歴史に学ぶ

江戸は環境循環型社会

太陽の恵みと植物を利用して、ほぼすべての物資とエネルギーを賄っていた江戸時代。当時は、衣食住のあらゆる場面でリサイクル・リユースが行われる完全な循環型社会だった。その後、大量消費社会が発展し、循環型社会は損なわれ、我々は環境問題に直面してしまった。環境問題を乗り越え、新しい形の循環型社会を構築するた めに、我々はもう一度江戸の暮らしに学ぶ必要があるのではないだろうか。

今でこそ、石油のない社会システムは考えられないが、150年程前の江戸時代は石油などの化石燃焼を使用しないながら、人口100~125万人を擁する世界最大の都市だった。都市問題(ヒートアイランド現象・交通渋滞・ゴミの増大・騒音)と言われるように、人口集積地は便利な反面、様々な問題がおきている。循環型社会といわれる江戸に、現代の環境問題解決の糸口を探ってみたい。

江戸の人々が鎖国という制約の中から、様々な知恵や工夫を生み出し循環型社会が実現したように、資源を制約することが現代社会を変える起爆剤になるのかもしれません。

 

<江戸のリユース>

  • 鋳掛け(金属製品の修理専門業者)

古い鍋や釜などの底に穴が開いて使えなくなったものを修理して、使えるようにします。穴の開いた部分に別の金属板を貼付けたり、折れた部分を溶接する特殊な技術を持っていた。

  • 瀬戸物の焼き接ぎ

割れてしまった陶磁器を、白玉粉で接着してから加熱する焼き接ぎで修理する専門職人。

  • 箍屋(たがや)

40-50年ほどまえまでは、液体を入れる容器は木製の桶や樽が普通でした。桶や樽は、木の板を竹で作った輪で円筒形に堅く締めて作ってあり、この箍が古くなって折れたりゆるんだりすると、新しい竹で締め直してくれた。

  • 古樽買い

液体容器として主に使われていた樽の中身がなくなると、古樽を専門に買い集める業者が買って、空樽専門の問屋へ持っていった。いまでも日本では、ビールびんや清酒の一升びんはしっかりした民間の回収ルートがあって、高い回収・リサイクル率を誇っていますが、その仕事をしているびん商の祖先は、この空樽問屋だった人も多いそうです。

<江戸のリサイクル>

  • 紙屑買い・紙屑拾い

不要になった帳簿などの製紙品を買い取り、仕分けをし、漉き返す業者に販売していました。当時の和紙は、10mm以上もの長い植物繊維でできていたので、漉き返しがしやすく、各種の古紙を集めてブレンドし、ちり紙から印刷用紙まで、さまざまな再生紙に漉き返すことができたそうです。

  • 取っけえべえ

「取っけえべえ、取っけえべえ」と歌いながら歩く子ども相手の行商人で、子どもが遊びながら拾い集めた古釘などを簡単なオモチャや飴などと交換し、古い金属製品などを集めた。

  • 打ち水・風の道

夏の風物詩として、夕方になると打ち水をし、縁台を出して涼をとる人々の姿があちらこちらで見られた。また、家には大きな開口部を設けて、風の道をつくる設計がなされていた。日射による熱を防ぎながら風だけを通す簾(すだれ)やよしずも生活必需品として利用されていた。

  • 着物の智恵

着物は着付けの仕方によって調節できるし、すべてが直線縫いのため容易に仕立て直すことができる。それゆえに背が伸びても、恰幅がよくなっても、一着の着物で賄える。子どものいる家では、最初に大きく着物を仕立て、腰や肩の部分を縫い上げておくのが普通だった。こうしておけば、成長したとき縫い上げた部分をほどいて長くするだけでいい。

 

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