Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong

Taking stock of the pandemic response: building human resilience in civil services

Managing COVID-19 has placed huge demands on public and civil servants everywhere. Una O’Brien, leadership coach and former permanent secretary at the UK’s health department, explores what research tells us about strengthening personal and team resilience.

Research published earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) also highlighted the importance of tight bonds and networks in building resilience.

Every crisis elevates some buzzwords and for me “resilience” will forever be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The fragile systems of preparedness in many countries contrasted with the incredible determination of public and civil servants who have worked tirelessly to support their governments…

Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong

New research from Binghamton University, State University of New York suggests that the demographic collapse at the core of the Easter Island myth didn’t really happen.

For Rapa Nui, a big part of scholarly and popular discussion about the island has centered around this idea that there was a demographic collapse

You probably know this story, or a version of it: On Easter Island, the people cut down every tree, perhaps to make fields for agriculture or to erect giant statues to honor their clans. This foolish decision led to a catastrophic collapse, with only a few thousand remaining to witness the first European boats landing on their remote shores in 1722.

But did the demographic collapse at the core of the Easter Island myth really happen? The answer, according to new research by Binghamton University anthropologists Robert DiNapoli and Carl Lipo, is no.

Their research, “Approximate Bayesian Computation of radiocarbon and paleoenvironmental record shows population resilience on Rapa Nui (Easter Island),” was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. Co-authors include Enrico Crema of the University of Cambridge, Timothy Rieth of the International Archaeological Research Institute and Terry Hunt of the University of Arizona…

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