Easter Island's “ecological suicide” – myths and realities

The island’s demise was a human and Little Ice Age tragedy, not “ecological suicide”

Guest essay Dennis Avery

In a recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof misleads us about the awful history of Easter Island (2,300 miles west of Chile), whose vegetation disappeared in the cold drought of the Little Ice Age. In doing so, he blinds modern society to the abrupt, icy climate challenge that lies in our own future.

Kristof repeats the archaeological myth that Easter Island’s natives committed “ecological suicide,” by cutting down all their palm trees. They supposedly used the logs as rollers to move their famous huge statues. Afterward, they could no longer build canoes to catch the fish that were their key protein source. Worse, he says, clearing the trees resulted in so much soil erosion that most of the population starved and/or killed each other in famine-driven desperation.

This myth disguises the impacts of the Little Ice Age on Easter, and ignores the inevitable reality that our coming generations could relatively soon face another icy age that will harshly test our technologies. The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!

Easter Islanders never cut their palm trees at all! According to their cultural legends, when the Polynesians’ canoes reached Easter about 1000 AD, the island was covered in grasses. There were only a few palms. Modern pollen studies confirm this, showing that the island did have palm trees in the ancient past – but most died in the cold droughts of the Dark Ages (600–950 AD). The few surviving palms died during the Little Ice Age after the Polynesians colonized the island. The last palm died about 1650.

Kristof seems not to understand the killing power of the cold, chaotic, carbon dioxide-starved climate in those “little ice ages.”

The islanders wouldn’t have used palm logs for canoes in any case. The Polynesians knew palm logs are far too heavy. Canoes need to skim on top of the waves, even when carrying heavy loads. The Polynesians made their canoes out of sewn planks from the much-lighter toromiro trees, whose seedlings they’d brought with them from the Marquesas Islands to the west.

Soil erosion? The Easter Islanders didn’t need to clear trees from their land to grow their crops of taro, yams and sweet potatoes. They planted the tubers between the stumps of smaller trees cut for occasional house-building. The cut trees re-grew from their living stumps; their root systems remained alive and continued to protect the soil. In fact, the islanders’ agricultural techniques protected soil even more effectively than mainland farms did until the advent of modern no-till farming.

No fish to eat? A U.S. Navy lieutenant, who visited Easter in 1886, shortly after the Little Ice Age ended, reported that the natives ate huge amounts of seafood! Most of the fish were caught from small inshore canoes, with rockfish a favorite. The natives also speared dolphins in the shallows, after confusing the animals’ famed “sonar” by clapping rocks together. Crayfish and eels abounded in the shoreline’s rocky crevices, and flying fish flung themselves onto the beaches. Turtles and shellfish were plentiful.

Nor did the islanders kill each other off in hunger wars – although the sweet potato crops were scanty and population numbers dropped during those chilly Little Ice Age droughts.

What did happen to the Easter population? The truth is a sickening look at exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people on earth by some of the most powerful of the day. Peruvian slave-raiders took most of the men to Peru in the 1800s, to dig shiploads of seabird dung (guano) from offshore islands to fertilize Europe’s fields. Terrible conditions, overwork and European diseases killed most of the kidnapped slaves.

Peruvian citizens’ outrage over their mistreatment eventually forced the authorities to return the few who had survived. Unfortunately, the survivors carried smallpox back to Easter. Only a few natives lived through the ensuing epidemic. Later, well-meaning missionaries brought tuberculosis.

The final disaster was Peru’s leasing of the island’s grasslands to absentee landlords for sheep-grazing. The sheep destroyed the last of the toromiro trees, while the surviving natives were (unbelievably) penned behind barbed wire – until 1960 – when worldwide condemnation finally intervened.

Kristof, who may have gotten his Easter Island myths from Jared Diamond’s misguided book Collapse, demeans the sustainable traditions of the South Pacific’s Polynesian settlers. Their insightful tradition was not to use up a resource more rapidly than they could see it restoring itself.

Mother Nature, not the Polynesians, destroyed the trees. She did it over and over: in the Iron Age Cooling, during the cold Dark Ages and then again amid the Little Ice Age. Nor was Mother Nature being “careless.” She was responding to the age-old commands of the sun, the gravitational fields of the four biggest planets, and the other powerful natural forces that have always governed Earth’s climate.

Those same planetary patterns also govern our future, whether we like it or not. Another “icy age” will inevitably replace our current and relatively supportive climate warmth and stability. That probably (hopefully) won’t arrive for another several centuries. Our current warming period is only 150 years old; the shortest Dansgaard-Oeschger warm phase on record was the Medieval, which lasted 350 years.

The Easter Islanders were technologically capable enough (if barely) to sustain their society through Nature’s climate cycles. Elsewhere, nomads from the Black Sea region survived the Last Glacial Maximum (in temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit) by inventing mammoth-skin tents to survive the cold as they followed migrating mammoths. Those huge furry beasts were themselves forced to move frequently as the Ice Age turned the grass into less-nourishing tundra.

Our ancestors also made the most important discovery in all human history farming, only about 10,000 years ago. Farming finally allowed humans to become more than scattered hunting bands, carrying their babies and scant possessions on their backs. They could support larger populations, create languages, build temples, cities and trading ships, and launch industries that made copper, bronze and then iron.

Collective learning has now gotten us to the point where we create resources rather than just finding them. Think nitrogen fertilizer, which is taken from the air that’s 78% nitrogen, and then returned to the sky through natural processes. Think computer chips and fiber optic cables made from sand.

We are no longer doomed to thrive, only to collapse again. Our challenge today is not to retreat into a harsh and uncertain dependence on Mother Nature and her deadly “ice age” betrayals. Rather, we can and must prepare for the next “icy age” we know is coming – by continuing our collective learning, using a matured wisdom, and not turning our backs on the fossil fuel, nuclear and other reliable, affordable energy sources that have made our industries, health, innovations and living standards possible.

Mr. Kristof’s mythology would lead us back into ignorance, not forward.

Dennis Avery co-authored the New York Times best-seller Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years with astrophysicist Fred Singer. His forthcoming book is titled Climates of Collapse: the Deadly “Little Ice Ages.” This article is based on those carefully researched treatises.

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J Mac
April 7, 2018 8:22 am

Thank you for the fact-based history lesson, Mr. Avery!

Reply to  J Mac
April 7, 2018 11:15 am

I agree – excellent work, Mr. Avery.
Excerpt from the article:
“This myth disguises the impacts of the Little Ice Age on Easter, and ignores the inevitable reality that our coming generations could relatively soon face another icy age that will harshly test our technologies. The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!”
The scientific understanding of the Sun’s role in climate is imperfect. Many respected scientists say the Sun does not vary enough to be a significant driver of global temperatures. I disagree, although my understanding, and that of the science community as a whole, is less than adequate.
I (we) predicted the commencement of global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article published the Calgary Herald in 2002. That prediction is gaining credibility as solar activity has crashed.
Let me rephrase the above paragraph as follows:
The “catastrophic man-made global warming” myth ignores the devastating impacts of the Little Ice Age on humanity and the environment, and ignores the inevitable reality that our coming generations could soon face another ice age that will harshly test our technologies and threaten the survival of millions of people. The cold centuries to come WILL even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!

David L
April 8, 2018 1:33 pm

But it will be blamed on CO2, Its climate change now remember

Mike McMillan
Reply to  J Mac
April 7, 2018 6:49 pm

Ditto thanks.

