Restore Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui?

Easter Island is a fragile land, beautiful and unique in human history. It stands like an undefeated castle, a stoic fortress in the relentless rush of breaking waves.

We know what probably comes to mind when you think of the words “Easter Island”: giant stone heads, sparse population, or some combination of the two. Well, we want to broad your perspective a little with some facts. Like, did you know that locals call the island Rapa Nui? And those stone heads are called Moai! Pretty cool, if you ask us.

And just one more tidbit: Rapa Nui is seen universally as the world’s metaphor for ecological recovery, and if we don’t act fast to save its ecosystems, the rest of the planet could become just as barren as the island. Oh.

🌳 0

trees planted in the next 6 years

Over the years, erosion and deforestation contributed to major ecological damage of the island. This in turn had social implications, as the population of Easter Island fell from 10,000 at its peak to only 110.

Rain falls, trees soak it up, and everyone wins.

But with no trees around?

The tropical rains carry the red soils of the Island over the cliffs, flushing them down onto the reefs below.

  • the rain and soil attack the fragile rocks engraved with precious petroglyphs, last testimonies of a vanished civilisation.
  • they create a shroud of mud over the reefs, killing fish and coral, which puts marine life at risk and creates scarcity for fishermen.

This phenomenon is called siltation.

Siltation refers to the addition of silt (dirt basically) into the ocean. Dirt that flows into the ocean can end up settling on delicate coral reefs; and if there’s too much, the dirt can suffocate and kill the corals.

Moreover, runoff into the ocean can lead to algae blooms. These blooms can compete with coral growth inhibiting the biodiversity of coral reefs.

And coral reefs are kind of a big deal, providing a habitat for thousands of different species necessary to the survival of the planet.

Jacques Cousteau knew this when he visited Rapa Nui in 1976 for six months to study its habitat, and was moved by the barrenness of this once-fruitful island, and could see the dangers forming below the seas. That’s why we at The Cousteau Society care, and that’s why YOU should care as well.

What’s the Cousteau Society’s plan?

Our plan is to spearhead a worldwide movement of reforestation with a base in the center of Rapa Nui. 

This 6 year program of The Cousteau Society has been approved by the Chilean Government, and it is financed solely by donations to The Cousteau Society. The program will be carried out in collaboration with the specialized engineers of the Department of Forestry (C.O.N.A.F) for the plantings, and with the local authorities of Rapa Nui to facilitate the Training and Education programs.

The Cousteau Society will focus on working with local community groups and schools with help from teams of international volunteers to reform the Poike Peninsula, recognized as one of the most eroded and degraded areas of the island.

Along with the planting of 1,400,000 trees, The Cousteau Society has prepared an environmental education program for children and a training program for adults so they learn how to best care for their land.

Buying trees for The Cousteau Society program in Rapa Nui will allow us to demonstrate that what we can do “for the small island in the middle of the big Ocean,” we can do for “the little planet Earth in the middle of the big Universe.”

Please help us fulfill Cousteau’s vision of a Rapa Nui that’s once again teeming with life.

More Programs



Cousteau Divers

Mission Red sea

Saving and protecting marine life for present and future generations since 1973