Easter Island * Velikonočni otok

I first heard about mysterious Easter Island, lost in the Pacific ocean, when I was 12. At that time I enjoyed reading Thor Heyerdahl`s books about his voyages with Kon Tiki, a raft made of balsa wood. He wanted to prove that the first settlers of Easter Island came from South America. He seemed to have some trouble with proving his theory, but I had no problem with that :). At 12, I have been reading enthusiastically about his voyages and gladly sank into the sea of adventures, research and travelling …Several years later I began to look at Easter Island from another point of view – I saw it as a minimized version of our planet, from which we would not be able to escape if we would have destroyed it, just like the unfortunate inhabitants of the Easter island couldn`t have. I wrote a chapter about that theme in my book Permaculture garden. A month ago a friend told me about a book titled The Enigmas of Easter Island, written by two New Zealand scientists, ecologists and archaeologists, John Flenley and Paul Bahn. I was curious about the book and ordered it at ebay.

The authors see the Easter Island as a smaller version of what is going on on our planet and I was glad when I found that in the book  – because that is something I have an affinity with. The book is no boring scientific work although it does contain lots of valuable knowledge and data and it is obvious that lots of work has been put into it. It is hard to put it down, because it reads like an exciting novel. The book is rich with descriptions of history of the island, its flora and fauna, explanations of probable historical events, of archaeological discoveries, describing ways of life of islanders, their religion and culture, making of statues, etc. I found the last chapter particularly amusing; it contains some practical instructions about how and when is the best way and time to visit the island, what to take with you etc. (from appropriate footwear to sunglasses :) … I really wished that I could go there :).

In short, that book is full of surprises, of pleasant and not so very pleasant ones. The end of civilization can be presented with a mathematical model and drawn as a diagram. And behind the curves within the coordinate system … you can sense the suffering of people who led themselves into a catastrophe. They ate the last bird egg, they destroyed friendship, they cut down last tree, they were slain in mutual fights and both vengefully and rashly turned over the statues (if it weren`t a tragedy, I could find that amusing …). I already wrote about this theme on my blog – click HERE. It is hard to understand, what urges people into self-destruction – but the island is still gorgeous, and so is our planet :).

There are some other very insulated islands in the Pacific Ocean, just like Easter Island is, that the Polynesians settled. But not all of them shared the same tragic fate. The authors of the book described the possible causes for different outcomes – why in equal backgrounds (insulated island), with analogous conditions and possibilities, with analogous groups of humans, the final outcome was completely different. Possible explanations include the facts that because of smaller communities and greater connection between its members, the possibility for an agreement is greater and the salvage of problems more possible, with slighter possibility of developing hostile groups within the community. The ability to reach an agreement within the community is of high importance, the ability to choose the smaller evil over the greater one. We could call this the ability of temporary disposal of enjoyment – something, which isn`t a frequent occurrence in contemporary instant society. Inhabitants of another island decided to exterminate pigs, because they were damaging the environment. By doing that they also had to give up eating meat – but they consciously choose the smaller evil over the greater one. The islanders kept their number down because they knew they shouldn`t overpopulate their island. For that they also use quite drastic measures, etc.

The Easter island inhabitants didn`t succeed in preserving their island and culture, but they managed to achieve something else … according to John Flenley the Easter Island is probably the only place on Earth where rabbits got extinct before they could overpopulate their envyronment (which is something quite amazing). The first rabbits were brought to Easter Island in 1866. The last one has been eaten in 1911. And there were no more bunnies since then on Easter Island – of all the possible places on Earth … :)