April 7, 2018 8:36 am

Hi Dennis. Greetings from the Big Mango (BKK). I appreciate this post very much. When i read Collapse, the Easter Island part didnt ring true. This is a little off topic, but related to fake, expensive, government agendas; and possible early icey testing sooner than later …
The MsM and warmist alarmists are wrong. It is the heighth of hubris and arrogance to think humans, in the space of 150 years, can change thermal cycles that are thousands of years long and have existed for millenia. The thermal mass of the land and oceans is enormous. The temperature of deep, still, parts of the ocean have barely risen one degree in 22,000 years, the last glacial max. Please read some skeptical websites …
My reading of the climate tea leaves says we’re already past the interglacial plateau.
For the last three thousand years, Since 1000 BC, the end of the Minoan Warm Period, the global temperature trend has been -0.5 to -0.7 dgC per 1000 yrs, projecting full glacial of 8 dgC in another 7,000 yrs. Another clue, the obliquity dropped below 23.5 degrees around 1300 AD, the onset of the Wolf Minimum. So the Holocene Interglacial has been over for some time now. We are in the transition zone, expect Finoscandian ice sheets to start in 2000 yrs.
However, the solar output has been declining since 1986 and this accelerated in 2009 with solar cycle 24, the lowest in 200 yrs. Cycle 25 will also be low and the beginning of a Grand Solar Minimum, now named the Eddy Minimum. Expect a Little Ice Age lasting 40 yrs, with some winters extremely cold, some wet cool springs to kill crops, some cold summers. This slide into cold is showing up in German weather station records where the last 30 yrs of winter (DJF) are trending -19 dgC per 1000 yrs, much faster than the slow decline to normal glacials.
I expect in the next ten years one billion will actually starve due to crop failures, and one billion will be eaten by stronger omnivores.
You’ve been warned. Take a sharpie and write your social security number or driver’s license on the inside of your arm, heh. Stock up on hatchets and hunting knives to trade for food.
Sandy, Minister of Future

Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 8:58 am

I heard very similar predictions back in 1970 from a high school classmate.
Earth’s population expanded.
Food supplies expanded.
Fossil fuels brought hundreds of millions into better living conditions.
Move past the generic predictions.
Identify, explicitly, who will be affected, who will starve and whom will get et by whom.
Otherwise, it just another doom prediction fishing for attention.

Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 10:39 am

No one can predict the future. Planning for as many outcomes as possible is the only rational behavior. Having a broad knowledge base to work with is key.

Reply to  Sheri
April 7, 2018 11:14 am

The best way to prepare for the future is to get rid of all the myths that are being pushed on us by the agenda-driven. Nothing like having real facts back up your preparation.

Reply to  Sheri
April 7, 2018 11:53 am

I predict that Rob will make another off topic claim that will once again prove his ignorance.

Phil R
Reply to  Sheri
April 7, 2018 4:41 pm

Rob Bradley

l100 years from now I will be dead.

Paraphrasing John Maynard Keynes for his justification of the economic suicide of Keynesianism:

In the long run we are all dead.

Reply to  Sheri
April 8, 2018 5:41 am

Rob does make a valid point.

Reply to  Sheri
April 8, 2018 11:06 am

Yes, his point is that verbal bumper stickers often exclude relevant details.
Something every intelligent person has known since humans started talking to each other.
If that’s the best you’ve got, it’s best to remain silent and leave questions about your ignorance in doubt.

Monna M
Reply to  Sheri
April 8, 2018 5:26 pm

Rob, the timing of eclipses is calculated mathematically. It’s not quite the same thing as the kind of “predicting” that happens in the camp of CAGW.

Reply to  Sheri
April 10, 2018 4:52 am

This is the definition of Troll behavior. You take a perfectly reasonable comment, pretend that the commenter meant it to the ontological extreme, then argue against this extreme position that you yourself created. It may make you feel good, but it doesn’t move the conversation forward in any way.

April 7, 2018 8:41 am

“Nor was Mother Nature being “careless.” She was responding to the age-old commands of the sun, the gravitational fields of the four biggest planets, and the other powerful natural forces that have always governed Earth’s climate.”
Excellent article, though I’m not so sure about our four biggest plants having that much effect on our climate. Any links on that? Not an area I have delved into much. Very interesting post.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 10:04 am

“Excellent article, though I’m not so sure about our four biggest planets having that much effect on our climate.”
Short answer…Jupiter and Saturn are causative in Earth’s Eccentricity orbital forcing i.e. Milankovitch Cyclical forcing. Uranus and Neptune much, much less so, but in the background. The gravitation of Moon and Sun more causative in Obliquity and Precession. We are currently in a Precessional Winter that lasts about 5000+ years. The combination of all 3 forcing elements is thought to be the main driver of current ice age cycles.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 7, 2018 1:10 pm

Was aware of the larger planets’ effect upon the milankovich cycles due to gravitational perturbations but did not connect that with the comment. Thought it was referring to some of the more esoteric theories which are sometimes posted here. Thanks, JimG1.

Larry D
Reply to  Earthling2
April 7, 2018 8:47 pm

Well, I think plate tectonics has an input. When the continents are positioned so that the poles are open to ocean gyres mixing equatorial and polar waters, the poles will be open water, and the polar regions won’t accumulate ice. When such current are blocked, as now, (South pole covered by Antarctica, North pole hemmed in) then the poles can accumulate ice. This is, I believe, the last piece in causing glacial epochs.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 7, 2018 11:31 pm

True Larry D. Antarctica drifted south off Africa tens of millions years ago and has been glaciated for about 34 million years. The current Pleistocene Epoch is typically defined as the time period that began about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago. The most recent Ice Age occurred about the last 100,000 years, as glaciers covered huge parts of the planet Earth. In the northern hemisphere, it is thought that the closing up of the Isthmus of Panama with CentroAmerica/South America joining North America, significantly changed global ocean currents that led to a major cooling resulting in northern hemispheric glaciation the last 2.5 million years.
70% -75% of the time now, it seems the normal condition for Earth is an Ice Age. Why we are so concerned about a bit of global warming in an interglacial now when we know the long term majority of time average is an ice age and very much colder, is a real puzzle. You would think humanity would celebrate a warming world, as compared to even the Little Ice Age that was so harsh just less than 250-300 years ago.

Reply to  DMA
April 7, 2018 10:32 am

DMA…Dr. Rex J. Fleming may have some insight into the Solar/GCR interface maybe caused by the 4 outer large gas planets, but I don’t think solar forcing causes ice ages directly because of changes in solar variation. Much more likely that the outer planetary influence is on Earth’s orbit which in turn adjusts how much solar insolation is received by Earth over approximately 100,000 years of the eccentricity orbit. That is fairly well understood planetary mechanics.

The Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 10:18 am

Greetings to you and yours, JimG1:
Vlad the Impaler here; over at JoNova, in the “Midweek Unthreaded”, comment number 29, a gentleman linked to a YouTube video, and asked for comments. I watched the video, and commented. I cannot verify that any of the video is correct, but it was an interesting 40 minutes. I stand behind the comment I made at Jo’s, so your perspective on it might be of value.
If I press “Ctrl V” here, the link might appear, but I’m not sufficiently tech-savvy to know if I can post a link; if nothing else, it is Jo’s most recent Midweek Unthreaded, about four posts down from the top.
Link? (I hope): https://youtu.be/_I_lsZCAWi4
It shows up on my screen, but is not in blue, so I do not know how well it will work for you.
Regards to you and yours, peace, health, prosperity, and long life,
The Mostest Deplorable-est Vlad the Impaler-est, a crashing-est bore-est, and an even bigger-est bully-est (according to C.T. at JoNova)

John M. Ware
Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 1:50 pm

“Four biggest plants.” Sequoia, Redwood, banyan, possibly algae bloom or Sargasso weed? I don’t know what the biggest plants are. Misprint possible?

Reply to  John M. Ware
April 7, 2018 1:58 pm

Pretty sure he meant “planets”.

Reply to  John M. Ware
April 7, 2018 3:06 pm

Aspen. It forms clonal copses in which the many trees are all one linked individual. An aspen copse was declared the largest organism on earth a few years ago, displacing the title from a fungus in the Armillaria genus. Aspen copses certainly affect the micro and mesoclimate up here in Canada.

Phil R
Reply to  John M. Ware
April 7, 2018 4:47 pm

Mushrooms!! (fungus.)

