ADDRESS BY MR BAEY YAM KENG, SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE SONY CREATIVE SCIENCE AWARD ON 9 NOVEMBER 2023
Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Board,
Mr Takakiyo Fujita, Managing Director, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific and Sony
Teachers, parents and students,
1 Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you at this year’s Sony Creative Science Award. I thank the Science Centre Board and the Sony Group of Companies in Singapore for organising this meaningful initiative, and I welcome teachers, parents and students for coming together in this journey of science and sustainability.
The Existential Threat of Climate Change
2 Climate change is a global threat to our existence that needs to be addressed urgently. Its harsh impact is becoming increasingly pronounced. We have read about it, we have seen it happening around the world, and we have experienced it ourselves. According to the European Union’s climate observatory, July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded on earth. Heat waves were experienced across parts of Europe, United States and North Africa. In Maui, Hawaii, abnormally dry conditions contributed to wildfires that killed over 100 people and destroyed over 2,000 properties and structures.
Devastating floods in other parts of the world have also affected millions of people and caused hundreds of deaths. In September this year, Hong Kong saw the highest hourly rainfall rate seen in the city since records began in 1884. Widespread flooding and landslides led to multiple deaths and injuries. In Singapore, we are experiencing record temperatures and intense rainfall more frequently. We have also witnessed disruptions to our food supply due to extreme weather events.
Singapore’s sustainability efforts
3 Singapore is committed to do our part for climate action and accelerate our sustainability efforts as we transit to a low-carbon future. We launched Singapore Green Plan 2030 two years ago as a whole-of-nation movement to tackle climate change and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. We are implementing carbon mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are working on coastal protection measures to safeguard our shores against rising sea levels due to global warming. Additionally, we are stepping up efforts to foster a circular economy, reduce waste and make the most of our resources.
4 We are also strengthening our food and water security to ensure that our nation’s essential needs are met despite global uncertainties. We continue to expand our capacity for water desalination, and diversify our food imports and ramp up local production. By 2030, we aspire to build our agri-food industry’s capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs. The past few years have been challenging for many of our farms as the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in delays in farm construction. They are also facing manpower shortages, rising interest rates and energy prices. Notwithstanding, the Government is committed to our 30 by 30 vision by co-funding farms to adopt technology to grow more and grow better, in a climate-resilient and resource efficient manner, and working with various stakeholders to drive support for local produce.
Our youths’ role in tackling climate change
5 Our students and youths play an important role in Singapore’s journey towards sustainability. Many are creating a positive impact through valuable partnerships with corporations and government agencies to develop solutions to sustainability-related challenges. Such opportunities help to develop collaboration skills, inventive thinking and decision-making skills that promote learning beyond the classrooms and textbooks.
6 The Sony Creative Science Award is a good starting point for students to unleash their creative juices to raise awareness of scientific concepts, providing them the opportunity to learn about science and apply their creativity in a fun and enjoyable way through toy-making. For example, Riz Eshan Bin Muhammad Rizal from Changkat Primary School created his Save the Ninja magnetic toy based on the concept of magnetic repulsive force to move LEGO figurines.
7 I am heartened to know that this year’s Award includes a new sustainability category, where students are encouraged to use recycled materials and harness renewable energy to power their toys.
8 Pradyumna Bhat from DPS International School decided to create the Eco Maze Runner toy that runs on solar and wind energy after noticing the high usage of batteries in toys. The Green Maze toy by Noah Joseph Das and Shanah Lucy Das from Pei Chun Public School, challenges users on their knowledge and contribution of small actions, by using the concept of marble run to raise awareness of climate and sustainability issues.
9 Behind each of these creative inventions are teachers and parents who have guided and encouraged our students through this competition. The Blue Ribbon and Diamond Award recognises teachers who have been exemplary in moulding and shaping our next generation of leaders. Mr Paul Chan, our Diamond Award recipient from Chongzheng Primary School, is one of the many teachers who have gone above and beyond their work, putting in hours to mentor students in their projects. I should also point out that this is the second time Paul is receiving a Diamond Award. Congratulations!
10 I would like to commend all schools, teachers and parents for your support towards the Sony Creative Science Award. You have grown this competition and its learning value so phenomenally over the years. Your efforts are instrumental in shaping our next generation of creative thinkers and inventors.
11 I would also like to thank the organisers, Science Centre Singapore, Sony Group of Companies in Singapore and the Ministry of Education for the continued commitment in providing this meaningful learning platform to our students over the past 26 years.
12 My heartiest congratulations to all winners and participants of the Awards. I hope you will continue to be inspired to contribute actively towards science and Singapore’s sustainable development, and be an inspiration to others. Thank you.