I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I got my Scottish Sun. Front page was a campaign by reporter David Goodwin to improve animal welfare in Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals.
Mr Goodwin makes an interesting point relating cruelty to animals and violence to children. Now I like animals just because they are animals, a life force to be respected in their own right. But I would like to take The Scottish Sun’s premise slightly further and tie a few points together.
Regular readers of the blog might know I ended up as a General Foreman on Europe’s largest civil engineering project, £1 million per day-that’s £30 a second at peak. I applied for a mystery job to set up a construction site. Roads, access, fences, power, telecoms, car parks, accommodation, offices etc etc.
Having set the site up I thought my job was over until I was summoned to see the newly arrived works manager who had taken over the project. Suddenly I was supervising 1000 men and 100 trucks a day. One of the things in construction is HSEQ. Health-Safety-Environment-Quality.
There are pyramids of numbers in construction. For every death, there will be so many serious accidents and so many more reportable accidents. Cuts, bashes, minor burns etc. These all go into the accident book. At this time, 2003, this was being extended to include awareness of potential hazards. Not accidents but things that could cause them.
The philosophy was that by recording these large numbers, the raising of awareness would reduce the number of accidents, serious accidents and ultimately deaths as the pyramid was ascended.
Though I love animals for being animals. I catch wasps and insects inside the house and release them outside so they don’t suffer. I watch out for worms, centipedes and other creatures when landscape gardening, moving them out of danger to previously prepared habitats for safety. As for dogs, there is much on this site about them.
But beyond that, respect and compassion for animals and all life has a similar affect as reporting potential hazards on a construction site. Respect for animals doesn’t just play a part in protecting children. It leads to respect for all life, the environment and ultimately each other.
The Scottish Sun has the potential, if they run their campaign effectively, of doing more to improve society than all the laws and initiatives all the politicians will ever come up with. Why? because they are establishing a solid base of the pyramid on which society is built.
This respect for life was what I tried to establish when DEFRA asked me to contribute to a UN Environment and Development report. This was the foundation for the agenda of the 2005 G8 in Perthshire, climate change and Africa and the climate change/ terrorism risk assessment that Al Gore quoted when told of his Nobel Prize.
(Original source for agenda of 2005 G8)
The Sun’s campaign, Europe’s largest civil engineering project (it ran weeks ahead of schedule and £millions under budget), the agenda for the 2005 G8 -all have a coherent theme. The establishment of a solid base of respect in the pyramid of life.
Congratulations to the Scottish Sun for doing something real and meaningful.