from the Sunday Herald, 2 September 2018
‘Virgin's wildlife orgy campaign labelled tasteless’ was the headline on 13 October 2007. It reported on a viral marketing campaign for Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains featuring a “sex party” video of pantomime animals “simulating vigorous and varied sex acts”.
There was a tenuous connection to climate change, suggesting that rising temperatures would make animals mate earlier and more often. But it’s real and somewhat tacky purpose was to boost Branson’s transport business.
Looking back over the Sunday Herald’s 19 years covering environmental issues, the story stands out as one of the few that might have raised a wry smile. Most have been depressing: polluted air and water, wiped out wildlife and wrecked environments.
We visited India in 2014 to report on the 30th anniversary of the horrific toxic gas disaster that killed more than 25,000 people in Bhopal. The same year we also reported from Japan on the 25,000 people who will never go home because of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear accident 2011.
We wrote about the persisting radioactive pollution of Scottish uplands from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine in 1986. We revealed numerous blunders, leaks and accidents at Scotland’s nuclear power and weapons facilities, and helped expose some of the multiple follies of Trident.
Every year we charted the faecal contamination of Scotland’s prized bathing waters, measured the climate-disrupting carbon belching from power and petrochemical plants and named the companies worst at pollution control and the councils worst at waste recycling. We repeatedly listed the city streets so polluted with traffic fumes that they would damage your health.