Should High-Speed Rail Route Move to Save One Tree?

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While the prospect of high-speed rail being taken seriously in the US gets many folks excited, these schemes aren't without their detractors—even within the environmental community. George Monbiot's book Heat famously panned high-speed rail for the emissions involved, and most new projects also face opposition from local NIMBY groups and conservationists. Just such a battle is heating up in the UK, where campaigners are calling for the new London-to-Midlands high-speed rail link to be rerouted to save one "champion" wild pear tree that could be 250 years old. On the one hand, it's tempting to argue that you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. On the other hand, if we're fighting to protect our environment, it might be a nice idea not to trash it in the process. And, as one conservationist put it when he questioned the validity of the whole scheme, "Is cutting the time of a journey to London by 15 minutes really worth it?"

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