What is OpenForum?

Open Forum is an independent collaborative think-tank built around an interactive discussion website hosted and moderated by Global Access Partners (GAP). It provides a platform for focused dialogue on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues and challenges.

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Transition to the 21st century

Global Mindset logoHow are we are learning and working in a constantly changing and rapidly digitising environment? Global Mindset is inviting you to discuss this at a conference on 21 October 2015 in Sydney.

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Shop less. Live more.

Buy Nothing New MonthThis October is Buy Nothing New Month, a global movement for collective, conscientious consumption. It's a one month challenge to buy nothing new (with the exception of essentials like food, hygiene and medicines).

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Host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast

National Breast Cancer Foundation logoOne in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and seven women die from breast cancer every day in Australia. This October, you can host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast and raise funds for breast cancer research.

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Blog of the Day

Angus M Robinsons picture

Old King Coal was once a merry old soul!

posted by Angus M Robinson, Oct 07, 2015

Once upon a time, coal delivered a fine service to Australia’s industrialisation. Angus M Robinson tells the story of the rise and inevitable decline of an antiquated energy source.

In the early 1980s, the then Premier Neville Wran was facing severe power ‘brownouts’ resulting from insufficient power supplies to service a burgeoning economy in NSW. No worries, as the NSW coal industry sprang into action and another large coal-fired power station (Bayswater near Muswellbrook) to complement the Central Coast located Eraring was commissioned and completed by 1985. The 1980s also saw the transition from closed underground mines across the Hunter and Illawarra coalfields to new open-cut mines focused on servicing rapidly growing export markets. Queensland joined the fray with the opening up of the Bowen Basin coalfields. Coal was king and everyone was merry – even the very large Hunter Valley No 2 open cut mine was approved without even a major environmental inquiry. In its exuberance, the NSW Government even called international tenders for the conversion of the West Muswellbrook coal resources for a major ‘coal to oil’ industry. The exploitation of Australia’s sub-bituminous coal resources was seen to be the only rational and politically acceptable option for meeting Australian domestic and global energy needs.

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Featured Forum

Climate Change

There is no further need for debate over the reality of climate change – the science is incontrovertible. We are experiencing extreme weather patterns everywhere: longer heatwaves, more floods and bushfires. The polar ice is melting and iconic places like the Great Barrier Reef are at grave risk.

Leading up to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, we will discuss developments in Australia and worldwide. Where do we stand? How are we tracking? What happens after Paris? And is there any hope?

Australia is one of the largest emitter per capita. So far the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will not consider returning to the carbon trading scheme he once advocated. He ruled out changing the Coalition’s existing climate change polices and wants to stick with Direct Action.

As governments alone are too slow to act, we need to engage business and communities more than we do already. We have to make lowering carbon emission part our national identity.

What are the economic opportunities in the fight against global warming? Can we have a clean energy revolution that will drive, not hinder, growth? Some anticipate that solar could be globally competitive with coal by 2020. Greenpeace has recently released a report stating that Australia could operate with 100% renewable energy by 2050. How can other new technologies help slow down or even reverse damage done by climate change?

What are the most pressing issues around climate change according to you? Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au and share your ideas and concerns with our online community.

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