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On HS2

They talk about HS2 serving the North, but it seems apparent that the North stops at Manchester or, stretching it, to Leeds. What happened to Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and of course our Scottish friends? We have been missed out of the equation.

Why would we want to sacrifice all that land to get to London from the North East about 15 minutes earlier? We are not in that big a hurry. Why don’t they use their clever technology to produce first class trains and first class services on our existing tracks? Just think of the times when trains have to run slow because of leaves or debris on the line, how will that impact our new 250mph trains? It’s bad enough hitting a few tree branches on the line at over 100mph.

As a nation we are falling behind other nations. Have they considered the extra maintenance these new trains will need? It is bad enough keeping the present rolling stock to maintain the speed they do in a safe and efficient way. All this additional work will cost the people of this country dearly, only to appease a few fat cats who want to get to work a few minutes earlier. If it’s that important to them, they can simply live closer to their work and not have to travel in the first place.

Jack Jordan, The North

Re. Help Earthworms Thrive (issue 2, page 5)

The final paragraph of Rhys Handley’s article mentions ‘natural capital’. The term has real meaning. ‘Natural Capital’* refers to the process whereby profit is made from trying to right the problems of previous exploitation in the natural world. Significantly, in the case of worms, land is used for massive factories by agribusinesses, which means that they cannot thrive in their natural environment.

We need the worms and all the other bugs that are there to create a liveable diverse world. Not a world where more profit is squeezed from the land contributing to the worms destruction by ‘Natural Capital’.

Alan Watts, Haringey

*See: ‘System Change Not Climate Change.’ Natural Capital: A Neoliberal Response. Ian Rappel Ch. 5

Big business needs reigning in

I recently read your great free paper The Hourglass. It’s very thought provoking. I have been doing the best I can over the years to help the environment. I have been involved at one point with Friends of the Earth, and when I was in my 20s, I went on a couple of whale marches with Greenpeace. I recycle as much as I can at home, our council in Cheshire being very good with recycling. I read (with disgust) that Donald Trump is going to take away the laws preventing big business in the US polluting the environment.

I have learned over time that it is pointless trying to get sympathy for the ecosystem and the dire straits that the whole planet faces from big business moguls. The only way to get the message across to them is in the only language that they understand. They need to be told that unless they change policies (that should have been changed decades ago), the big bucks that they are so greedy to make, will be of no use to them. It’s not only other ordinary people the world over that will bear the brunt of their deplorable, selfish actions, they will too!

Everyone the world over, from the person in the street to global organisations and businesses, need to work together to tackle this emergency while there is still time. However, it’s very encouraging, on a brighter note, that a lot of ordinary people the world over are coming together to demand change. Carry on with your excellent work.

Jill Pears, North West

Re. Industries Adapt to Address the Crisis

Thank you for highlighting the problem with fast fashion clothing and accessories.

From working in the slow-fashion industry, I can tell you that there are quite a few clothing brands who design and produce slow fashion, also called eco-fashion, responsibly. If Hourglass readers need to buy new clothes, I recommend doing a bit research first and don’t be shy asking questions before you buy:

– Look for organic cotton. Ask or look out for certification

– Check the material. Natural fibres last much longer and are healthier to our skin and are biodegradable. Due to the better
and sustainable quality they will be more expensive. It will pay off though, because the garments will last you for many years.

– Check the dyes. Make sure that any dyes used are environmentally-friendly

– Assess the packaging. Many eco-fashion brands use plastic-free packaging

Irena, Launceston

Re. Paul Scholes’s letter (issue 5)

On the letters page of issue 5 Paul Scholes says that we must work alongside people of all political persuasions to save our planet, which I agree with. However in reality only a progressive positive left wing society can solve our problems. Before the capitalist system replaced former organisation there were no such problems. The greed which is the basis of a capitalist society has caused this situation to develop. Only a well organised left wing society is capable of solving it.

Kenneth Louis Shepherd, Essex

We need a green alliance

I am reminded of events in the early noughties following the Iraq war. There was at that time an attempt to bring together the divided left – it was called the socialist alliance (SA). I lived in London then, had left the Labour Party and was extremely excited when I joined SA. The alliance grew well for a couple of years and we really did believe it was going to be a new force in politics.

Then George Galloway arrived on the scene ready and eager to become our new leader – renaming SA ‘Respect’. The result was that SA was split and it all withered away quite quickly, albeit providing Galloway with some brief success.

It was estimated that on 20th March 2003 over one million people took to the streets of London to demonstrate against the Iraq war. This was possible because many groups talked to each other and organised. A green alliance could do the same for climate breakdown and biodiversity – perhaps even with greater numbers. With no disruption (apart from sheer bodies) this time we could take many more people with us as we did then.

John Walsh, North Norfolk

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