Every individual in the world uses an amount of space of planet earth.
How much, depends upon one's consumption.
By means of the Ecological Footprint it is possible
to render this space into an amount, expressed
in hectares. The space not only implies the land
needed to grow our food, the use of paper and
transport require space as well. All that is eaten,
worn and bought is produced somewhere and, thus,
needs to be transported. Meat and diary products
have a relatively
large contribution to the Ecological Footprint.
It is obvious that farming land, houses and roads
take up a lot of space. Energy consumption, however,
requires space too. This is calculated into the
amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) expelled.
For transferring CO2 into oxygen a
certain area of forest is needed, etc….
The share of planet earth that does not lead to damage,
so far, is about 1.7 hectares each person. People
in the West obviously have a larger Ecological
Footprint than the average world citizen, the
latter of which is 2.3 ha.
To allow each world citizen to consume as much as (s)he
wants, overconsumption must some way be compensated
to bring the total consumption back in balance
and to make sure that what the earth can bear
is not exceeded. We must also take care that there
will be a healthy planet earth left for feature
inhabitants. Thus, not only the polluter must
pay, but also those who consume too much. It would
even be better if people, who limit their consumption, are rewarded.
If we want to share the earth in a fair manner
we must cede those hectares, that do not belong
to us. People do not easily cut back on prosperity.
It doesn't have to be necessary, but freedom,
responsibility and setting
limits go together. A growth of conscious
and adapting lifestyles need not reduce prosperity.
Furthermore, a durable lifestyle is a matter of mental growth.
Overconsumption is immature and a moderate lifestyle can be a sign of mental maturity.
As yet, growth in prosperity results in an increase
of (energy) consumption and environmental problems.
In particular the climate suffers therefrom.
Can and should we share space?
From the book "Sharing Nature's Interest" by Nicky Chambers, Craig
Simmons and Mathis Wackernagel we show you table 4.1. There you can see how the size of
earth's population affects the remaining size
for all. Pleace notice that the share of planet
earth is calculated to be 1.6 ha with a population
of 6 billion which is slightly larger then the
current size of over 5 billion people.
In the calculations there is discriminated between
two situations: the first where biodiversity is
guaranteed maximally at 25% and the second, where
12% of planet earth is reserved for wild animals
Table 4.1. Average Per
Capita Earthshare based on Populations of
6 and 9.5 billion.