What really happened on Easter Island
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First version: Easter Island is a small 63-square-mile patch of land — more than a thousand miles from the next inhabited spot in the Pacific Ocean. In A.D. 1200 (or thereabouts), a small group of Polynesians — it might have been a single family — made their way there, settled in and began to farm. When they arrived, the place was covered with trees — as many as 16 million of them, some towering 100 feet high.
These settlers were farmers, practicing slash-and-burn agriculture, so they burned down woods, opened spaces, and began to multiply. Pretty soon the island had too many people, too few trees, and then, in only a few generations, no trees at all.
As Jared Diamond tells it in his best-selling book, , Easter Island is the “clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources.” Once tree clearing started, it didn’t stop until the whole forest was gone. Diamond called this self-destructive behavior “ecocide” and warned that Easter Island’s fate could one day be our own.
And that has become the lesson of Easter Island — that we don’t dare abuse the plants and animals around us, because if we do, we will, all of us, go down together.
And yet, puzzlingly, these same people had managed to carve enormous statues — almost a thousand of them, with giant, hollow-eyed, gaunt faces, some weighing 75 tons.
The Greens get painted as economic fringe dwellers but they have gone into the last two elections with:
1) Fully costed policies (which is more than what Labor and the Coalition claim)
2) An understanding that debt is not bad if your investing in the future. Businesses take on debt to increase productive capacity, the principle is no different for governments if the debt is an investment in our future (eg roads).
3) An understanding that you can’t keep spending and still have government programs that most Australians expect (higher education, a social security net etc) without raising taxes
4) The environment is integral to economic development (See my post discussing this).
Research beyond the catchy one liners before writing off the Greens as bad for the economy.
The Gonski reforms were the result of a one and half year study, the most comprehensive in 40 years, involving extensive consultation with leading educational and business experts. The Coalition went in pre-election stating that it would bring forward these reforms that would go far in resolving the inequities of the current educational funding system.
What has changed between now and then to warrant it being a shambles? Without the consultation of experts Pyne claims that the new model will be ‘flatter, simpler and fairer’. Yet the question Pyne has to ask is what is fairer than a system that is indifferent to what sector the school belongs to but rather only assigns resources according to needs. All kids, regardless of socioeconomic background. deserve a decent standard of education. When you even have two Coalition led states decrying the removal of Gonski reforms its time for Federal Coalition to rethink their policy backflip.