Environmental journalist David Shukman is set to give a talk in Galashiels later this month.

The BBC Science Editor will be taking to the stage to speak on the pros and cons of deep sea mining as part of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s (RSGS) Inspiring People talks programme.

The event, being held at Border College's Galashiels campus, will focus on the 'Deep Sea Gold Rush', the search for valuable minerals in the depths of the ocean.

Over the course of his career, David has travelled the globe reporting on a range of topical news stories, visiting over 80 countries worldwide.

Since joining the BBC in 1983 as a TV news trainee, he has worked as a Defence Correspondent, Europe Correspondent, World Affairs Correspondent then finally Environment and Science Correspondent, a post he’s held since 2003.

He is a familiar presence on the television and is known well known for his stories on climate change issues and the Polar regions.

He was the first journalist to make a live television broadcast from Britain’s Antarctic base and has also travelled through the North West Passage and reported on sea level rises from Tuvalu as well as on plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean.

Most recently, he has pioneered coverage of a brand new frontier in mining where the search has begun for valuable minerals in the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean.

And the reason why companies are plunging so far down is simple: rocks on the sea floor are worth so much more to prospectors than those on land – they contain far more gold, copper, zinc and rare earth elements.

But, as several dozen companies are on the brink of starting mines in the deep ocean, environmentalists have begun to raise concerns about damage to fragile marine ecosystems and the possible the extinction of rare life forms.

Sir David Attenborough – a recipient of two of RSGS’ most distinguished Medals and who first spoke for the Society 55 years ago – was aghast when he heard that miners were targeting hydrothermal vents where life might have begun.

Commenting on the upcoming talk, David Shukman said: “As a news reporter it’s always a pleasure to have the chance to discuss issues in greater depth and I’m hoping that my subject will provoke a lively debate.

"Few realise that we’re on the brink of a new gold rush underwater and I’m looking forward to sharing my insights from as far afield as the Caribbean and Papua New Guinea.

“It’s also a great pleasure to be invited to speak in Galashiels as I have plenty of family connections in Scotland. Most notably, my mother lives near Lockerbie in a house originally bought by her uncle, the historian Sir Steven Runciman.”

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSGS said: “David’s talk in Galashiels is set to be a lively one as he gets under the skin of this controversial topic and poses insightful questions – something he is known to do so well.

"During his time speaking for the RSGS in January, David will also be presented with Honorary Fellowship of the RSGS for his sustained work in the field of science communication.

"At a time where the media is more important than ever, the Society was keen to recognise his trusted voice on issues such as climate change and the environment.

Commenting on this award, Mike added:“David has been a champion of informed, impartial and intelligible information throughout his career with the BBC. We are therefore delighted to welcome David as an Honorary Fellow, joining a distinguished group of influential and inspiring people.”

As an Honorary Fellow, David will be added to a list including Sir Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong, Sir Edmund Hilary, Mary Robinson, Annie Lennox and Karen Darke, as well as David’s fellow BBC film-makers Sir David Attenborough, Doug Allan and Gordon Buchanan.

David will speak at the Scottish Borders Campus, Nether Road, Galashiels, TD1 3HE on Tuesday January 29 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite, via the RSGS website, or on the door. They are £10 for visitors, £8 for Tiso Outdoor Experience Card Holders, and FREE for RSGS Members, Students or U18s.