In this piece, Aimee Wild describes a current “development” project in the UK, the creation of a new high speed railway line, and the resulting destruction of areas of wild nature.
By Aimee Wild
A few days ago I drove to visit a loved one.
Just me and my dog. It is a warm sunny day and the motorway is closed. We are sent on a ridiculously long diversion, for miles and miles I drive slowly. I am driving with no radio on, absorbing the heat and enjoying being close to my dog. I am thinking about my daughter and my heart is open, ready to see her after several weeks.
I notice huge areas of the land where there used to be trees and bushes. The edges of woodland show me their nakedness. Trees exposed where once their kin had sheltered them. As I crawl further along the road, I start to feel fear emanating from the area. I do not know where I am. A little further along and I can see larger areas, recently cleared of trees. I feel a deeper sense of trauma. I trust this feeling and I keep my senses open. It is emotionally painful to be aware of the distress.
There is 10’ metal, security fencing and men in hard hats and high visibility clothes.
There are cranes, drills, industrial sized machinery, and vehicles parked in a secure space. There are trees howling adjacent to wounds on the land. I know where I am. I am driving through Denham, Buckinghamshire in the UK. This area is home to ancient woodland, huge amounts of wildlife, birds, mammals, endangered species, and areas of outstanding natural beauty. It is also home to the development of a high speed railway (HS2). A train that will allow travelers to get into the capitol city 20 minutes quicker than an ordinary train.
Several well-respected charities in the UK have spoken out against the harm caused by this development. Nobody has listened. I wonder if it is too painful to connect to the idea of being responsible for this level of distress. Responsible for the destruction of our natural world. I wonder what level of insanity it takes to destroy the very earth that sustains our life just to hasten arrival into a city.
I have friends in the protest camps.
I know men, women and children who have traveled miles, on foot, by car and horse to reach the area. People are refusing to be silent even though the UK courts are trying to prevent protests. I look from left to right as I drive slowly along the road. I cannot shift the image of the trees from my mind. They are left standing next to the heavy machinery that destroyed their kin. I wonder if the mycelium network is sending out warnings.
I know there are young people camped in trees to protect them from being harmed. The protesters are trying courageously to protect life. The destruction continues. The development contracts have been signed. There is no backing out for government and big business now, it’s profit, greed and speed over the health and survival of life on earth.
Aimee Wild is an educator, activist and DGR Guardian in the UK.
There are suggestions of how you can help resist the destruction here: stophs2.org. Featured image by unknown photographer.