High Speed 2 Far – £50,000,000,000 too far.

As a preface to this blog, let me state that I love traveling by trains and think that Eurostar, and the European high speed networks are brilliant. HS2 (High Speed 2) is a high speed rail project that was dreamed up by the Labour party when in power and taken on with full enthusiasm by the Tory/Lib Dem current government. It is to run from London Euston to Birmingham, then in phase 2 continue to the northern cities. Since its inception, the estimated cost has risen

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Most of us are addicts…..

I read in the New York Times that people in the States (Land Of The Free, subject to terms and conditions and having money) are having to think twice about knocking down the old house and building a brand new one when they move, and of students brewing their own coffee rather than buying a moccachino in the cafe, or using library books instead of buying them. Good! Even if it’s only temporary. To each of us, having more money, more freedom, more choice is a

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Genetically Modified (GM) Foods Are An Unnecessary Evil

Yesterday I walked for about a mile through grassy fields, about half of them overgrown with grasses, nettles and other vagrant species. This was not in the middle of nowhere, but in prime Buckinghamshire farmland: some of the most fertile and longest farmed in England. These fields were completely vacant – no livestock, and certainly no crops. Were these fields to be left alone, apart from mowing, for long enough, they could become meadows, rich in wildflowers, with nesting places for skylarks and other birds, and

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Global Warming is not the problem….

I was sent an article from which the following is an extract: from Population and Development Review, Vol. 20, no. 1 (March 1994) Action is needed now Humanity is approaching a crisis point with respect to the interlocking issues of population, environment, and development. With each year’s delay the problems become more acute. Let 1994 be remembered as the year when the people of the world decided to act together for the benefit of future generations.” Well, that was 1994 and the same lack of action

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Too many people: an idyll changes to nightmare.

We visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford yesterday to see what it is like having been substantially rebuilt over past few years. It is now a modern and fascinating museum inside it’s lovely old Cotswold stone shell and well worth a visit. Entry is free too! We focused on the modern and nineteenth century paintings on the 3rd floor on this occasion, which include a couple of rooms of Pre-Raphaelite works. One is a panoramic view from a hill over Jerusalem painted at the end of

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Environment? What Environment?

Last night I went to a local Transition meeting: Transition is a network of local groups seeking to improve their communities environmental performance and awareness. It is a grass-roots movement that seeks to build momentum based on community interest and involvement and I am trying to do just that in my village. There were five people at a meeting that was intended to attract a crowd of locals and it was all quite depressing. The same is true of my village project: some people express an

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Canute The Optimist?

I’m not sure that King Canute was being an optimist when he commanded the tide not to rise and dampen his feet: in fact, he was being a pessimist and proving to his people that he was not infallible, and that the tide would not obey his command. He has become legendary because of that bit of wisdom. We could do with that wisdom today: to know the limits our power and when to exercise our optimism. We complain about immigration, and our legislators bulldoze half-empty

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Gaia and The Greens

The originator of the Gaia theory says that environmentalists must stop ignoring population growth as a core issue in tackling our environmental problems. Population growth is bound to increase our damaging impacts but tackling our individual environmental footprints is easier and has a quicker effect than tackling population growth: both are needed, starting with ourselves.

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