I'm one of those old fashioned environmentalists, who likes trees and wildlife. So it always makes me sad and angry when the natural world is sacrificed for the sake of initiatives to cut carbon emissions (not that I don't think cutting emissions is necessary!). Particularly when the carbon cutting may not end up being as significant as the projects lead us to believe.
Edinburgh is a green city, but is rapidly losing a lot of trees (for example a lot were lost in the last two hard winters, recent winds have felled several and many are being cut down for the Water of Leith Flood Prevention Works, which you can read about in my blog posts here, here and here. Some of the trees along the river have been saved, but many have been lost. Two trees will be planted for every tree removed.)
So I was particularly shocked to read this article in the Herald newspaper, which states that over 3 300 trees will be cut down to make way for the Edinburgh trams. Construction work for the trams has already caused chaos in Edinburgh. Leaving aside that the trams will serve a very restricted route that is already well served by buses and that bus services elsewhere will probably end up being reduced. Trees have already started disappearing without warning. These are mature trees and their loss will be really felt by residents of Edinburgh, both humans and birds. Again there is a promise that all trees will be replaced, but given how long the whole tram fiasco has been going on already, who knows when that might happen?
On the national level, the High Speed rail link between London and Birmingham has been given the go-ahead, though it won't be taking passengers for at least another 14 years. This is touted to reduce carbon emissions, but perhaps not by as much as the Government would have us believe. The controversy about the route is that it will devastate large areas of natural beauty and probably 21 areas of ancient woodland.
Surely it cannot be right that we destroy the natural world to reduce our carbon footprint? It's misguided anyway, as trees soak up carbon emissions!
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