those trees were a source of easy-profit energy, whether as canoes to enhance the fishing-take, fires to augment digestion – cooked food takes less energy to digest, which is an energy profit – or as tools for agriculture etc.

 

The population, whatever it’s peak number, used up that available energy. The number of folk left by the time Admiral Roggeveen visited in 1722, represents the sustainable carring-capacity after that initial energy-resource was used up.

 

The same goes for the planet. When we’ve finished cracking the stored carbon-bonds, we too will revert to whatever carrying-capacity the available energy allows. That is the real message here – and the real question; best guesses are that the planet could carry 2-3 billion at subsistence-level, maybe 1 billion at our consumption-level. It seems to me, we’re doing what Jared Diamond hypothesised: cutting down the forests, chewing into the stored energy, and running an artificial overshoot.

 

 Thee’s only one way that ends – and it’s badly. Time we learned to live sustainably.

 

Murray.

 

ps (not for reading)  I spent a time reading some of the academic blogs via Lipo – this is one which puts the energy thing very well:

http://monkeysuncle.stanford.edu/

 

 

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