Phil R
Reply to  John M. Ware
April 7, 2018 4:49 pm

Dang, maybe I should have read your whole post before I commented. :()

Reply to  John M. Ware
April 8, 2018 8:08 am

I am pretty sure you are correct. Some typos lead to interesting avenues.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 3:51 pm

“Excellent article, though I’m not so sure about our four biggest plants having that much effect on our climate. Any links on that?”
The website below has articles on how the planets and sun influence each other gravationally. An interesting topic.

Tom Halla
April 7, 2018 8:45 am

But Saint Michael Mann did away with the Little Ice Age, didn’t he?/sarc

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 7, 2018 8:51 am

🙂 +100
Only in whatever manniacal considers his own mind. Only the gullible and desperate are fooled by manniacal’s math and nature tricks.

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 7, 2018 9:32 am

If you believe the original Hockey Stick, We should still be declining into another glacial period, having never risen out of the LIA. Now THAT would have been a good time, eh?

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 7, 2018 10:31 am

Mann’s target was the Medieval Warming Period.

April 7, 2018 8:48 am

There was a TV special on Easter Island, by either NatGeo or Discovery, where the film harped about the “natives” destroying their trees and food sources.
NatGeo is still keeping to the “Easter Island natives are evil” meme: https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/804497822141685761
The special included actors pretending, according to script, to be destroying each other. But the special never answered obvious problems with their assumptions.
Claims, like the “Palm trees for dugout canoes”, were obvious couch fantasies from someone who never witnessed the use of palm trees, ever.
In the false researcher minds, a palm tree was the only tree they knew existed on Pacific islands; therefore palm trees are used for dugouts. A sterling example of the classic logical fallacy “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam”, i.e. argument from ignorance.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 7, 2018 9:03 am

Never believe what you read in national geographic or discovery magazine without checking elsewhere first. Astronomy magazine is in the discovery family and is getting so bad on many consensus science issues that I’m considering cutting the cord there as I did with discovery mag and National Geographic. Plus Astronomy mag constantly bombards me with discovery mag offers. Sky and telescope is almost as bad as far as consensus science. The biggest problem is that they all preach ideas and theories as if they are proven facts. My life long interest in astronomy and telescopes keep me fron canning them.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 9:22 am

Agreed JimG1!
I have troubling even listening to NatGeo, Natural History Museum, Discovery, etc. specials because of the extreme bias they include in their dubious film concoctions.
What is quite irritating is their takin an hour to allegedly explain five minutes of science or history; and often entirely missing the mark.
What you need to subscribe to is Amateur Astronomy.
Extremely high caliber quarterly magazine. Both the physical copy and the digital magazine are superb.

“Amateur Astronomy is published quarterly by Charlie Warren (615)-332-5555
Mailing address: 511 Derby Downs, Lebanon, TN 37087 E-Mail: editor@AmateurAstronomy.com
Web Site: http://www.AmateurAstronomy.com

Is this magazine utterly clean and free of CAGW nonsense?
Not really, several times authors have made mention of “global warming” and speculated on possible future astronomy difficulties caused by CAGW; but after a few sentences towards CAGW fad and fashion, they buckle down to astronomy information and knowledge, ignoring all CAGW nonsense.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 9:28 am

Thanks. I will check it out.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 11:34 am

I dropped my subscriptions to both Sky and Telescope and Astronomy for the same reason, theories preached as proven facts. Consensus is politics not Science. Skepticism is critical to science.

Reply to  JimG1
April 7, 2018 3:12 pm

We dropped our subscription to N.G. several years ago. The pictures are great but there isn’t even a pretense of accuracy anymore. Strangely, if you look through 60s and 70s issues of Popular Science, it is amazing how much they got right.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom
Reply to  ATheoK
April 7, 2018 10:08 am

The big disaster came when 1600 men were taken from the island in one go. They never recovered from that. The division of labour and the loss of skills all at once doomed the islanders.
It is also worth noting that the islanders demonstrated how to move and erect the statues without rollers – many years after the last one had been erected – showing that the traditional technology was still alive in oral form.
Their food production was based on intimate knowledge of micro-climates around holes, trees and watering ponds. They were amazing people.

Count to 10
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom
April 7, 2018 12:57 pm

Interesting. I saw a program on Easter Island that claimed that partially barricaded caves were shelters for hunger driven cannibal wars, but it would make more sense if they were shelters against slavers.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 7, 2018 10:24 am

That’s the way it goes with “documentaries” that have been scripted and faked.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 7, 2018 10:31 am

“Palm trees for dugout canoes”…..the extinct palms on Easter were Jubaea….otherwise known as Chilean Wine Palms
These no current that would have introduced them to Easter Island…..so odds are they were introduced by people in the first place

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 1:14 pm

As noted, some botanists assign the Easter Island palm to a different genus.
As with the larger coconuts, the nut of the Chilean wine palm floats, so could have and probably did arrive on Rapa Nui through natural dispersal, thanks to side eddies of the South Pacific Gyre.

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 1:47 pm

You are a hoot!…..I told you about currents, so now you’ve modified your post to include that
Now explain why they are on a island, with much less than ideal conditions, that needs a dis eddy to get there…… and not on other islands.. with much better growing conditions for them, that don’t need a “side eddie”
I have 6 of them in my yard……..

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 1:56 pm

You didn’t tell me about currents. I see the Humboldt go by every day for half of every year and often sail in it.
Please explain how you imagine that people from South America got to Easter Island and planted trees there, so that they were there when the Polynesians arrived.
You are aware, are you not, that palm pollen dates back thousands of years on the island?

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 2:09 pm

ok…it’s pizza night here…last post I gotta cook
Seeds don’t float…they store forever and are used as food….they are delicious…they are not found on any other island where they would have grown better and gotten there first
No one knows if the Polys were there first or not…they could have killed eaten and shrunk the heads of who ever was there when they got there..no one knows .south Americans were more advanced way ahead of the Polys

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 2:10 pm

that palm pollen dates back thousands of years on the island?….and south American cultures date thousands of years before that

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 2:56 pm

..and ask yourself…..how is it possible that a palm, that you compare to coconuts….only managed to settle on one tiny out of the way island…and is not circumtropical like coconuts…after thousands of years

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 3:28 pm

Perhaps they were carried by swallows?

Phil R
Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 4:57 pm

James Schrumpf,

Perhaps they were carried by swallows?

What do you mean, an African or European Swallow?

Reply to  Latitude
April 8, 2018 7:12 pm

Your hypotheticals are all shown false by reality.
In some ways South Americans were more “advanced” than Polynesians, but seafaring was not among them.
As I pointed out, there is no evidence whatsoever of South Americans colonizing even the islands closest to their continent, let alone the isolated and distant Rapa Nui.
Sorry to repeat myself, but Rapa Nui is the only land to which Chilean wine palm nuts could have floated, and it is there that we find them or their evolutionary descendants.
That Rapa Nui palms were there for thousands of years before the arrival of Polynesians shows that they arrived naturally, without human aid. Again, as I said, there is no evidence of South Americans on Rapa Nui or any other east Pacific island. So assuming that humans were involved is pure speculation, utterly lacking in any scientific basis.
There is no evidence of indigenous Americans colonizing any isolated oceanic islands, even those much closer than Rapa Nui. By contrast, we know that Polynesians covered enormous open ocean distances.
Rapa Nui is the only isolated oceanic island that could have been colonized naturally by Chilean wine palms, and it was. Again, as noted, the Juan Fernandez archipelago is almost too far south to have received floating wine palm nuts. During glacial intervals, ie 90% of the time, the range of Chilean wine palms is even farther north.
In short, there is no evidence for your hypothesis of human spread of Chilean wine palms to Rapa Nui, and all the evidence in the world against it.

Patrick B
April 7, 2018 9:11 am

I appreciate the article but it fails to cite sources. In this respect it’s no more useful than the NYT article.

