Episode 1: Dave Borlace

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In this week’s episode, we hear how a man from a family of coal-miners has turned his attention to raising awareness on the dangers of Climate Change.

Dave began his journey of climate consciousness when he began building a cabin outside of his house for use as an office. As he was doing so, he attempted to install solar panels to reduce his carbon footprint and he made use of YouTube for advice on how to do this. However, his YouTube investigations soon went far beyond learning about solar panel installation: “I started getting drawn into videos on climate change and the severity of the situation that we face.” 

Dave’s educational journey eventually led to him reading the book  ‘A Farewell to Ice’ by Professor Peter Wadhams. Dave learnt that, with temperatures increasing, more ice is melting, but the situation is more dire than that because the melting of the ice itself precipitates further heating. Summing up the dangers, Dave says: “The Arctic and poles act as our air conditioner for the earth, once the ice goes, the air conditioning goes with it.” 

Deciding that more people needed to understand just how precarious the situation was, Dave set up his own YouTube channel “Just Have a Think”, in which he attempts to explain to people why it’s so important that we address Climate Change “if you don’t make people understand why they need to do something, they’re very unlikely to do it”. It wasn’t long before Dave’s new channel took over his life. He was working in management initially but, barring 4 hours sleep, he was spending every other spare moment researching and producing videos for his channel.

Trying to educate people on Climate Change has, at times, proved challenging, however. Dave refers to the barriers of fear, uncertainty and doubt as operating to prevent people taking on board the facts of the situation and contributing to people’s confusion on the topic. In reference to climate change scepticism, he says: “Someone’s told you the wrong thing to make you feel better… people don’t want to hear that climate change is a problem, they just want to get on with their lives.” 

But Dave does have some positive reflections on the issue of Climate Change. As the son of a coal-miner, he notes how the UK has successfully adjusted its energy mix to drastically reduce the use of coal in energy production. He also looks optimistically to a near future in which “hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs will be created in green technologies”. He also talks about how his videos have been used in classrooms in order to spark debates and contribute to schoolchildren’s understanding of the issues. 

For those who want to take positive action going forward, Dave recommends these steps: change your bank account to an ethical bank and do the same with your pension fund; get your heating and energy from a green energy supplier, write to your elected representative to show disappointment in the lack of action on Climate Change, and make sure you’re supporting the politicians who are in favour of tackling climate change. In Dave’s words: “Do those 4 things if you can.” If enough of us follow his advice, perhaps we can avoid the catastrophe so many climate activists fear.

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