La Tierra alcanza

COPENHAGUE – Según el saber convencional, estamos utilizando vorazmente los recursos del mundo y vivimos más allá de las posibilidades de la Tierra. Esta narrativa de decadencia y pesimismo es subyacente a gran parte del discurso ambientalista actual, y se la suele formular de manera simple: para 2030, necesitaremos dos planetas que nos sustenten, debido a los niveles de vida más altos y al crecimiento de la población. Si todos vivieran de acuerdo con los niveles de vida norteamericanos de hoy, necesitaríamos casi cinco planetas. Pero esta creencia popular es básicamente errónea.

Los ambientalistas utilizan la llamada "huella ecológica" -qué superficie requiere cada uno de nosotros del planeta- para defender su postura. Obviamente, utilizamos tierra para cultivos, tierra para pastoreo, bosques y zonas de pesca para producir nuestra comida, fibra y madera, y necesitamos espacio para nuestras casas, caminos y ciudades. Es más, necesitamos áreas para absorber los desechos emitidos por nuestro consumo de energía. Traducir todas estas demandas en una unidad común de superficie física nos brinda la oportunidad de compararla con la superficie productiva de la Tierra -y, por ende, tener una sensación de cuán sustentables somos.

Durante más de una década, el Fondo Mundial para la Vida Silvestre (WWF, tal su sigla en inglés) y varias otras organizaciones para la conservación ambiental han realizado cálculos complicados para determinar las "huellas ecológicas" individuales en el planeta. Sus números demuestran que cada norteamericano utiliza 9,4 hectáreas del planeta; cada europeo, 4,7 hectáreas, y quienes viven en países de bajos ingresos, apenas una hectárea. En conjunto, colectivamente utilizamos 17.500 millones de hectáreas.

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