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Easter Islanders blocked airport against immigration-fed overpopulation this year

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Airport closed by Islanders

In August this year (2009) Easter Islanders, who are mostly of Polynesian origin, 'closed' their island for 24 hours, blocking the one airport. Their purpose was to demand limits on immigration from Chili and on the length of time tourists might come and stay.

The were demonstrating because of the impact of tourism and population growth on the island. The French Press described it as a fear that their 'island paradise' might be lost, but we should remember that the Rapanuans, as the inhabitants of Easter Island probably prefer to be known, clawed back from the brink of extinction after overpopulation, nearly reduced their island to a desert in the 18th century, forcing some of their ancestors to survive by cannibalism. If this island has returned to paradise status, it has been dearly-won.

It is ironic that the island that the world knows as the most famous case of overpopulation should even have to ask for control over their population numbers, but inspiring that the Chilean government has recognised this right in a country not known for its attention to human rights.

According to the Blog for the Association of Adoptive Families of Children born in Chili, Rapanui Mayor, Luz Zasso Paoa, commented, "We depend for our heritage on sustainable development; we have to take care of resources such as water, energy and the managment of waste, reminding people that Rapanuians have been sounding this warning bell for ten years.

Illustration: Interactive Wikipedia map of Easter Island and its sights

Dangerously High European Immigration

The population has increased at a dangerously rapid pace, mainly due to the influx of people of European descent via the Chilean mainland. At the 2002 census there were 3,791 inhabitants, up from 1,936 inhabitants in 1982. By 2009 there were about 5000 inhabitants. Rapanui is 163.6 km2, with little fresh water.

The island is also losing its native Polynesian identity to European Chilean sea-changers. The native Polynesians (known as Rapanuians) have dwindled from around 70% in 1982, to 60% in the 2002 census. Chileans of European descent formed 39% of the population, with 1% Native American from mainland Chile.) (Source: Easter Island Article ID: 53418

Each year 50,000 tourists come to visit the beaches and volcanic landscapes which are world famous for their giant Moai statues of stone. Rapanui is 3,500km from the Chilean coast, once the most isolated island in the Pacific, and the last to be settled by Polynesians. Some theories have it that the islanders' ancestors chopped down the last trees in order to keep on making those statues. The statues stare out to sea like an island SETI program, as if signalling that the island was inhabited, hoping that this once most isolated island in the Pacific might to be found by other friendly Polynesians in the once endlessly large universe of the Pacific Ocean.

In fact the island was found by unfriendly Europeans and many of the islanders who had survived cannibalism and starvation, were taken away as slaves in the 18th century.

Today the stone statues are again attracting the wrong sort of crowd.

Easter Islanders get power to limit immigration to their island

In October this year, after public consultation, the people of Easter Island (Rapanui) approved a reform of the Chilean constitution which will give authorities on Easter Island more control over migration movements. This was an initiative of the Chilean Government, designed in response to Islander concerns about the impact on their ecosystem and culture of growth in tourism and immigration.

96% vote to restrict immigration and tourism

Some 1,300 - or more than 96% of voters welcomed the reform, according to Chilean media sources,

The Vice Minister of the Interior, Patricio Rosende, explained that the vote will "help to regulate the growth of the population of the island. It is a very fragile place which won't support an indeterminate number of permanent inhabitants."

In September the government had launched a system of immigration cards to control the reason, length of stay and place of stay for visitors, as a first step to control immigration traffic. The Supreme Court in early October had ruled that this idea was 'illegal and arbitrary in the name of freedome to come and go in the country.'

The vote in October would launch a process to revise the article in the Constitution which already recognises that Easter Island has a special status.

Source of above:"L'île de Pâques vote pour contrôler ses visiteurs," Agence France-Presse, Santiago, Publié le 27 octobre 2009 à 07h52 | Mis à jour le 27 octobre 2009 à 07h55 and France2 archived television video at Accessed on 27 December 2009. Easter Island Article ID: 53418

The Future Eating Syndrome

Nowhere is the ability of a system to limit growth more important than on isolated islands. The Pacific Islands were the last in the world to be severely disorganised by colonisation and the ideology of "Progress" so dear to the growth lobby. The destruction of their original societies was documented by many sources, including religious, commercial and anthropological. But the fact is, Easter Island's grisly history turns out to be the exception to the Pacific Islander rule - at least for those many island societies that survived well. Generally, Pacific Island societies have been the greatest survivors ever known, with some lasting more than 40,000 years. Even Hawaii had lasted for about 3000 years before the arrival of Europeans. Japan is another example of a Pacific island that succeeded for a very long time without overshooting its resources. No modern European society can claim anything like this success.

The Easter Island story is of the late colonisation by a single party of Polynesians of one of the most isolated islands in the Pacific.

