Tuesday 17 January 2012

Green Transport vs the trees

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!

As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.


Dartford Warbler said...

The trees are always the victims of man-made vanity projects like these. Awful that so many mature trees will be felled for the Edinburgh Tram extension. I heard a radio documentary about this recently. It sounds a fiasco!

As for the HS2 railway...... I hope they are going to build as many tunnels as possible. Have "They" considered the environmental loss of desecrating ancient woodland for the sake of a shorter journey to Birmingham? It doesn`t bear thinking of.

Gillena Cox said...

Thank you for caring and also sharing with us

much love...

Titus said...

I didn't know about the tree loss with the tram project - so many! Shameful really, especially when it smacks of one great big vanity project for the city, plus the endless delays and spiralling costs.

I'm still in many minds about the HS2 - I do think rail is better than road, and the UK is going to need improved rail infrastructure if we're going to try and reduce car journeys. Don't truly know enough to comment on the route, or why they can't add more rail lines close to existing ones.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Warbler - yes, I agree, woodland and trees are so undervalued in these projects.

Gillena - thanks

Titus - oh I always travel by train when i can, but I do think this project is misguided and poorly thought out

bunnits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bunnits said...

It is a pity that so many trees have to go, especially mature ones. Their role in the natural reduction of carbon in the atmosphere and also their place in the water cycle is overlooked in the name of technological improvement. At least there is the replacement effort. I do believe we get caught up in a sort of technology-is-superior-to-nature mindset as well.

While I am certainly in favor of reducing emissions, some of the "solutions" are themselves often at least partially dependent upon carbon-based fuel somewhere in the process, which makes one question the overall effectiveness. Perhaps the best outcome will be to further public awareness of carbon reduction and increased efforts at same. However, with projects such as this one, I always have to wonder at the degree of political and financial gain that motivates it. As Abraham Lincoln (or P.T. Barnum) said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Carol Steel said...

I felt ill when I read about the proposal to cut so many ancient trees. Such faulty logic and short sighted planning. What the hell? Such asses!

shoreacres said...

We have such a fiasco happening in Houston now. A new light-rail line was constructed with much publicity and hoopla. In fact, it runs from a sports stadium to downtown, primarily aiding those who own expensive properties in those areas. It does nothing to reduce the terrible commute traffic going every direction twice a day. Many people I know who live in the suburbs spend two hours each day going to and from their work.

Beyond that, there's no question that there are people getting rich off the global warming business. Trading carbon credits is a money-making before it is anything else.
I'm as concerned as I can be about what's happening with the environment, but I can't help but be cynical about "environmentalists" who construct new 9,000 square foot homes and regularly travel by private jet.

Oh, I mustn't be so grumpy! It's just that when these trees are cut, they're gone!

RG said...

Plant, Plant, Plant ....

Now Juliet ... please do not take up roosting in a tree or chaining yourself to a tree in protest. Leave that to the very young set.

Instead write poetry about it and read it at those functions that will have you.

(And I thought the shenaigans in Seattle about that stuff were something!)

Cuby said...

I absolutely agree with you about the felling of so many trees to make way for a carbon saving extravagance. Some rather twisted logic has come into play there. Felling of trees seems unforgivable at any time.

fadrickvagat said...

Indeed the scope of green transport cannot be limited to electric vehicles & hybrid cars alone.

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