Watching Republicans participate in a Climate change hearing is like watching scientists attempt to explain thermodynamics to a troop of bonobo monkeys – who also happen to be religious fanatics on the Koch Brother’s payroll.
It’s a national embarrassment that would be funny except when you remember that we spent more money on extreme weather cleanup last year than on schools or roads.
Even with the consequences of climate change staring us in the face, the typical Republican response is denial and call for more drilling, especially including the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. They’re like the Rapa Nui Priests of Easter Island calling for more Moai statues to be built to undo the ecological collapse caused by the building of the Moai statues.
In case you are not familiar with that tale, here’s the brief synopsis paraphrased from the Independent UK:
…Easter Island was once a lush, sub-tropical paradise covered in thick forest filled with a rich assortment of wildlife. But the trees and forest animals were long gone by the time Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch seaman who gave the island its name when he spotted it on Easter Day in 1722, had arrived. The question is why?
In his 2005 book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, author Jared Diamond explains why it was the islanders’ fault. Diamond says they started to build bigger and bigger ceremonial statues (Moai) in an atmosphere of competitive rivalry between the island’s many different clans. To move the statues from the island’s quarry, Rano Raraku, in the south-east, the islanders needed to cut large logs for the construction of long “canoe ladders” to carry the massive carvings to the island’s coast. They also needed heavy ropes made from the fibrous bark of the bigger palms.
“The overall picture for Easter Island is the most extreme example of forest destruction in the Pacific, and among the most extreme in the world: the whole forest gone, and all of its tree species extinct,” says Diamond.
As a result of the deforestation, food production fell dramatically as crops became exposed to the harsh winds and semi-arid conditions of the region. Consequently the population collapsed from perhaps as many as 15,000 at its peak to the few thousand that were eking out a living by the time Roggeveen arrived.
Smallpox and slavery killed off most of the people that remained, but the islanders were on the way to total collapse even without any contact with Europeans, says Diamond.
Read the whole article here.
Like Easter Island, Earth has limited resources and her population has nowhere to go. What are the lessons for today? To normal people the lessons are, “Hey! Can we not ‘drill baby drill’ like the Rapa Nui priests ‘built baby built?'”
But Republicans like John Shimkus of the Energy and Commerce Committee assure us, “the Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over.”
Which is probably what the Rapa Nui priests were saying as they were cutting down that last tree.
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