Chris Packham, Extinction Rebellion and #ReThinkHS2 Deliver The Present No Child Wants This Christmas

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This Sunday 22nd December, Chris Packham and his daughter Megan McCubbin join Extinction Rebellion aboard an open-top double decker bus to tour through central London. 

Beginning at College Green in Westminster at 12.15pm, they will relive the spirit of public transport from a Christmas past. The tour will forewarn children of their potential public transport future: a future where over 100 ancient woodlands and hundreds of other wildlife sites could be destroyed to make way for a massively carbon intensive construction project that will enable large-scale airport expansion, better known as the high speed rail project, HS2.

The double decker bus will carry limited edition HS2 TRAIN SET boxes – manufactured by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – and costing just £100billion. One of those boxes will be delivered to 10 Downing Street containing a petition on behalf of the #ReThinkHS2 alliance of environmental organisations, who have over 5 million members. Recently, the National Trust has also written to the government with their concerns over HS2.  

In addition to the Extinction Rebellion logo, the bus also displays the movement StandForTheTrees.org, whose new Christmas themed film features Annie Lennox (music), Chris Packham (starring) and Emma Thompson (voice). The film launched earlier this week and has already been viewed by half a million people, picking up support from the likes of Stephen Fry and his 12.7million Twitter followers along the way. As a result, Thousands of people have pledged to StandForTheTrees.org and have sent emails to MPs of the new government. 

The government are set to make a decision on the future of HS2 very soon.

The protest is calling for a rethink of HS2, especially in the face of the Climate and Environmental Emergency that Parliament declared more than six months ago. HS2 is one of the first projects the government needs to rethink, and redeploy the vast budget into clean transport and infrastructure solutions.

Chris Packham describes the threat of HS2 as: “Catastrophic …. the largest deforestation process that we’ve undertaken in the UK since the first world war, at a time we know we should be reforesting the environment, not taking it down. The wildlife that we’ve got, we should be fighting tooth and nail to protect. These cathedrals of biodiversity cannot be replaced. You can rebuild Notre Dame and it will look pretty much the same, but if you cut these woods down you cannot rebuild them by sticking in a few saplings. Let’s stand for the trees.”

Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, says, “HS2 is the worst Christmas present the new government could give to our kids in the face of our Climate and Ecological Emergency. Destroying ancient woodlands and countryside to make way for a project that will literally choke us environmentally and economically for decades, to enable airport expansion, is utter madness at this time of extreme urgency. HS2 locks us into the past, with even less chance of a habitable future for our children”.

Journalists are invited to ride along on the bus with Chris Packham, who will also be autographing boxes for those who have been environmentally good this year. 

Meeting Point for Journalists: College Green, Westminster – 12.15 -12.45 GMT 22nd Dec 19

Bus Stops are as following: 

12.30 pm – College Green, Westminster

1 pm – Downing Street

1.30 pm – Trafalgar Square

2 pm – Hamley’s, Regent Street

2.30 pm – BBC House, Portland Place

3 pm – HS2 HQ – 1 Evershold Street, Euston

Notes for Editors

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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