Za skrivnostni Velikonočni otok, izgubljen v Tihem oceanu, sem prvič izvedela, ko sem pri 12 letih navdušeno brala knjige Thora Heyerdahla, ki je s svojim Kon Tikijem, krhkim splavom iz trsja, poskušal dokazati teorijo, da so prvi na Velikonočni otok prišli prebivalci Južne Amerike. Pri tem menda ni bil preveč uspešen in je kakšno od dejstev, ki se ni skladalo z njegovo sliko, kar malo po svoje priredil. Pri 12-ih mi je bilo za dokazljivost njegovih teorij več ali manj popolnoma vseeno – navdušeno sem ga brala in se potopila v morje pustolovščin, raziskovanj in potovanj …Leta kasneje sem Velikonočni otok dojela z drugega vidika – kot pomanjšano različico našega planeta, s katerega se, če ga bomo uničili, prav tako kot nesrečniki z Velikonočnega otoka, ne bomo imeli kam umakniti. Tej temi sem posvetila eno od poglavij v knjigi Permakulturni vrt. Pred kakšnim mesecem sem od prijatelja izvedela za  knjigo  dveh novozelandskih znanstvenikov, ekologov in arheologov, Johna Flenleya in Paula Bahna: Skrivnosti Velikonočnega otoka (The Enigmas of Easter Island) in jo naročila preko ebaya.

Avtorja Velikonočni otok vidita kot pomanjšano različico našega planeta – nekaj, kar mi je blizu. Knjiga je napisana res odlično, da jo je težko odložiti, sploh ne kot dolgočasno znanstveno raziskovalno delo, pač pa kot napet roman. Bogata je z opisi zgodovine otoka,  njegove flore in favne, razlagami verjetnega dogajanja, arheoloških odkritij, načina življenja otočanov, njihove vere in kulture, izdelovanja kipov, itd. Še posebej zabavno se mi zdi, da so na koncu knjige še praktična navodila, kako se pripraviti na pot tja, kdaj iti, kaj vzeti s sabo (od primerne obutve do sončnih očal :), kje se da na otoku bivati, kakšni so lokalni prebivalci … Bi kar šla :).

Skratka, knjiga polna presenečenj. Prijetnih in manj prijetnih. Zaton civilizacije se da predstaviti in napovedati z matematičnim modelom in narisat z grafom. Krivulje v koordinatnem sistemu … za katerimi je trpljenje ljudi, ki so si svojo usodo ukrojili sami. Pojedli zadnje ptičje jajce, uničili prijateljstvo, posekali zadnje drevo, se v medsebojnih spopadih pobili in maščevalno in brezglavo prekopicevali nasprotnikove kipe (če ne bi bilo tako tragično, bi se mi zdelo komično). O tej temi sem že pisala – TUKAJ. Težko je dojeti, kaj žene ljudi v samouničenje in zakaj se ne morejo ustaviti – ampak otok je še vedno prelep, in prav tak je naš planet :).

Podobnih, močno izoliranih tihomorskih otokov, ki so jih naselili Polinezijci, je še nekaj. Pa niso vsi doživeli podobne usode kot Velikonočni otok. Avtorja v knjigi razmišljata o možnih vzrokih za različne izide – zakaj v enakih okoljih (izoliran otok), s podobnimi pogoji in možnostmi, z podobnimi skupinami ljudi, popolnoma drugačen končni rezultat. Propad naj bi bil manj verjeten, če so skupnosti manjše, ker je povezanost večja, več je možnosti za dogovor in rešitev težav, manj pa za to, da bi se skupnost razdelila v več skupin in posledično spopadla. Pomembna je odločitev skupnosti, sposobnost dogovarjanja, izbira manjšega zla, da se prepreči večje. Temu lahko rečemo tudi odlaganje užitka – nekaj, kar v sodobni instantni družbi ni več pogost pojav. Na enem od otokov so prebivalci načrtno iztrebili prašiče, ker so ti v okolju povzročili preveč škode. Zaradi tega so se morali odreči mesu, a so ohranili okolje. Pazili so, da se število ljudi ni povečalo in pri tem uporabljali tudi zelo drastične ukrepe, itd.

Prebivalcem Velikonočnega otoka tukaj ni uspelo … Jim pa je nekaj drugega: John Flenley pravi, da je Velikonočni otok verjetno edini kraj na Zemlji, kjer so na novo naseljeni zajci izumrli prej, kot so se uspeli namnožiti in zavzeti prostor (kar je skrajno neverjeten dogodek :). Prve zajčke so na otok pripeljali leta 1866. Zadnjega je leta 1911 pojedel eden od otočanov, in poslej zajčkov na Velikonočnem otoku ni več. Pa prav na Velikonočnem otoku, od vseh krajev na zemlji … :)


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This entry was posted on januar 15, 2014, in Brez kategorije. Bookmark the permalink. 1 komentar

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