It was so isolated that it is thought likely that no further traditional Polynesian colonisers ever arrived. Despite these inauspicious circumstances, this one party of Polynesians seeded a complex civilisation in 390 or 400AD which reached numbers between 7000 and 10,000, profiting from the abundant sea-life and productive vegetation. But the downfall of the Easter Islanders apparently lay in their very success, for they reputedly ate themselves out of house and home, finally dwindling to a handful of incestuous cannibals, surrounded by those mute giant statues which had been produced by their dead civilisation. By 1700 AD population had dropped from an estimated 10,000 to around one or two thousand. It is thought that no visitors landed until the first European voyagers in 1722 who described the straggling survivors of the former nation.

This form of death to a society by over consumption has been held up as the likely or even as the inescapable fate of modern man and consumer society by eco-gurus such as Jarad Diamond (Collapse) and Tim Flannery. Tim Flannery called it "Future Eating" in his famous 1994 book, The Future Eaters (Reed Books). In a series of international petroleum depletion discussion e-lists led initially by Jay Hansen of, Easter Island has been held up to illustrate the proposition that humans will always overshoot their environmental carrying capacity.

That people of 'progressive' cultures have so easily identified Pacific Island societies as hopelessly unsustainable lies in the severe dysfunction of most Pacific Islander cultures since the majority were exposed to 'Progress' through mostly British colonisation from the 1850s. The spectacular fate of the Easter Island, which was thought to have occurred before any colonisation, simply confirms in most "Progressive" peoples' minds that the poor Pacific islanders must always have existed in hopelessly dysfunctional societies, doomed to bloom and die like so many tropical blossoms, due to some innate lack of the progress gene.

But all Pacific islands did not end up like Easter Island. Most did not. So the whole proposition that Pacific Islanders are chronicly in need of direction from outsiders is flawed. And there must be an antidote to the Easter Island future-eating syndrome.

Australia is to be counted among the once-isolated islands of the Pacific and Australian Aborigines once used the same sustainable land-tenure and inheritance system as all other successful islanders. The Australian and New Guinean Lapita people were present in societies at least 40,000 years ago.

'Modern' Australia is a product of British colonial history and a victim of the British capitalist land-tenure and inheritance system. For all that it is bigger and more resourced than its smaller neighbours and for all that the white population far outnumbers the original black population, Australia is dogged by the same exploitation, overpopulation, and ruin as the other British-colonised islands. Because Australia is bigger than the other Pacific islands, its ruin is taking a little longer than some islands' and most of us cannot see that what is happening in our suburb is happening all over Australia's thin strip of fertile coast. Rest assured, however, that if we keep going as we are, we won't last nearly as long as Easter Island did before it crashed. And, what is happening to Australia is also happening to North America, Canada and Britain.

Wouldn't it be great if the people of Rapanui, having learned from the pain of being unfairly held up as an example to the world, were able to stop overpopulation destroying them a second time.

Let's wish them the best of luck and follow their example!


UPDATE DEC 2012: If you would like to know more, Sheila Newman has applied a completely new test of the collapse model of Easter Island, which will stun those who thought they knew all about it. Read about this in chapter four of Demography, Territory & Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations (see link). Forensic biologist, Hans Brunner writes of it: "This book takes us to a completely new paradigm in multiple species population science. It shows how little we understand, and how much we need to know, of the sexual reactions when closed colonies with an orderly reproduction system are destroyed, be it people or animals." Two chapters are on multi-species demography, the rest apply the theory to non-industrial societies, including Rapanui


The view expressed on the die-off site that humans will always overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment is at the other extreme of the notion not mentioned above but which one sees expressed that humans are themselves a "resource" and you can't have too many of them !

It's interesting to get a glimpse in this article of a social system with respect to land that was successful in maintaining societies without overshoot over millennia

The observation that Easter Island was an exception in it's overshoot and collapse of the environment and the society should arouse curiosity and of course brings to mind the case of the Australian Aborigine as mentioned. I have never heard of the overshoot and collapse of any Aboriginal societies in Australia in the 40,000 to 60,000 years before the European invasion . Is there any evidence that this in fact happened anywhere on the continent? It's also interesting that that the Australian Aborigines had the same land tenure and inheritance system to those on other Pacific Islands. Is there something intuitive about setting this up or were the systems brought from one island to another through migration?

Local indigeeous rights and even birth rights seem to have been overruled by contemporary economic dogma that migration is the fastest performance enhancer of economic growth, which makes any national governments economic performance look better.

It is long overdue that economics is exposed as the narrow misguided theories that it is, which ignores the broader more complex realm of sociology. It is long overdue that sociologists be treated as second class citizens to economists.

Migration is an economic sugar high, stimulant, steroid or growth hormone, which is quickly followed by adverse social consequences - local job displacement, increased cost of living, shortage of resources, shortage of public services, ghettos, racial and ethnic tension and conflicts, etc, etc. The rationale of banning drugs in sport is a useful analogy applicable to the effects of migration in societies.

But can we blame migrants seeking a better life. There are millions of would-be migrants just waiting to exercise their pathogenic rights to breed. Invasion rights take many forms.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

Kenneth Boulding(1910 to 1993) was a US economist, peace activist, Quaker, poet, philosopher and scientist. He is quoted as saying that anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a "madman or an economist." Many economists seems to lack any understanding of biological systems, or that overpopulation creates misery.
The "moderately cheerful form" of his Dismal theorems is that if something other than misery and starvation can be found to keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves. It can be stable and prosperous!

