The Social Responsibility of Recreational SCUBA Diving - Part 2

When pondering on an issue that affects the psychological character of man, I find the following excerpt from motor vehicle driving research undertaken, summing up human behaviour, as follows:  
“It would appear that the driving hazards and the high accident record are simply one manifestation of a method of living that has been demonstrated in their personal lives. Truly it may be said that a man drives as he lives. If his personal life is marked by caution, tolerance, foresight and consideration for others, then he would drive in the same manner. If his personal life is devoid of these desirable characteristics then his driving will be characterised by aggressiveness, and over a long period of time he will have a much higher accident rate than his stable companion. (Toronto 1949)”
Human beings are what they are: human beings. They are creatures of habit. Muscle memory it is called. Inclination, habit, call it what you want. Some good….some bad. Unfortunately for some, it is not just ME, MYSELF ANDI! We all live in a society where order must prevail. A wise old man, once said: “People do not do what is expected, but what is inspected.” It is exactly here where the law becomes pivotal. In other words, compliance by law is achieved only by external oversight, enforced with the necessary penalties and punishments as incentives. However, whilst legal compliance is certainly preferable to social anarchy, is coercion a substitute for conscience? Whatever happened to common decency? What about the idea of social responsibility?

Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that we have an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is the duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance in society. We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history [1]: a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future holds great peril, yet also great promise. To move forward we must recognize that, in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.

When you get involved in a sport which is interdependent such as the SCUBA buddy system, social responsibility has a definite impact. Complacency and lack of responsibility are no longer “cool”, they are culpable. We can no longer afford to dismiss the ad hoc breaking of rules – in which one person’s indulgence becomes another’s debt to pay. Plan your dive and dive your plan.

Much has been written about the commonalities, and then the difference, between the standards and policies of each diving franchise. Some changes in standards have been criticised, others, welcomed. Unique requirements (such as redundant diving, handicapped diving, rebreather diving, etc.), call for amendments to standards. Even the drafting of new standards. But what about the social responsibility factor -- or the lack thereof? Where undeclared medical conditions, or the taking of contraband substances or unsafe medication put others at risk. How can this socially responsible culture be cultivated and maintained? Perhaps we can model this as a type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

CSR has established itself over the past 15 years amongst various employers, government representatives, academic scholars, NGOs and international organisations. All have contemplated which role they have to play. How can laws have been drafted to promote socially responsible behaviour by companies? International organisations, such as DAN, are promoting these principles. Various companies have adopted CSR mission statements and programmes, and are sharing their efforts through sustainability reports. NGOs have contracted companies and pointed out how they can operate in a more responsible way, and academics have analysed it all.

CSR is a subject that has links with many areas of law, including international law, corporate law and corporate governance, liability issues and contract law, procedural law, labour and environmental law and criminal law. All of these areas contribute importantly to the development of CSR, and ultimately to respond to the serious challenges that this world faces.
In view of the global challenges, international law is particularly indispensable. It is the backbone of the vision as stated by the Earth Charter quoted in the first paragraph of this review.
‘We must recognize that ... we are one Earth community with a common destiny.’
Louis Engelbrecht BA LLB (A A ARB)
SSI Divepro 64253

[1] The world is becoming increasingly interdependent and fragile due to a growing population searching for more material wealth, the scarcity of resources, the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems and climate change. International power struggles and global dominations, wars and international peace processes, are all intertwined in this framework.
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