Reply to  Patrick B
April 7, 2018 9:25 am

Yes, it’s an interesting alternative but let’s see the evidence of Easter Island being too cold for the trees.

Count to 10
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2018 12:59 pm

I think the argument is not that it was too cold, but that the relative cold caused prolonged drought that killed the trees.

Reply to  Patrick B
April 7, 2018 7:14 pm

Indeed. Hypocritically substituting one myth with another.

Reply to  Patrick B
April 7, 2018 10:45 pm

Yup. not a single source is cited.
It’s enough, for amny contrarians, to simply state an opposite and think that constitutes debate.

Steve Oregon
April 7, 2018 9:23 am

Some of the comments over at the Kristof NYT piece are really special.
The alarmists are mighty worried. They tale of demise of the Island folks has provoked fear in the we know best peeps.
Because of humans Easter Island and Manhattan will soon be underwater.
Stuff like that there.

April 7, 2018 9:31 am

@ATheoK- 1. Who will be affected? Everyone will feel some effect; if not from higher food prices and lack of selection, then one of the deep cold winters. 2. Who will starve? Basicly the poor and some in large cities where food delivery trucks get hijacked and downtown groceries stay empty shelved. 3. Who will get eaten? Records from past great famines say the young, old, and sick are vulnerable.
And yes, it is a doom prediction fishing for attention, heh. Thanks. Here’s a milder one …
Read where Bahrain finds 80 billion bbl oil, and consumed at 70 million bbl per day, would be good for … 3 yrs, if they can squeeze it all out. My take on why Saudi Aramco ipo now only available KSA, they’re running on empty. The last 2 yrs they didnt exceed their 10 Mln bbl day limit because they couldnt. In the past every OPEC producer exceeded their limit on a regular basis. One chart i saw in 2007 (not since) showed global oil peak 2005. They’ve been whistling thru the cemetary ever since, heh. And since 2013 Q4, majors have been cutting big- time on explore an develop budgets. They know Game Over an put funds in solar, wind power, geothermal, an tickets to ride Musk Mars Express, heh. I bet there’s Yuge oil deposits on mars, an Muxxon Mars Oil has an ipo scheduled nxt January.
Sandy, Minister of Future

R. Shearer
Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 9:59 am

Predictions that are worth the paper upon which they are written. It seems unlikely that a single field produce at that rate, roughly 70% of global demand.

Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 2:45 pm

More generic doom predictions…
Along with bizarre cannibal plots.
Donner party?
Rugby team crash?
Alleged Inca ritual cannibalism?
Cannibal attackers of the Pueblo cliff dwellers?
Notes from the sailors killed in certain South Sea islands?
Explain these “records from past famines”?
Where are the records?
Complete puffery on the other imaginative claims.
Apparently Sandy is not minister of any future, just fantasy.

April 7, 2018 9:32 am

“cutting down all their palm trees. ……………. Afterward, they could no longer build canoes”
What kind of morons writes this stuff?…..and how does it survive for this long?
The wood on these types of cold hardy palms is not dense enough….and soaks up water like a sponge

R. Shearer
Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 10:01 am

Furthermore, they weren’t careful and their coconut shells floated out to sea and they couldn’t imitate horses galloping.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 10:12 am

Now that’s a catastrophe; how else are you gonna perform the song “Sleigh Ride”?

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 10:33 am

They weren’t coconuts…LOL
They were Chilean Wine Palms….more than likely introduced by people in the first place

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 12:34 pm

The trees were probably Chilean wine palms, but we’re not sure. They almost certainly colonized the island naturally, without human aid.
While botanists have recognized a new genus and species, Paschalococos disperta, for the extinct palms, it’s more likely that they belonged to Jubaea chilensis.

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 1:07 pm

…do you parrot everything google says?

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 1:20 pm

Noting the classification issue isn’t parroting.
I’m familiar with Chilean wine palms, so know that the nuts float. I’ve also been to Rapa Nui. I didn’t rely on Google for my comments about how its native vegetation got there.
What makes you think that people brought them? It’s easier for palm nuts to float to the island than for South American voyagers to sail or paddle there.

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 1:29 pm

So you pulled Paschalococos disperta and Jubaea chilensis right out of your a…..give me a break
…they are wine palms….and not found on any of the other islands that currents would have taken them to first.

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 1:46 pm

Yes. I am, as I said, familiar with Jubaea. My house in Chile has two of them in its yard. On Rapa Nui, a paleobotanist told me about the classification controversy. IMO the trees there were indeed Chilean wine palms, but carried there by the Humboldt Current naturally. “Paschalococos” is a generic name easy to remember, composed of “Easter” and “coco”. I’m also familiar with other flora indigenous to Chile, both their common and scientific names.
The only other isolated islands to which it might have floated first are in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, including Robinson Crusoe Island. But they lie off the very southern end of the range of the Chilean wine palm, so it’s understandable why the Humboldt Current would not have carried nuts there.
We know that coconut palms dispersed across oceans by floating. Why not the also buoyant wine palm nuts?

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 3:18 pm

For curious readers:
The Chilean Wine Palms are used for food, syrup and even fermented liquors. The small seed size made Chilean Wine Palm seeds ideal for food stores.

“J. chilensis produces prolific ovoid fruits in the form of yellow-orange drupes; within each drupe is a single spherical fruit two to three cm in diameter, with a tough outer shell covering a white meaty interior. The fruits are displayed high on the tree in prominent showy clusters.”

Fruit 2-3 cm in diameter, or about 1″ in diameter. That is the size of the fruit. The fruit contained seed, kernel or nut if you will are, of course, smaller.
The Chilean Wine Palm is listed as threatened, because of over harvest for syrup or liquor. A listing that ignores the widespread plantings of Chilean Wine Palm in landscapes.
“Jubaea chilensis yellow fruit”
“Woody seed of J. chilensis”
Unlike the large coconuts, the small seeds of the Chilean Wine Palm lose germination capability longer and long soaks in salt water are more likely to pickle than enhance germination.
Leaving the source of Easter Island’s Chilean Wine palms much more likely to be human sourced than months of ocean currents.

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 7, 2018 4:15 pm

thanks ATheoK …but Chimp talked to a paleobotanist
Chimp, have that paleobotanist ‘splain to you what has to happen for those seeds to germinate..or better yet, see if you can find it on the internet….then figure out who ate them so they would germanate

Reply to  R. Shearer
April 8, 2018 1:41 pm

Seeds from one of my trees germinate easily, but the other not so well. I keep them in the shade. Lots of habitat on virgin Rapa Nui would have provided good conditions for germination.
If you imagine that people are needed to intervene in the process, please explain how coconut palms managed to spread to oceanic islands long before people. Thanks.
Why did ancient South Americans not reach the Juan Fernandez islands or the Galapagos, but did in your opinion colonize Rapa Nui? Why is there no archaeological evidence of their presence there? Why are Polynesians genetically descended from SE Asians, rather than South Americans, as hypothesized by Heyerdahl?
The Mapuche Indian chicken was once argued to be of Polynesian origin, but its genome showed it to be European. If there were trans-Pacific trade, it was Polynesians and East Asians reaching the Americas, not the other way around.

Reply to  Latitude
April 7, 2018 12:02 pm

Anyone who has ever tried to cut down a palm tree would already know that it couldn’t be used for a dug out canoe.

