On This Day in Oil & Gas: April 5th - Easter Island

April 5th, 1722 – Tasked by the East India Company with finding Terra Australis, - the hypothetical Southern continent - Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen and his crew land on Rapa Nui, a windswept island with a population of 3,387. 887 of which were moai - giant stone heads.

Roggeveen would name the island "Paasch-Eyland" or Easter Island as it was Easter Sunday when they made landfall.

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So why is this UNESCO World Heritage Site pertinent to oil and gas? The Easter Islanders transported their 50 tonne moai using huge wooden sledges. That, combined with using wood for dwellings led to deforestation, which in turn led to inability to create wooden catamarans to fish from.

The ecosystem imploded and a population of 15,000 became 3,000 in less than a century. Easter Island serves as a case study for what happens when depletion of a natural resource goes too far and you fail to diversify, something we should all have in mind in an era of growing resource scarcity.

PS. Get the lowdown on the Easter Island collapse here


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