New edition of programme on rising sea levels to reach over 600,000 students

Xingnan Primary School pupils browsing an e-book based on the R.I.S.E to the Challenge II outreach programme. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee (second from right) at the launch of the R.I.S.E. to the Challenge II programme. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - More than 600,000 students will learn about the threat of rising sea levels to Singapore and participate in climate action projects in a two-year programme launched on Monday (Aug 22).

The outreach effort, called R.I.S.E. to the Challenge II, is believed to be the largest school programme covering sea level rise and is an expansion of the first phase that ended in April this year.

Both editions are run by property developer Keppel Land. Phase one, which started in 2020, reached out to more than 50,000 people comprising students, building tenants and the public.

The new edition will continue with physical exhibitions and workshops highlighting the causes and impacts of rising sea levels, as well as ways to mitigate the destructive phenomenon and adapt to the rising seas.

Information from the exhibitions is documented in a newly released eight-chapter e-book which will be given to all primary and secondary schools and junior colleges.

The contents are aligned with primary schools' social studies and science syllabus and secondary schools' geography syllabus.

The programme, which will end in 2024, is expected to reach about 340 schools and potentially more than 680,000 students and school leaders, said Keppel Land.

Competitions will also be organised for students to showcase their climate action projects.

R.I.S.E. to the Challenge II and the new e-book were launched on Monday at Xingnan Primary School in Jurong West.

Low-lying Singapore has about 30 per cent of its land less than 5m above sea level, making the country vulnerable to the rising seas caused by a warming planet.

Scientists from the Republic, Ireland and the United States have projected that Singapore's sea level could rise by between 0.37m and 0.78m by 2100, at rates of 4mm to 13mm a year - that may be exacerbated by ice sheet, ocean and atmospheric processes.

The scientists made those projections based on data from a recent global report by the United Nations' top climate science body.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee attended the launch and explained the effects of climate change on Singapore and its 2030 Green Plan to the pupils.

"Whatever our challenges may be... including the impact of climate change, we will feel all these impacts differently, but the important thing is to be stewards, to work together as Singaporeans, differences aside, so that we (have) a better, brighter and more sustainable future," he said.

He was citing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally message on Sunday (Aug 21), which touched on the nation remaining united in the face of domestic and international challenges.

The programme's first edition held 40 exhibitions in schools and commercial properties under Keppel Land. In extending the programme, its chief executive Louis Lim said: "Our goal is to continue to promote awareness on this topic, spark more conversations and inspire our youth to become passionate environment advocates."

Primary 4 pupil Ray Goh, an eco-leader at Xingnan Primary, has helped to lead recycling efforts, encouraging schoolmates to deposit uneaten food in a food waste bin after recess. The school runs a programme that turns food waste into compost.

"I also want to take part in beach cleanups and pick up items that can be recycled," said the 10-year-old boy.

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