On 12 March, Lingnan social sciences freshman Jack Wong shared his experience in two polar expeditions organised by Yan Oi Tong.
In winter 2010, Jack was a Secondary Six student when he was selected to join Yan Oi Tong’s first expedition to the Antarctica. The visit was meant to study the climate, ecology, soil, vegetation and tourism there. He flew with other members to Ushuaia of Argentina via Paris, where they crossed the treacherous Drake Passage to reach Antarctica. He visited the Chinese Great Wall Station and met the Antarctic scientists there. In 2011, he joined another expedition to the North Pole as an Ambassador for Polar Conservation. In those expeditions, Jack witnessed how huge icebergs like mountains crumbled within seconds, and polar bears were lying on lawns instead of glaciers. Only until then did he come to realise the adverse impact of global warming.
Yet surprises didn’t stop there. Before visiting the schools and villages of the Inuits, the indigenous people of the Arctic region, Jack never thought that globalisation would ever reach those remote corners of the earth. Latest electronic gadgets such as iPad and iPhone are readily available at the local supermarkets. However, the traditional clothing, dance and hunting culture of the Inuits are being pushed to the brink of extinction by the conveniences brought by modern living. Jack was prompted to re-think the great costs of materialism and consumerism.
Given his experience in those two expeditions, Jack aspires to engage in environmental protection. He has been actively promoting green life at secondary school and university. He also puts his belief into practice by working for waste recycling in Tuen Mun last summer, exploring ways to enhance public awareness of environmental protection and improve recycling in Hong Kong.