Reply to  Latitude
April 8, 2018 1:49 pm

Agree. People that have never tried to cut up a palm tree to make lumber have no idea. It isn’t wood the way we think of trees and it is useless when cut into planks. It is more like rope or cord glued together and unbelievably heavy. It is strong but has no stiffness.
You need stiffness and light weight to make boats. Both are missing from the palm trunk.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 8, 2018 2:11 pm

Possibly the only representation of a Polynesian voyaging canoe is from the Papa Vaka petroglyph on Rapa Nui (maybe other images have been found since I saw the glyph). Bits and pieces of canoes have been uncovered on other islands, the previously largest and best preserved of which was reported in 1979 from Huahine, French Polynesia (Society Islands).
The fairly intact canoe recently found in NZ was made from Prumnopitys taxifolia, a podocarp conifer, with caulking pounded from another podocarp species:
An early sophisticated East Polynesian voyaging canoe discovered on New Zealand’s coast
The colonization of the islands of East Polynesia was a remarkable episode in the history of human migration and seafaring. We report on an ocean-sailing canoe dating from close to that time. A large section of a complex composite canoe was discovered recently at Anaweka on the New Zealand coast. The canoe dates to approximately A.D. 1400 and was contemporary with continuing interisland voyaging. It was built in New Zealand as an early adaptation to a new environment, and a sea turtle carved on its hull makes symbolic connections with wider Polynesian culture and art. We describe the find and identify and radiocarbon date the construction materials. We present a reconstruction of the whole canoe and compare it to another early canoe previously discovered in the Society Islands.

April 7, 2018 9:56 am

The Smithsonian presents several versions regarding this island:

April 7, 2018 10:02 am

Three thousand years of drought preceded the voyagers’ arrival, according to lake sediments:
Might have affected all Polynesia and encouraged seafaring to the extremes, i.e. HI, NZ and Rapa Nui.

April 7, 2018 10:13 am

So what did they roll their statues around on?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom
Reply to  Tim.
April 7, 2018 12:06 pm

They were moved by levers and stones underneath – no rolling involved. They used resonant leverage with multiple poles to lift the statues and shift them a few mm at a time. As far as I know they neither knew about rollers or wheels.

Phil R
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom
April 7, 2018 5:10 pm

Not that I follow your travels, but that’s a little south for you? 🙂

Reply to  Tim.
April 7, 2018 12:19 pm

They didn’t roll them. They “walked” them with ropes.

Ian L. McQueen
April 7, 2018 10:13 am

Through our never-wrong CBC I learned that the statues are in danger of falling into the sea. Does anyone here have the facts?

Reply to  Ian L. McQueen
April 7, 2018 12:25 pm

The UCS and UN’s fanciful list of cultural heritage sites threatened by hypothetical “climate change” includes Rapa Nui’s statues:
Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island),
Chile, 1995 (i), (iii), (v)
Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is famed for its
iconic carved moai statues and ceremonial
ahu platforms on which many of them stand,
all dating back to around 1250–1500 AD. In
the southeast Pacific Ocean more than 3 500
kilometres off the coast of Chile, Rapa Nui is the
most remote inhabited island on Earth. With
a resident population of approximately 5 000
people, the island’s economy is dependent on
tourism and some 60 000 people visit every
year. During the summer months the island’s
population doubles, with an average of 5 000
tourists daily. The primary impacts of climate
change on Rapa Nui are projected to be water
shortages due to reduced summer rainfall,
sea-level rise, coastal inundation and erosion.
The majority of the ahu and moai are located
directly on the coast and significant coastal
erosion impacts are already being recorded at
several important archaeological sites. With
climate change, the greater wave heights and
increased energy of the waves hitting the ahu’s
vertical basalt slab walls, the ahu are expected
to undergo worsening damage and the moai
that sit on top of them could topple. Four of
the sites most important for tourism – Tongariki,
Hanga Roa, Tahai and Anakena – have recently
been identified as among the most seriously
threatened by wave damage. (UNESCO d;
J. Downes, pers. comm.; Quilliam et al. 2014)

April 7, 2018 10:14 am

Kindly stop notification through this mail id
On Sat 7 Apr, 2018, 8:30 PM Watts Up With That?, wrote:
> Guest Blogger posted: “The island’s demise was a human and Little Ice Age > tragedy, not “ecological suicide” Guest essay Dennis Avery In a recent New > York Times column, Nicholas Kristof misleads us about the awful history of > Easter Island (2,300 miles west of Chile), whose” >
When you reply to a post there are two check boxes that let you control whether you are notified of new comments in the thread by email, the other notifies you of new posts. Both, by default, are unchecked. You may have inadvertently checked one on some other post (I know I’ve done it). Mod

Peta of Newark
April 7, 2018 10:17 am

Somebody really is scared shitless aren’t they, and desperate to pass the buck onto Ma Nature..
Humans are just sooooooo clever and faultless.
Lets analyse:
Captain James Cook. It matters not one whit WHAT the US army saw later or what Peruvian slavers got up to. Lets get the timeline straight shall we?
Cook went looking for food circa 1776, following some navigational guidance from the Dutch
There was none. Some tiny amount of sugar cane and 2 or 3 fowl.
Maybe 100 friendly people came to see him, very few womenfolk visible.
Those folks knew all about firearms and were very wary of them. Otherwise mischievous
He saw a plank of wood 8 feet long (in a boat of some sort) and could not for the life of him work out where it could have come from.
Many of the statues were toppled.
He left promptly.
Easter Island.
27 degrees south, barely out of the tropics and in the largest expanse of water anywhere.
And an Ice Age and a drought happened *there*. In the ocean and just beyond the Tropic of Capricorn?
Holy cow! What sort of state must the rest of Planet Earth been in?
Oh yes. In London they were having a BBQ party, going ice-skating and indulging retail therapy.
Just the sort of things you do do when engulfed by ice.
Meanwhile on Planet Earth, leave a patch of dirt unoccupied for any length of time and it grows grass, then shrubs then trees.
Unless any grazing critters are around to eat the seedlings. Cows and sheep not least are genetically programmed to do so. Grass does not grow under trees.
So why no trees?
Why wasn’t Cook offered mutton, beef or goat?
The Dutch ‘did something’ when they first visited the place. Something happened that was originated by human-kind upon one tribe onto another. Not Ma Nature
(Skyrocketing electricity rates anyone?)
And it was something that happened very quickly or the islanders would have left.
Climate does not ‘happen quickly’
If anyone wants to believe this:

The cut trees re-grew from their living stumps; their root systems remained alive and continued to protect the soil.

I suggest they visit the New Forest in Southern England. It is the very definition of an ‘anti oasis’ = a patch of desert in the midst of an ocean of green.
Good intentions and crazy muddled thinking like that created the New Forest and maintain it. Grazing animals in the shape of horses do the heavy lifting and goose stepping ‘rangers’ ensure there are no transgressions in the maintenance of this little desert.
At night time in there, it is sooooo spookily quiet it makes your average graveyard sound like a rave-party.
I kid ye not. Apart from traffic noise on a motorway 20 miles away and Southampton Docks similarly.
Horrible. A little sound & vision of hell.
That’s what Easter Island became, or was, when Cook visited.
A Magical Thought Bubble kicks in nicely also, resisting the idea that when something is seemingly as good as nitrogen fertiliser, it maybe actually *is* Too Good To Be True.
Big shock incoming there. Be careful of course, innit dangerous to waken sleep walkers?
(Is it possible to sleep-walk and drink Kool Aid simultaneously. Nah. =Multitasking and best left to the girls)
But the dead give-away in the author’s mindset comes from 2 words, but only one of them really…..

scant possessions

and reveals why he’s so scared.
A shortage of stuff.
Where’s it all coming from and here we are now with more stuff than ever and still questing more.
Creation of stuff created the climate change panic of which the author here is so patently scared.
What does almighty Monckton say about positive feedbacks? Good? Bad? Sustainable?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 7, 2018 11:40 am

Exaggeration and hyperbole do not help you make your point. Also, could I suggest you read up on the New Forest and specifically what a ‘forest’ in England is, I don’t believe it’s what you think it is.

Reply to  phaedo
April 8, 2018 7:51 am

Tom Halla, you’re right of course. There are a few conifer exceptions like coast redwood. I think pitch pine here in the east will also resprout, tho it isn’t really common.

