More field trips and learning programmes for PCF Sparkletots pre-schoolers

LOUISA TANG Today Online 5 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — All children should be able to have the richest and broadest learning experience regardless of their background, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said.

“Broadening the availability of affordable and quality childcare is one part of it, but it’s not the only thing that’s happening. You need intervention on all fronts,” she said on Monday (Nov 5) while announcing new and ongoing efforts taken by the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) to make out-of-classroom learning a key focus of its curriculum.

Mrs Teo is also the executive committee chairperson of PCF, which oversees PCF Sparkletots, the largest pre-school operator with about 43,000 children enrolled in more than 360 centres island-wide. She was officiating an event at Bee Amazed Garden in Yishun, where 60 pre-school children from PCF Sparkletots Sengkang were on a field trip to learn about honey bees.

Since late last month, PCF Sparkletots has been arranging more of such outdoor field trips for its students.

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Sighting of sperm whales in Arctic a sign of changing ecosystem, say scientists

Rare sighting in the Canadian Arctic as a growing number of species expand their range into warming waters
Leyland Cecco The Guardian 5 Nov 18;

A rare sighting of sperm whales in the Canadian Arctic is the latest sign of a quickly changing ecosystem, say scientists, as a growing number of species expand their range into warming Arctic waters.

Brandon Laforest, a marine biologist with the World Wildlife Fund, and guide Titus Allooloo were working on a project monitoring the effect of marine traffic on the region’s narwhal population when they spotted the pair of large whales just outside Pond Inlet, a community at the northern tip of Baffin Island in September.

Video of the incident, released at the end of October, captures the second known sighting of sperm whales in the region. In 2014, hunters from Pond Inlet spotted them in the area.

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More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing

SETH BORENSTEIN Associated Press Yahoo News 6 Nov 18;

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.

The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.

"It's really good news," said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that."

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Wind farm 'predator' effect hits ecosystems: study

Patrick GALEY AFP Yahoo News 6 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - Wind farms act as a top "predator" in some ecosystems, harming birds at the top of the food chain and triggering a knock-on effect overlooked by green energy advocates, scientists said Monday.

Wind is the fastest-growing renewable energy sector, supplying around four percent of global electricity demand.

Close to 17 million hectares -- an area roughly the size of Tunisia -- is currently used for generating wind energy worldwide, and researchers warned that developers had "greatly underestimated" the impact the technology has on wildlife.

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Large hydropower dams 'not sustainable' in the developing world

Matt McGrath BBC 6 Nov 18;

A new study says that many large scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment.

Dozens of these dams are being removed every year, with many considered dangerous and uneconomic.

But the authors fear that the unsustainable nature of these projects has not been recognised in the developing world.

Thousands of new dams are now being planned for rivers in Africa and Asia.

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