I struggle to describe myself as ‘anti-HS2’. I dislike being ‘anti’ anything, in the same way, I try to avoid using the word hate. It’s an unhelpful sentiment. If I say I’m anti-HS2, and it does get built, and one day I use it, what does that make me?
Instead, I will say I am HS2-disappointed. Disappointed because a big ‘yes’ to rail projects.
But not this one. Too much impact, not enough benefit. We need better rural rail links, integrated transport, better rail pricing. We haven’t even got a consistent system for taking bikes on trains!
I met a local resident profoundly affected by the works at Old Oak Common. Trying to get her voice heard. Her struggles are that of overwhelming HS2-disappointment- the list of broken assurances is astonishing.
The residents affected by HS2 works are real-life examples of the failings of our political system- where is the power? It’s not with the people.
Where is the justice? It’s not coming their way anytime soon.
Every two years, the ExCel Centre in East London hosts an international arms fair, called ‘Defence and Security International’. A chance to ‘showcase the best of British defence technology’, and learn how to ‘deal with the complexity of the future operating environment’.
The future environment will indeed be more complex. Climate crisis creates population displacement, conflict over resources, uncertainty and fear. We could be leading the world on solutions to this. Instead, we celebrate our weapons of war.
I celebrate the Green Party’s opposition to this. We believe in waging peace, not war.
I celebrate the brave protestors once again risking arrest. I celebrate the ones who said no.
The first week of September is Zero Waste Week. I first came across the idea of living a zero-waste lifestyle when I heard Bea Johnson talk about her experiences trying to run a zero-waste home. She expands on the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ to include ‘refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot’.
Refuse means stopping consumable items coming into your home (or business, or school) in the first place. So instead of using fewer straws, reusing them, or recycling them, work on saying ‘no thank you’. It makes sense for the little things in life, like straws, but as you expand it up it becomes ‘no thank you’ to fast fashion, to fast food and its packaging, and to excessive consumerism in general.
Rot is the principle that what waste we do inevitably generate we aim to eliminate in the greenest way possible, by returning it to the land
I am delighted that ‘moving towards a zero-waste society’ is a Green Party commitment.
For my home, I use zero waste week to review what goes in our landfill. This year I can see I need to work on the ‘no thank you’s for receipts, and I was disappointed to see plastic packaging from greetings cards. It will be reused and recycled cards from now on!
Next year I’ve decided to look at what goes into the recycling bin too. The increasing challenges of the recycling industry mean those first three Rs- refuse, reduce and reuse- are really the key to achieving anything close to zero waste.
I am opposed on many grounds to airport expansion in general, and at Heathrow specifically. There are many issues but I will highlight 3: – noise pollution- please see article in the British Medical Journal this week highlighting the health impacts of noise pollution. See: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5329.full; reference: BMJ 2019;366:l5329 . Current proposals fall far short of the WHO 2018 noise guidelines.
– air pollution- increased air traffic, ground vehicle traffic, and construction impact, in an area already breaching air pollution limits. We know from local experience with HS2 that assurances on construction are easily broken with massive impact on local communities. – climate emergency- we cannot simultaneously agree in Parliament that we have a climate emergency and expand an airport. We must act now to reduce our carbon emissions, and every element of this plan will increase them.