Reply to  phaedo
April 8, 2018 7:52 am

Sorry — reply was to Tom Halla below. Fingers/eyes got combobulated.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 7, 2018 3:36 pm

“I suggest they visit the New Forest in Southern England. It is the very definition of an ‘anti oasis’ = a patch of desert in the midst of an ocean of green.
Good intentions and crazy muddled thinking like that created the New Forest and maintain it. Grazing animals in the shape of horses do the heavy lifting and goose stepping ‘rangers’ ensure there are no transgressions in the maintenance of this little desert.”

Your limited experience does not begin to cover the possibilities or capabilities of wildlife, world wide.
Here in America, Cherry trees, which they apparently do not have in Southern England, maple trees, also apparently missing in Southern England, mulberries and many other trees’ root balls live for many years after the tree is cut.
Before the 20th century began, a dreadful blight wiped out most American chestnut trees.
Even today, over one hundred years later, chestnut tree root masses send up new shoots. Those root systems are alive!
Apparently, peta doom monger is the one afraid. Afraid, that the truth about Easter Islanders will become known. Why else spout base nonsense?

Reply to  ATheoK
April 8, 2018 7:30 am

Most of the eastern NA forest is resprouted trees from previous cuts. It’s done purposely — cut right at ground level and the hardwood tree resprouts and is again harvestable in 50 – 80 yrs. Conifers won’t resprout but often “seed” conifers are left after a cut to reseed or as in the southeast pine plantations, the pines are harvested and replanted.

Tom Halla
Reply to  beng135
April 8, 2018 7:37 am

Coast Redwoods will resprout, but not the Sequoias.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 8, 2018 9:55 am

“beng135 April 8, 2018 at 7:30 am”

beng135: I wouldn’t go so far as to say “most of the Eastern”; but you are correct. It mostly depends on the hardwood products desired, as oaks are not quite as great sprouting new growth from the stump. Well, oaks will sprout new growth, but in their own dang good time for some species; whereas other species are just as eager to grow forests.
Depending on final product, those resprouted woods may need caretakers to thin out sprouting trees. e.g. maples and cherries will send up small forests from each stump. The exception products are pulp or chips where total cellulose growth in the shortest possible time, is what is important.
Then there are the indefatigable seed planters; squirrels and birds. Well, the birds don’t exactly plant the seeds; they ‘process’ and excretory distribute the seeds. Truth be told, lizards, turtles and other animals also process and excretory distribute seeds.
Cows and sheep are grazers and do not, as a rule, eat woody shrubs or trees. Browsers eat shrubs and woody growth: e.g. deer, goats, elk, moose, grouse, etc. American bison are primarily grazers, but will browse choice shrubs. Browsers do not eat the wood stems, but crop buds and growing tips.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 7, 2018 4:16 pm

Trees can be coppiced; I’ve done it.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 8, 2018 2:03 pm

27 degrees south,
horse latitudes. Called such because the horses were thrown overboard to conserve dwindling water. Area of descending dry air between trades and westerlies. Gives rise to hot deserts of the earth.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 8, 2018 2:19 pm

Hi Peta / Griff- could we please have a post which is not an incoherent stream of consciousness rambling?

April 7, 2018 10:35 am

Most people, even highly educated ones, like to look towards the past for those periods where we have less information to project their ideas about the world, creating a fantasy to push their narrative. In the past this was acknowledged and they used unexplored parts of the world, like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s travels were used to explore his ideas about society. Other interesting legends like El Dorado, or a woman Calipha that gave the name to California, or the seven golden cities of Cibola in America founded by seven Spanish bishops escaping Islamic invasion of the Iberian peninsula in the 8th Century.
The problem is that today’s myths that also pretend to be the truth are sustained by educated university professors, and thus the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, of which we know very little, becomes a warning tale of the runaway CO₂ effect that awaits us, and the Eastern Island a cautionary tale of human-caused ecological disaster. Even when research does not support the myth, it refuses to die, as El Dorado kept changing its location to the last remaining unexplored corners.
The idea that Easter Islanders rolled the moai using logs from the last remaining trees is an example of projection. A baseless assumption in the absence of evidence. Research has showed that the moai were cleverly designed to walk by using ropes and a few people to balance them. Human ingenuity finding a much better solution to a problem.

The disaster that befell on the Easter Islanders had a political root. After Bartolomé de las Casas defense of the American natives to the Spanish Crown, from the 16th century Spaniards were forbidden from creating or trafficking with slaves (they could still buy slaves from the Portuguese and British under a tightly regulated right of “asiento”). The same as the Paraguayan natives lost the Crown protection and fell prey to Portuguese slavers (The Mission movie), when Spain lost the colonial war all the natives in the Spanish Americas lost that protection, and the same destiny that happened to the Easter Islanders at the hands of their new masters befell on many other native groups, that in many cases suffered mistreatment and were dispossessed of their lands. Many natives knew this was coming and fought alongside Spain in the independence war.

Reply to  Javier
April 7, 2018 10:54 am

As Spock would say…Fascinating.

Reply to  Javier
April 7, 2018 12:46 pm

While many Mapuche in Chile sided with the Royalists, Indians in Peru, to the extent that they were involved, generally backed the rebels seeking independence.
Brigadier Mateo Pumacahua, of indigenous descent, helped Spain defeat the 1781 Indian uprising of Tupac Amaru II, but then led the Cuzco Rebellion of 1814 in the War of Independence.
The oligarchs in Lima were royalist, which is why Peru was the last Spanish colony in South America to be liberated. They wanted to be able to keep exploiting the Indians. That Spain officially didn’t allow slavery doesn’t mean that Peruvian Indians weren’t serfs. The colonial rulers divided them up among Europeans on encomiendas, grants by the Spanish Crown to colonists in America conferring the right to demand tribute and forced labor from the Indian inhabitants of an area.
General Jose de San Martin of the Buenos Aires junta was himself probably of Guarani ancestry.
Similarly his Chilean comrade in arms, Bernardo O’Higgins might have had Mapuche descent.

Reply to  Chimp
April 8, 2018 10:30 am

Indians in Peru, to the extent that they were involved, generally backed the rebels seeking independence.

Not really. About 85% of the royalist armies were natives and “castas” (mixed ascent), and that was so much the case in Peru that a native, Antonio Huachaca, reached the position of general in the royalist army of Peru. Do you know of any other example in other nation’s colonies of a native becoming general of the army?

Reply to  Chimp
April 8, 2018 2:25 pm

I just gave you one, in the comment to which you replied, Mateo Pumacua. And, as you may know, Antonio Huachaca switched sides to join the Peruvian army.
But, yes, royalist armies did draft natives. However, the reason Peru was the last colony liberated was because the royalist oligarchs wanted to keep exploiting the natives on their encomiendas and in the mines.
San Martin’s army which crossed the Andes to free Chile was largely composed of black slaves and freedmen.

Reply to  Javier
April 7, 2018 12:54 pm

Yet again my comment has failed to post.
I’ll wait a while before trying again.

Reply to  Javier
April 8, 2018 5:13 pm

Great video. The early explorers were told by the natives that the statues walked into place but it was dismissed as superstition. Truth is stranger than fiction.

April 7, 2018 10:37 am

Thank you Mr. Avery. I love articles that can debunk myths in science–so much appreciated this. and I have more respect for those naties now too–I watched that stupid program about how they destroyed thelseves and was aghast..now I can change that that aghastness and redirect it to the producers!

