Une seule Terre suffit !

COPENHAGUE – Selon le point de vue dominant, du fait de notre mode de vie, nous consommons beaucoup trop par rapport aux ressources de la Terre. Le discours du déclin et le pessimisme sous-tendent l'essentiel du discours environnementaliste actuel, et il s'exprime souvent de manière simple : compte tenu d'un niveau de vie de plus en plus élevé et de la croissance démographique, en 2030 il nous faudra deux planètes pour répondre à nos besoins. Et pour que tout le monde ait le niveau de vie américain, c'est presque cinq planètes qu'il nous faudrait.

Mais ce point de vue est fondamentalement erroné. Pour le justifier, les écologistes utilisent ce que l'on appelle "l'empreinte écologique" – la surface bioproductive dont chacun a besoin sur Terre. Evidemment, nous utilisons des terres agricoles, des pâturages, des forêts et des zones de pêche pour produire l'alimentation et le bois dont nous avons besoin. Il nous faut de l'espace pour nos maisons, nos routes et nos villes, ainsi que de l'espace pour absorber les déchets issus de notre consommation d'énergie. Traduire tout cela en surface permet une comparaison avec la surface de la planète et sert à évaluer dans quelle mesure notre mode de consommation peut être maintenu à long terme.

Depuis plus d'une décennie, le WWF (World Wildlife Fund) et certains écologistes ont réalisé des calculs compliqués pour déterminer les "empreintes" individuelles sur la planète. Ainsi, selon eux, chaque Américain utilise 9,4 hectares de la surface du globe, un Européen 4,7 hectares et l'habitant d'un pays pauvre, seulement un hectare. Au total nous occupons collectivement 17,5 milliards d'hectares.

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