Left in the hands of economists, our growth, driven by taxes, will be limitless!
The health and well-being of a nation cannot be judged entirely on economic growth. We will be assigned into feedlots like cattle, all as economic units programmed to add to our GDP!

The "something" to stop the madness of overpopulation should be found soon to keep us safe from mad economists!

As immigration minister between 1945 and 1949, Arthur Calwell implemented and popularised the Chifley Labor government’s “populate or perish” policy, persuading the union movement that mass migration was necessary despite the impacts of the depression.

In 1950, Australia's population was just over 8 million. By 1970 it was 12.5 million. It was still a modest 14.7 million in 1980. A million more migrants arrived in each of the following four decades after 1950.

Despite the lowly status of women and our cultural cringe, we were a nation of high home-ownership,close-knit families, low crime rates, water sprinklers, large backyards, low unemployment, social cohesion and free education.

Immigration boosted our prosperity and rewarded us with lifestyles to be envied, and massive opportunities for prosperity.

Australia used to be known as a country of home-owners. Not any more!
The ability of local young people and families to buy a house has been destroyed by the pro-growth lobby who are benefiting by forcing housing and rental costs to rise. We have already globalised our tertiary education system and thus created an easy access to immigration, and now our property market is up for grabs internationally - our existing population has been betrayed!

High-density living, a "solution" to population growth, is not appropriate for families with children. The other "solution" is to keep building houses, but this means urban sprawl, infrastructure and transport demands, soaring costs, more land clearing and biodiversity losses.

Now our immigration rate is the highest in 40 years and our population growth rate is 2.1%. We are being "softened" to accept a 35 million by 2050, but our numbers will double in less than 35 years if we continue our present rate. We are thus denying the next generation the benefits our parents and grandparents enjoyed! Why? Because of the greed of land developers, the building and finance industries that have State and Federal governments in their pockets!

Our lifestyles are being eroded, and Australia is becoming over-populated for the benefit of a few with strings controlling politicians when they are supposed to be acting in the interests of the voters, not a select few!

Any climate change warnings are being dismissed, and is a total charade if our population is being increased. We need some activism against the power of the pro-growth lobby.

Now our population growth, driven by mass immigration, has become "populate and perish" !

Vivienne highlights the Australian government's post-war immigration policy of the 50's encouraged by Arthur Caldwell, but that was a small start and long ago. A closer analysis between the alignment of successive governments and immigration statistics would reveal a more recent policy trend that makes Caldwell's immigration enthusiasm pale in comparison to today's 383,000 per annum.

The 'populate or perish' myth was spun and believed but never legitimated - and quite comparable to Bush/Howard/Blair Weapons of Mass Deception spin [BHB WMD]. Like WMD, the preceding 'populate or perish' myth remains an historian's gem of a book waiting to have the deception exposed. It just opened the immigration flood gates on a lie that has been ignored and abandoned.

It's bleeding obvious that Australian standards and way of life are being eroded due to a few powerful politicians that in some twisted noble way think it's good for us to be globally accepting. No need to elaborate on the 'high home-ownership', 'close-knit families' etc, but thanks for the confirmation.

Immigration only boosts short term economic data. The key problem is that Australia Treasury departments are dominated and controlled by economists and politicians know no better. These days Treasury is blindly accepted as the unquestioned head economic Druid. Politicians are intimidated by economic science to thinking that they have no social/economic savvy with which to challenge Treasury's mandate. The power and influence is prevalent at both national and state level.

Rudd’s rationale and drive are undisclosed. One man is taking Australian values and lifestyle down a degraded path. The test ought to be that the current generation leaves a better Australia for the next. Rudd makes no apology that his personal concept “of a bigger Australia” is a different goal. I argue it is a goal foreign to Australia and that Rudd needs to be treated as an illegitimate invading foreigner.

When Rudd is long gone his destruction will prevail permanently, especially at 383,000 net immigration per year!

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

This comment seems to accept that those pushing immigration believe their own propaganda and their own lying statistics.

I don't think so.

I think by now, over thirty six years since the economic neo-liberal counter-revolution, of which Naomi Klein writes in "The Shock Doctrine", started in Chile, they are perfectly well aware that all their dodgy indicators that 'prove' that population growth, and other economic neo-liberal policies, help the economy, are just there to fool the broader public.

They understands that it helps them and nobody else and certainly not our society, as a whole, to get richer.

And we can rest asured that there would not be the slightest fragment of noble altruism, whether twisted or otherwise which motivates Kevin Rudd and those whose selfish interests he serves.

Who will stand up to Rudd Labor and the Liberals and tell them clearly that Australians don't want more immigrants for many reasons. Surveys suggest that 9 out of 10 don't want more and if this is supposed to be a democratic nation don't do it or put immigration to a referendum. I think the UN are actually controlling Australia now anyway.