April 7, 2018 10:44 am

“Easter Island’s natives committed “ecological suicide,” by cutting down all their palm trees. They supposedly used the logs as rollers to move their famous huge statues. ”
My immediate thought was, “Nobody could be that stupid,” (referring to the natives, not to the author.) But then I thought of Australia, where their favorite sport is destroying functional economical, coal-burning power plants. Yes, people CAN be that stupid.
s Surely they’d have had a program to ‘recycle’ the rollers, and a substantial refundable deposit at the point of sale. /s

April 7, 2018 10:52 am

@R.Shearer- It seems unlikely that a single field produce at that rate, roughly 70% of global demand.
You’re right. Most of the numbers quoted publically in the oil biz, are in my opinion, synthesized to support an agenda, like govt unemployment numbers, heh. So, the 70 Mn bpd was close to what i remembered as daily world production from Gail the Actuary’s blog, and used to show how this YUGE new discovery might last 3 years. Personally, i believe oil will be limited to military use only by 2022.
Sandy, Minister of Future

Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 11:07 am

Except interzonkomizar, Alberta alone has 200 Billion barrels of recoverable oil sands. Maybe we won’t be able to ship it globally because of lack for pipelines, but I can guarantee you I will be driving my diesel Jeep and diesel 1 Ton dually Ram. The Carbon Tax will suck, but hopefully we vote the Marxist/Maoists out of power by then.

Alex Avery, son of Dennis
Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 11:27 am

Sandy, you’re joining a LONG line of oil pessimists who have repeatedly been proven wrong on the end of the oil age. I think the age of oil will end when alternatives become cheaper and more plentiful. The Stone Age didn’t end b/c we ran out of stone and I think that’ll be true of oil/fossil fuels. But we’ll all find out together, won’t we?

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Alex Avery, son of Dennis
April 7, 2018 12:33 pm

“The Stone Age didn’t end b/c we ran out of stone”
I am so stealing that! 😀

April 7, 2018 11:00 am


R.S. Brown
April 7, 2018 11:37 am

The cutting of trees to allow the stumps to there after send out shoots
or sucker is the practice called “coppicing”. The general term is “coppice”.
This practice has been going on since humans took down their first
tree with an ax and intentionally left the stump/roots to regrow.

April 7, 2018 11:41 am

Interesting programme on Easter Island fact and fiction by the BBC a few years old now, the LInk is a clip covering land and water management by the natives, which was complex and involved irrigated Palm plantations, the full programme is also available. It comprehensively debunks all the ecocide nonsense. Just another fairy story to scare people into doing stupid things that make life worse for all, except them.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01q9w87
“The idea that ecocide had bought this society to its knees, just doesn’t fit in with the available evidence.”

April 7, 2018 12:11 pm

@AlexAvery- I think the age of oil will end when alternatives become cheaper and more plentiful.
For at least 2 yrs now i’ve read articles showing new fields being discovered each yr arent covering the annual production. Then, BINGO, a reeaally big field pops up. When Aramco took over total ownership of their fields in the 70’s the ‘proven reserves’ doubled a few months later, due to ‘new scientific measurement techniques’. Hmmm.
The new alternatives, which i agree are possible, will have to arrive in ‘plug’n’play’ form before the global economy, which runs on oil at $65 per bbl, grinds to a halt. Yes, our claims are Popper Falsifiable, and at 74 yo, the actuary tables say i have a 67% probability of hitting 85, heh. I look forward to being wrong.
Sandy, Minister of Future

April 7, 2018 12:43 pm

@Earthling2- Oil sands… Technically thats a convenient marketing / sales misnomer. Actually they are tar or kerogen sands. They are quite extensive but the energy to recover is not economical. Conventional oil has EROEI’s around 15-20, while tar sands are 3-6. Meaning spend 1 kw to get 4 kw. So you may have to mine it and cook it into diesel at home, heh.
Sandy, Minister of Future

Reply to  interzonkomizar
April 7, 2018 3:29 pm

No, I don’t think I will be ‘cooking’ Bitumen at home Sandy. You are almost funny for a Minister of the Future Alarmist. Alberta Oil Sands are already making a modest profit when heavy oil – WCS (Western Canadian Select) trades at a 15% – 20% to WTI oil. And there is a glut of WTI on the market already, and when the rest of the world starts fracking, then the oil supply will continue for many years to come. And then we will re-visit older oil wells with better technologies in the future than we have today, and continue to pump oil. We are not running out of oil anytime soon, unless Marxist/Maoist Governments decree an end to relatively cheap energy. But there will be a revolution before that, and they will lose their heads. Rational people will only put up with this for so long.
The oil sands, or tar sands as you would incorrectly call them, are reported to contain 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen in place with over 200 billion barrels that can be produced under current economics and commercial technologies. As the price for oil in general goes up, then more bitumen is commercially available. That is why the planet will never probably run out of oil, because when the price gets too high, we will have cheaper energy alternatives invented by then, or Heavy oil from Canada, Mexico or Venezuela, and much more from around the world will continue the supply for oil, or heavy derivatives for petrochemical requirements for many decades to come. And thank God for humans discovering fossil fuels and ensuring the planet does not go into CO2 starvation/depravation as it has been the last few million years at the peak of ice ages when CO2 drops to 180 ppmv for extended time periods and plant life suffers globally, to the point of extinction.

April 7, 2018 1:04 pm

The BBC had the best description. “The man concerned had mental health problems, but we do not know his identity yet….”

April 7, 2018 1:26 pm

Some interesting stories about Easter Island from a geological perspective can be found here:
Dr Schoch (pronounced “shock”) and his wife were married there and she is one of the few who are trying to translate and preserve what is left of the rongorongo petroglyphs.

April 7, 2018 1:59 pm

Interesting post – kind of rings a bell 🛎 , like I’ve seen something like it before somewhere. O I remember, this was the article that I posted in “submit story” a couple of weeks ago, and which was ignored. Glad it didn’t go entirely to waste 🙂 Here it is:
Easter Island: New research falsifies the myth of “ecocide”
Easter Island and the fate of its inhabitants has become, in today’s ecopuritannical culture, a cautionary tale about how us humans left to our own devices, without appropriate moral oversight, tend to destroy our own environment to our own harm. However new research, employing the scientific method correctly, has overturned this interpretation of Easter Island history.
Easter Island has become a powerful myth and morality tale of our time as it seemed to encapsulate on a single small island the self-destructive plight of the modern human race as a whole. Are not humans a plague on planet earth? – as we are endlessly endocrined in innumerable dystopian scifi movies. Left to ourselves, do we not simply consume resources with no thought of tomorrow? Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die?
The main ingredients of the myth of Easter Island are:
1. The islanders cut down all the trees on their island until there weren’t any left to cut down;
2. The islanders originally fished from wooden canoes, until the trees were gone; then there were no more canoes and no more dish to eat.
3. Once they were treeless and canoeless and thus fishless (due to being clueless), they came to depend on farmed crops on land;
4. The feckless islanders then showed the same destructive abandon with arable farming, cultivating the same plots year after year and draining the soil of nutrients, leading eventually to the erosion and loss of the topsoil itself;
5. In plaintive and vainglorious celebration of their exulted status of eco-villains for all time, they crafted out of rock the famous “Easter Island Heads”, statues looking out to sea from the island’s coast in forlorn hope of rescue from enlightened environmental activists, for eco-missionaries to come to their island to rescue then from themselves.
The new research by Catrine Jarman et al. of the Binghampton University, New York, falsifies all of the above assumptions about “exocide” on Easter Island.
The linked ScienceDaily report above (for once) eloquently summarises their findings so I wont repeat them all here. In short, it is clear that the harvesting of trees was done in an intelligent, sustainable way, and thus they did not run out of wood for canoes since the diet of the Rapa Nui people continued to contain seafood protein. Fishing and land farming continued in parallel. Furthermore, the island’s inhabitants evidently fertilized the soil with mined rocks, so that over many generations it did not become nutrient depleted.
Maybe the giant head statues were crafted as a creative activity accompanying the mining of rocks to use as soil fertilizer? Just a speculation. They must have scraped the rocks to obtain spreadable fertilizer – why not craft statues at the same time?
To quote researcher Carl Lipo:
“The Rapa Nui people were, not surprisingly, smart about how they used their resources,” he said. “And all the misunderstanding comes from our preconceptions about what subsistence should look like, basically European farmers thinking, ‘Well, what should a farm look like?’ And it didn’t look like what they thought, so they assumed something bad had happened, when in fact it was a perfectly smart thing to do. It continues to support the new narrative that we’ve been finding for the past ten years.”
[Please note – the placement of commas is very important in the meaning of the first sentence by Lipo. Moving the commas could lead to misquotation that would reverse the sentence’s meaning.]

