Jan J. Boersema

Jan J. Boersema is a biologist who gained a doctorate in theology and taught environmental studies at the University of Groningen, while acting as an adviser to the Dutch environment ministry. Since 2002 he has been a professor at the Free University in Amsterdam’s Institute for Environmental Studies and senior lecturer at Leiden University’s Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Faces of Easter Island

Faces of Easter Island

On the sustainability of a culture

(Atlas Contact, 2011, 352 pages)

In this book Jan Boersema puts paid to a stubborn myth hugely popular with the environmentalist movement. Easter Island, a remote speck in the vast Pacific Ocean, has acquired iconic significance as a horrifying example of what people can do to their natural environment and consequently to themselves. The inhabit­ants are said to have stripped their island of trees because of their culture’s runaway obsession with statues, condemning themselves to isolation, famine and war.

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