Candlelit Vigil for HS2 Protesters
A candlelit vigil was held on Saturday 6th February at the site of the HS2 protest at Euston Square Gardens. It was a show of solidarity and support for the brave and steadfast protestors in the tunnels under Euston Square gardens. They’re protesting against the unnecessary destruction of nature, at a time when we should be preserving green space and natural habitats, and the decision to spend over £100 billion on a wasteful project during a pandemic. This vast amount of money could be better spent on issues other than HS2 – where the 2 stands for: 2 destructive and 2 expensive!
The protest provided the opportunity for a vital show of unity and camaraderie amongst environmental, climate and activist groups. The candlelit vigil, held in a Covid secure way, was a beautiful show of solidarity in support of the courage and bravery of the young protestors in the tunnels willing to put their lives on the line for the greater good.
A Tribute to a dearly loved environmental activist
It was also a tribute to another dearly loved environmentalist and activist Iggy ‘Fox’ who tragically died a year ago, at the age of 25, from an unexplained heart attack. He dedicated his life to protecting the environment and fiercely opposing all who seek to destroy it. His death was a tragic loss for all who knew him. Many have said, if Fox was alive he would be with us in that tunnel. He is in the tunnel and in the hearts of the protestors.
Local Community Impact
There are many community groups whose homes and families are directly impacted by the construction, such as the communities in Camden who are being rehomed so their houses can be knocked down for HS2. Many have unacceptable levels of noise pollution and are faced with the destruction of their local green space – Euston Square Gardens – one of the last remaining public green spaces in Euston. This valuable community space will be demolished to make place for a temporary taxi rank. These green spaces are rare enough in the city and have been life-saving for families during lockdown. Community voices are just not being heard.
A 20th Century Project for the 21st Century
Medical professionals, scientists and teachers are protesting against the government’s reckless use of such an obscene amount of funding for HS2 at a time when the NHS is at breaking point, children are going hungry and jobs and businesses are being lost. There are also many environmental groups and climate activists who are protesting the annihilation of ancient woodlands, green spaces, habitats and wildlife. They are all too aware that the government, despite declaring a climate emergency, is prioritising a project that is not a solution but a bigger problem.
These groups are connected by the united message that the government is failing us. Our elected representatives should be prioritising health and wellbeing and doing whatever it takes to secure our children’s future. However, leaders continue to make empty promises, to lie, manipulate and profit from their mistakes and remain unaccountable for their choices. If we do nothing to stop them, we too are complicit.
One of the founders of the UK green movement Tom Burke, also an advisor to various governments, has called HS2 a “20th century project for the 21st century”. This project is already obsolete. The way we live and work has changed. If we take the environmental issues away for a moment, and ask two simple questions:
“Do we really need HS2? Is it a good use of over £100 billion?” The answer to both questions is a resounding NO!
We must be heard for our children, and for their children. We must be a voice for those who have no voice. We must act with truth, love, transparency, responsibility and accountability. We make the path by walking it. We need the government to listen, “We are the people, hear us”.
We leave you with the words of a truly remarkable man:
“While people are the source of the endless destruction we must put a stop to, they are also the key to reaching our goals.
So spark, shelter, and nurture the flame of passion until it roars. That energy, that power, can be harnessed to change the world. Perhaps we’ll reach this brave new world in a decade, perhaps we’ll still be moving towards that long after I’m dead.
But I know it doesn’t matter whether I’m here or gone. What matters is that we keep moving on until we get there. When the light leaves my eyes, and I pass on, do not weep for me, for I am not dead.
All that I ever was and ever will be lies in the flame of passion that consumed me. The same flame that burns in all those who believe in what I believed. I’ll not be dead until my dream is. I’ll not fade away until my vision does. I’ll not be gone until all my hopes are.”Iggy Fox