April 7, 2018 2:22 pm

When did building temples to imaginary gods ever benefit delusional humans?

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Larry Butler
April 7, 2018 7:40 pm

Right now, the most profitable purveyor of delusion in the U.S. is engaged in selling worthless mortar boards.

April 7, 2018 3:23 pm

Plausible essay.

April 7, 2018 4:49 pm

Ironically Easter islanders lived way “closer to the nature” than we. If they had modern technology and fossil fuels they would have certainly lived longer.

April 7, 2018 4:54 pm

Shoulda built windmills instead, or wait, maybe they should have slain the dictator that approved the planning. Too late now.

April 7, 2018 5:50 pm

@ATheoK- Here ya go …
Imaginative claims due to active imagination … See Floating-City-Island.blogspot.com
Sandy, Minister of Future

April 7, 2018 6:19 pm

Thank you, Mr. Avery, for a fact-based time-line and explanation of what really happened in the history of Easter Island. There have been a lot of fictional visions of Easter island available from the Greenies and Warmistas that never rang true.

April 7, 2018 6:27 pm

@ATheoK- Here’s what i said- 1. Who will be affected? Everyone will feel some effect; if not from higher food prices and lack of selection, then one of the deep cold winters. 2. Who will starve? Basicly the poor and some in large cities where food delivery trucks get hijacked and downtown groceries stay empty shelved. 3. Who will get eaten? Records from past great famines say the young, old, and sick are vulnerable.
Your comment- Complete puffery on the other imaginative claims.
Puffery- relying on exaggerations, opinions, and superlatives, with little or no credible evidence to support its vague claims. 
Please point out the exaggerations and superlatives. Supply trucks were often hijacked during the Kosovo conflict. As to opinions, i am talking about the future; you knew that, right?
You said- Apparently Sandy is not minister of any future, just fantasy.
Every future is somebody’s fantasy. If they are creative, heh.
Sandy, Minister of Future

April 7, 2018 6:36 pm

They obviously should have killed and fed the slave traders to the fish…then they would maybe still been able to survive. I always wonder how a handful of Spanish Conquistadors were able to conquer the Aztecs in Mexico, which they then conquered the Maya further south and the Inca in South America. Perhaps the new world Civilizations had already begun to disintegrate internally and were ripe for destruction that included tribal enemies of these Empires that no longer wanted to be slaves themselves or worse, wind up being a human sacrifice in the warped ‘religion’ of these Empires. Of course the Spanish were not much better. And it is still a problem to this day. Sort of like the new religion of CAGW that also demands Sacrifice.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Earthling2
April 7, 2018 6:44 pm

Any consideration of the Spanish v. the Aztecs in Mexico without mentioning smallpox is like the old line “Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?”. Most of the advantage the Spanish had was due to prior exposure to the Afro-Eurasian disease environment.
I probably had ancestors on both sides of that fight, and it was mostly disease, not culture or technology.

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 7, 2018 7:27 pm

Yes Tom, I totally agree that disease, especially smallpox in those early days was the significant hammer that sealed the history forever. Undoubtedly. But I think it was a perfect Trifecta of disease, cultural decline and technological disadvantage that allowed Colonialism to completely take the new world by storm. It is important we get this story right for future generations, so as we don’t blame the Easter Islanders for their own demise as has been the case in some main stream media over the decades.

April 7, 2018 6:52 pm

@ATheok- I wish you long life and happiness. I have turned off my comment feed.
I have been blessed / cursed with an overactive imagination. Unlike beaurocrats or politicians, who have none, heh. It could even be classified as Narrative Disorder, where one spins stories to connect seemingly unrelated facts. Its better than watching TV, heh.
Sandy, Minister of Future

April 7, 2018 8:41 pm

Part of modern environmental mythology is that the earth was delivered to man in perfect condition, but man abused and ruined the earth and in doing so brought about his own demise. Seems like I’ve heard that story somewhere else.

Alan Ranger
April 7, 2018 8:50 pm

“The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!”
I’ll bet they still find a way to blame the cold climate “disruption” on man-made global warming.

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 8, 2018 12:54 am
April 8, 2018 4:07 am

The trees didn’t die out in cold periods, just like polar bears don’t go extinct and die out during warm periods. Their survival and evolution over tens of thousands of years showed they were adapted to the local climate, but not for log rolling.

April 8, 2018 7:07 am

I did a write up on my blog for kids about “extinct” animals that are not really extinct. In virtually every case, as soon as the animals were rediscovered, the animals were in immediate danger of extinction because WE KNEW ABOUT THEM NOW. Somehow, if humans even know about things, they magically destroy them. So -called science lives with the magical thinking that humans control everything, even down to if we know about something, we must be affecting it and destroying it. It’s sad science has degraded to this low level. It’s magical thinking at its best.

Graham Southern
April 8, 2018 8:26 am

So with practically no trees for rollers, how did they move the massive stone statues around?
Genuine question.

Reply to  Graham Southern
April 8, 2018 11:14 am

Answered above.
They walked them.

April 8, 2018 9:36 am

The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!
BAGW (B for beneficial) make it look attractive right now.

April 8, 2018 10:55 am

It does not seem plausible for climate fluctuations such as the LIA to have any significant effect on a tropical location like Easter Island. Where’s the evidence?

Reply to  philsalmon
April 8, 2018 7:18 pm

Millennia of drought in lake sediments.

old construction worker
April 8, 2018 7:17 pm

Easter Island: Here’s my take. The island started out to be a reeducation/prison camp. They learned how to become stone masons. Did their time, learn a skill and return to society.

April 9, 2018 6:11 am

Some thoughts about Easter Island…
A question that needs further work [as is always the case]

Reply to  GregK
April 9, 2018 12:21 pm

Thanks for the link, references in which provide conclusive proof that the Easter Island palms were not brought there by people.
Pollen researchers found that the most abundant tree in Rapa Nui’s ancient forest was the now extinct palm. The bottom strata of their 37,000 year-old sediment column were packed with its pollen.
No way did South Americans colonize the most remote place on earth over 37,000 years ago, for the good reason that there were probably not any people on South America then, and if there were, they weren’t seafarers. Coastal navigators, at best. Nor did they practice agriculture, let alone arboreal horticulture.
In the past 15,000 years or so, people did most likely spread along the Pacific coast of the Americans from Beringia, but not more than 20,000 years before then.

April 9, 2018 11:41 am

Gravity, space and the climate, major players without man.

April 9, 2018 7:45 pm

More NY Times Easter Island mythology: “Easter Island is eroding as South Pacific sea levels rise”, by Nicholas Casey and Josh Haner of the New York Times. It took about two minutes for me to go online to the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (psmsl.org), which includes all the world’s tide gauge records, to find out about Easter Island. Early in the Easter Island tide gauge record (1974), average sea level was 7061 millimeters. In 2016, the last year of record, sea level had fallen to 7028 mm, or a negative 1.3 inches in 42 years. Easter Island’s tide gauge records sea levels for 32 years, twenty of which are higher than the 2016 sea level.
Two other South Seas islands were mentioned in the article as being in jeopardy because of sea level rise, so I also checked tide gauge records for the Marshall Islands (Kwajalein) and Kiribati (Kanton Island). Sea level increased 1.2 inches at Kwajalein since 1947 (68 years) but fell 1.6 inches at Kiribati since 1976. Not much to fear, is there?
It seems even a slightly competent reporter would have done as I have: check the facts. In this case the facts would have put this entire article to a merciful end, but it now has eternal life (won’t be retracted) as “fake news.” Isn’t that the name of news founded on error?

Reply to  majormike1
April 9, 2018 8:03 pm

The job of post-modern reporters isn’t to “report” but to regurgitate whatever meme is the meme du jour of globalist socialism.

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