Blood, Tears, And Train Tracks: The Case Against High-Speed Rail 2

Illustrated by Bite My Cheesecake

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two decades, you’re probably aware that humanity is in a period of environmental crisis. With only a decade left to reverse the catastrophic effects of climate change, the race is on to save our planet from imminent disaster. Despite this impending ultimatum, it seems our elected leaders are much more concerned about their own egos than they are about proposing any forms of preventative measures. Political populism is driving a new wave of ignorance during this climate emergency, and its harmful consequences are being demonstrated right here in England in the form of a £100 billion railway project.

I currently live in Bristol so you're probably asking why I’ve been so compelled to protest something hundreds of miles away from me in the first place. I first heard about HS2 on a BBC News report, when activists at a tree camp in Euston showed the camera crews around a thirty-meter makeshift tunnel codenamed: “Kelvin”. My interest was immediately piqued, and I was intrigued to find out more about why these protesters went to such lengths to oppose this railway. Naturally, I turned to the internet for answers. Within a matter of minutes, I would learn of the destruction that HS2 had planned to cause - and of the irreversible damage that it had already done.

Two months on, and I now find myself engaged in a war against this catastrophic infrastructure project and the crooks behind it. Amid the destruction and violence, HS2 has managed to curate a positive public image in order to keep the public too apathetic to resist. HS2 has a criminally false “eco-friendly” façade, stating it will reduce the effects of climate change in various ways, whilst simultaneously destroying ancient woodland and allegedly polluting the water supply of 3.2 million Londoners.

HS2 Ltd. is the company responsible for the construction of the railway itself, and they are criminals - I’m not even exaggerating! In October, HS2 Ltd. Began to perform illegal tree clearance works after an independent report by ecologists concluded that the specific area of land they planned to work on (a nature reserve in Buckinghamshire) contained a rare species of bat. They proceeded to destroy 20 hectares of protected forest anyway.

As for the tactics employed by private security at the various HS2 construction sites: violence, bullying and harassment are all common occurrences. One anti-HS2 activist told me that she had her “neck knelt on” and her arm pinned so hard against her back that she “thought it would break” during evictions at the Denham Woods protection camp, when she was only 17 years old.

Whilst the current Conservative government remains in office, the construction of HS2 will be ruthlessly pushed by any means necessary. Therefore, it is our duty to mobilize and delay its construction by any means necessary. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously boasted that the UK is on track to “reach a net-zero emissions target by 2050.” However, by constructing HS2, this target is made virtually impossible, as even HS2 Ltd. themselves have even admitted that the project will never be carbon neutral in its lifetime.

The reason Generation-Z is so compelled to fight for our environment is because we are the final generation able to do so and apparently the only generation willing to do so as well. We simply cannot allow this project to continue. Public support for HS2 is now falling, but the construction of it is still supported by every major party in Westminster, a shocking reminder that our politicians are still ignorant to the demands of the people. Lie after lie is being pedaled to us by politicians and investors in order to silence any opposition to its construction.

It is time to make up our own minds and put a stop to HS2 once and for all.

Article by Fin Deane