Friday, 24 July 2015

Respect, Trust & Honesty

I have just finished drafting the Trust’s Annual Report and I found myself writing about the need for respect, trust and honesty in our dealings with different organisations who have contrasting views. This was in the same week that we had two public debates about the best approach to heather burning: Amanda Anderson of the Moorland Association and Pat Thompson from RSPB appeared in Country Life; Tim Baynes from Scottish Moorland Group and Duncan Orr-Ewing from RSPB were interviewed on Radio Scotland.

I was struck by what a waste of time these exchanges were, as no-one is going to trot out anything but their safest party line on these occasions. In my view, this type of exchange only serves to feed sensation, deepen the trenches and sell publications / increase ratings.

We do not need sensation; we need sensible, balanced, positive debate. Partisan exchanges, or broadcasting sound bites through social media, might create heat, but we also need light. Without this, the habitats, wildlife, birds, communities, landscapes and features that we claim to represent will continue to suffer. We are making great strides in many areas, it is not all bad news, but we could achieve so much more if we could only develop respect, trust and honesty in our dealings with other organisations. If we then added a degree of compromise and tolerance, how much better could we all serve the uplands and moorlands of the UK.

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