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The National University of Singapore Geography Challenge (NUS GC) is an annual non-profit Geography-centered competition jointly organised by the NUS Department of Geography and the NUS Geographical Society. As NUS GC runs for the 27th year, we will continue on our quest to ignite passion and inspire secondary school students to develop a keen interest in the dynamic discipline of Geography. Through healthy competition, we seek to engage, empower and educate students on world issues and highlight the omnipresence of Geography in our everyday lives. In the course of participating in this challenge, NUS GC also aims to encourage students to embark on independent learning.
The theme for the 2023 edition of the Geography Challenge is:
City In Nature: Connecting People, Wildlife and Resources
It is a balancing act to manage our steady economic growth against our sustainability and climate targets. The negative ramifications of urbanisation include habitat fragmentation, burgeoning carbon emissions and the onset of global warming – which have many follow-on impacts that are inequitably borne by developing nations. The worsening of these issues in the longer term have also been clearly outlined in the latest Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Today, it is unequivocal that anthropogenic causes of climate change need to be addressed. Beyond the mere categorisation of mitigation and adaptation measures, every country ought to move towards sustainable development. On a global scale, the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) align the efforts of developed and developing nations in tracking and achieving sustainable development.
Singapore, though geographically small, is no different. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 (SGP) and ‘whole of government’ (WOG) effort to reach net zero by 2050 represent our commitment to climate action and sustainability.
We believe that the National Parks Board (NParks) vision of a ‘City in Nature’ is befitting of a Singapore that has achieved its climate and sustainability targets. As an overarching concept and vision, Geography Challenge 2023 (GC2023) seeks to explore the processes and steps to becoming one. We envision these processes as drawing connections between people, wildlife and resources.
In greater detail, students will examine the urban processes of our city, namely alternative energy sources, sustainable food and water resources, as well as clean waste management. Students will also explore our national efforts to green our city and connect our rich biodiversity, creating a contiguous habitat across the island. Lastly, students will be exposed to the intricacies of human-wildlife relationships and learn how they can make an impact on our resource loops as a consumer. To ensure relevancy, these tropes will be evaluated using the frameworks of the SGP, the United Nations SDGs, the incumbent O-level and the International Geography Olympiad syllabuses.
It is our hope that GC2023 will inspire and empower students to apply Geography beyond the textbook. By recognising the connections between people, wildlife and resources, we also hope students understand the false dichotomy between economic development and achieving net zero. Instead, an integrated approach is required to address this climate crisis. Lastly, we hope to inculcate a sense of ownership in transforming Singapore into a City in Nature.