Research Proposal: Deep Ecology and Social Justice

Pages: 5 (1499 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Ecology

Source Title: "Historical Consequences of Deforestation: Easter Island"

Pollen analysis on Easter Island has provided a theory regarding the construction of the famous statues on the island that also explains how the society of the island natives first encountered by Europeans was in such a degraded and destitute state. Evidence form the pollen analysis suggests heavy deforestation coinciding with the building of the statues, and shows that once the forests had been depleted, other ways of life for the islanders necessarily changed as well. Reduced amount of porpoise bones after the forests were depleted showed that the Easter Islanders were unable to make boats and so unable to hunt their major protein source; the heavy deforestation of the island led to a collapse of all other aspects of the society and to the eventual destruction of its people.

Though this article carries strong evidence that the deforestation of Easter Island led directly to the collapse of the ecosystem and civilization there, it downplays the importance of the rats on the island. Their destruction of the palm seeds was instrumental in preventing future growth; though these rats were introduced by humans, this process and interaction was not understood or appreciated. There is no reason to assume that proper reforestation efforts and an eradication of the rat problem would not have forestalled or outright prevented the fall of this society. In short, this argument fails to take into account the same thing it accuses the Easter Islanders of overlooking, namely that everything is interconnected. The problem was not a fully human problem, but a rat problem as well.

Source Author: Pointing, Clive.

Source Title: "The Lesson of Easter Island," a Green history of the World

Synopsis:

This gives a much more detailed and broad description of the development of the Polynesian society on Easter Island, beginning with their arrival in the fifth century AD on what was already a largely barren landscape, with only thirty species of indigenous plants, no mammals, and only one type of lizard. In order to subsist on this island, the Polynesians cultivated sweet potatoes (one of the only crops they had already turned into an agricultural enterprise that would actually grow on the island) and raised chickens, one of the few animals that the Polynesians had domesticated. They also brought rats, which Pointing credits as a contributing force to the deforestation that eventually led to the downfall of Easter Island society and the degradation of the island as a whole.

It is essential to note the underlying cause of the deforestation in order to understand how this related to deep ecology and society. Pointing points out that sweet potato cultivation is not at all labor intensive, and this meant that the people of the island had a lot of extra time on their hands. They occupied themselves not only with building elaborate statues, but also in other activities that caused populations to grow quickly in the relatively small space of the island. This led to increased competition for space and what resources existed on the island, which led in turn to warfare. Though deforestation might have been the most direct observable cause, pure human boredom seems to lie at the actual root of the issue in Pointing's analysis. If life were harder, that is, it wouldn't have been so easily destroyed.

Source Author: Wikipedia (multiple authors/sources)

Source Title: "Environment of Hawaii."

Synopsis:

This entry details the current environmental position of the island state of Hawaii. Hawaii is home to forty percent of the nation's endangered species, as well as seventy-five percent of known extinctions in the nation. This process occurred even before Europeans (in the form of James Cook and his crew) arrived at the island in the late eighteenth century, although this has certainly sped up the process. Non-native plant species, especially, have been a cause of huge alterations to the ecosystem on Hawaii, leading directly to the extinction or endangerment of other plant and animal species. Animals introduced to the island, including creatures as small as ants, have also managed to wreak a large amount of destruction on the island. Much of this began occurring shortly after Cook's arrival on the island, and the processes have become uncontrollable today.

Legislation has been enacted to reduce carbon emissions from homes and energy production facilities, but as the air and water quality in the state are among the best in the nation according to this article, these measures cannot have a major effect… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Deep Ecology and Social Justice.  (2009, October 12).  Retrieved August 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/deep-ecology-social-justice/1050

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"Deep Ecology and Social Justice."  Essaytown.com.  October 12, 2009.  Accessed August 25, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/deep-ecology-social-justice/1050.