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2010年4月23日 (金)

環境大国の「整理」気質

Germany's passion for organization and links to the environment
環境大国の「整理」気質=外信部・篠田航一
 <エコ・エコ>
Up until this spring, I was living in Germany for about a year of language training. My 3-year-old daughter attended a local kindergarten, where teachers were adamant that children put toys back where they belong. This is, of course, behavior that should be expected of children. But the teachers are strict to the point of making us Japanese wonder, "Do they have to be that harsh?"
 この春まで約1年間、語学研修でドイツに滞在した。3歳の娘は現地で幼稚園に通ったが、遊んだおもちゃを元の場所に片付けないと、先生は徹底的にやり直しをさせる。確かに当然のマナーではあるが、日本的感覚からすれば「そこまで怒らなくても」というほど厳しい。

"Leave the disciplining of dogs and children to Germans," they laugh. I find their passion for organization extraordinary.
「犬と子供のしつけはドイツ人に任せろ」と彼らは笑うが、なるほど、整理整頓への情熱は並大抵ではない。

The textbooks that we foreign students used for German language study were eye-opening as well. Among chapters such as "Literature" and "Economics" was one allotted to "Environment," in which we spent quite a bit of time on the topic of sorting trash and recycling. In the "Travel" chapter, pages were dedicated to the packing and organizing of one's bags. As the textbook helped us foreign students to gain an understanding of the German temperament, it was far more interesting than reading fiction or other texts. Obviously, these national traits are what lie at the foundation of this major environmental leader.
 ドイツ語の授業で使う留学生用テキストも興味深かった。「文学」「経済」など各章のテーマの中で、「環境」ではゴミの分別の説明に時間をかける。「旅行」では、バッグへの荷物の詰め方、整理の仕方にまでページが割かれる。留学生にとってはむしろドイツ人気質がよく分かるので、文学などより面白い。「環境大国」の根底に、この国民性があるのは確かだろう。

However, from the 1950s to 60s, during Germany's period of rapid economic development, Germany, like Japan, struggled with air pollution and other deteriorating environmental conditions. Older Germans who remember that time say that the Rhine River was like a sewage canal. Subsequently, the national government implemented various conservation measures, which eventually led to the famous 2002 legislation to abandon nuclear power generation.
 とはいえ、彼らも1950~60年代の高度成長期には日本同様、大気汚染など環境悪化に悩んでいた。当時を知るお年寄りは「ライン川もどぶ川だった」と振り返る。その後、国を挙げての対策が進み、02年には有名な「脱原発」まで法制化した。

Circumstances are changing, however. As global warming has emerged as one of the world's most important issues, nuclear power generation is once again gaining attention as a method of power generation that does not emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. This development was a point of contention in the German federal election that I witnessed during my stay there. Ultimately, the center-right party calling for the continued operation of nuclear power plants came out victorious.
 だが状況は変わりつつある。地球温暖化が課題の今、発電の際に温室効果ガスの二酸化炭素を排出しない原発に再び注目が集まってきた。留学中に垣間見た昨年のドイツ総選挙では、この問題が争点に浮上。結局、原発運転延長を唱える中道右派が勝利した。

During the election campaign, abandonment of nuclear power stations was debated daily, and a large number of books on the subject were seen in bookstores. From skimming those books, I realized that this leading environmental nation was also torn. That much, I got.
 選挙期間中、脱原発は連日議論され、書店にも関連本が並んだ。一通り手に取ってみたが、環境大国も相当悩んでいる。それがよく分かった。

As I was about to leave the bookstore, a shop attendant stopped me: "Please put the books back where you found them."
 と思って書店を出ようとした時、店員に声をかけられた。「読んだ本は、元の場所に戻してください」

(By Koichi Shinoda, Foreign News Department)
(Mainichi Japan) April 23, 2010
毎日新聞 2010年4月23日 東京朝刊

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