Interactive Evening - Debate, Tues 2 Dec

STUDENT DEBATE – applicable to those who registered for the debate when completing their online registration

Tuesday 2 December 19h00, Bld 123, NMMU South Campus


Dear participants

The Global Change Conference is now less than a week away and we hope you are excited about it as much as we are. We are looking forward to hosting you here along the East Coast in Nelson Mandela Bay on the South Campus of NMMU.

One highlight during the week will be your debate. This will take place on Tuesday evening, starting at 7 pm.

The topic of the debate covers an important aspect of Global Change, today and tomorrow and for the foreseeable future: access to reliable energy. How can we best cope with uncertainties and the present lack of confidence to deliver energy to all in South Africa. Does the gap between an expectation of no uncertainty and the recognition that science always comes with uncertainty create a dead-end for dealing with critical environmental and energy issues? And, how can scientists and science communicators best bridge this chasm? Should the Global Change program be concerned?

Globally, there is clear correlation between access to energy and human development index, and upliftment from poverty must surely be in part related to efficient and reliable energy delivery.

Should access to energy be a human right; should energy be available to all no matter what the side effects and externality costs?

Should we allow energy production by any means, creating giant dams or carbon-footprints, both plentiful in Africa, but both of which produce lethal side-effects to the environment and damage to social cohesion. Are we able to meet energy needs through new environmentally friendly geo-bio-marine-engineering? And at what costs?

We would like you to debate such issues under the motion:

"Environmental concerns are playing too much of a role in shaping South Africa's future energy system”


Format: Two teams of 6-10 students, each with no more than 2 students from the same University. Each team will be allotted a senior scientist as mentor during preparations

One team will present a case for the motion; the other against.

Each team will be afforded 15 minutes to make their case; each team will decide for themselves whether they will have one or more representative to present their case.

Thereafter, each team will respond once or twice (depending on time and encouragement from the audience) to a set of 5 verbal questions from the audience and 5 virtual questions from the audience

The audience will be able to engage with the teams and be able to vote or pose questions to the teams on Twitter, The tweet should included the question (If posing a question), teams name and #Globalchange2014.”

The facilitator will determine the best 5 virtual questions that each team will have to reply to in each round and these questions will be projected on screens.

We will then have a final period of time that audience can vote and once that is halted, the votes are counted and the winner announced. The voting process will be projected and monitored on screens

Facilitator and mentors: To be announced

The debate will take on a more open and general discourse during drinks and food at the end of the formal debate.


Send us a short email explaining in less than 50 words why you should be considered to be part of one of the teams.  Send before 12h00 on Friday 28 November to mel@icesolution.co.za and copy Maarten.deWit@nmmu.ac.za and gfmidgley@gmail.com.

A committee will determine the make-up of team from the applications submitted and the teams will be announced on Monday night, giving plenty of time for the team members to get to know each other, design strategies and chose representative speakers before the debate.

We look forward to some lively and vigorous interactions between the teams and with the audience.

Guy Midgley

Chair organizing committee