First Book Critique: Collapse by Jared Diamond
Collapse, written by Jared Diamond, shows how environmental problems in today are connected with many of the same environmental reasons of collapse in ancient civilizations. Diamond wrote this book to show that if people don’t take care of the land while there is time, the whole world could end up collapsing just like many other ancient civilizations.
Instead of starting in the past, Diamond goes to the present time to show people that there are many environmental problems plaguing the world day. In Bitterroot Montana, Diamond tells of the many problems that harm the beautiful, sleepy town. There is increasing population and scarcity, decreasing quality of water, poor air quality, toxic waste, heightened risks from wildfires, forest deterioration, losses of soil and its nutrients, damage from newly introduced pest species, and effects of climate change. Some think that it is a horrible thing to happen to such a small town, but really this is happening everywhere and in some places, at a much more destructive rate. (Diamond, 39-47)
One of the most commonly noted cases of collapse due to environmental reasons is Easter Island. Located about 2,000 miles of the coast of Chile, Easter Island is only sixty square miles wide. What makes this collapse so different is that unlike all the other civilizations, Easter Island was completely isolated. The outside factors which usually make a huge difference, never really existed. Diamond used this chapter to prove that the collapse came from the islands own isolated system. Around the 600 yard volcanic crater called Rano Raraku is what makes Easter Island famous, 397 long-eared, legless, human male torso, stone statues. The clans all competed in statute building, which led to their collapse. To make the statues they needed trees to make logs and ropes to transport the heavy monuments, which led to deforestation around 1,400 CE. The Polynesians colonized the area in 900...
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