東大過去問 2014年 第1問(要約)

/ 2月 24, 2020/ 東大過去問, 第1問(要約), 過去問/ 1 comments



I live in a nice old apartment building in Edinburgh: several floors of individual flats, all connected by an internal staircase made by sandstone. The building is at least a century old, and nowadays each of those sandstone step is looking a little worn.
This wear is the result of a century of people walking up ane down from their flats. As they have left for and returned from work, as they have gone out to the shops or for dinner, many times a day the feet of the people living here have fallen upon each stair.
As every geologist knows, even a small force, repeated over a large enough stretch of time, can add up to some very large effects indeed. A century of footsteps is quite a lot. If each of thirty-five residents travelled up ane down the staircase four times a day on average, then each step has been struck by at least ten million feet since it was laid down.
When I climb this staircase to my flat, I enjoy the daily reminder that humans are a geological force. If ten million people were all sent up this staircase one by one, it would take less than eight months for their feet to wear away a centimeter of sandstone.
And then, consider that ten million people is but a small fraction of the seven billion people currently in the world. If you could somehow use the feet of all of those people at once, then you could grind meters of rock away in a few moments. A few more repetitions and you’d have an impressive hole. Keep going for a few hours, and you could produce a new valley.
This might seem like a rather unrealistic thought experiment, but it does highlight, in a rather literal way, the idea of a carbon footprint, which is a measure of the environmental impact of human actions. When it comes to our carbon footprints, the entire planet is the staircase. Our individual contribution ー the energy we consume, the waste we produce ー may seem insignificant, hardly something that is going to affect the planet. But when you multiply by seven billion, the small environmental impact of any one person becomes a very weighty footstep indeed. It’s not surprising that Earth is as worn down as my old staircase.









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  1. アパートの砂岩製の階段が、住民の百年間の使用ですり減ったように、二酸化炭素排出量は、個人単位ではたいした事はなくても、七十億人分になると地球にとって大きな負担となる。83字

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