Polar trip highlights environmental needs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am


Twenty students were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the seventh continent last December. They were the first group of secondary students to go to Antarctica.

The expedition was co-organised by Yan Oi Tong and Hong Kong Discovery and funded by Realway Investment. The trip was designed to raise awareness of environmental issues to teenagers and to develop positive values in their lives.

More than 200 students from 130 schools applied. One hundred and seventy were selected to undergo physical and leadership training. The best 20 performers went on the trip.

Jane Chan Yin-tung was one of them. 'It was my dream to visit Antarctica,' said the Form Four student from HKCCCU Logos Academy. 'People say it is the only pure land left on earth. I wanted to experience it myself and learn about global warming and its impact.'

Another participant was Ben Allen, a Form Six student at La Salle College and a Young Post junior reporter. 'I joined because it was a truly unique opportunity to go to the most remote place on earth,' Ben said.

During the 18-day sea journey, students carried out scientific research on the environment in Antarctica. They were guided by Professor Chan Lung-san, from the department of earth sciences at the University of Hong Kong. For Jane and Ben, the hands-on experience was life-changing.

'I learned myriad things, not just facts and figures,' said Ben. 'Apart from the more specific environmental issues that affect Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, I am also more conscious of what happens in Latin America. I shared my experience and organised debates on environmental themes at school.'

Jane added: 'Before the trip, my information on environmental protection was second-hand. Now, I am taking a proactive approach by joining [related activities], because I understand the importance and urgency of environmental protection.'

Yan Oi Tong has now organised a trip to the Arctic. Form Four to Six students aged 15 or above can apply before April 10. Visit mightyrovers.yot.org.hk for details.