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Updated: 2013-06-02 09:48

By Rebecca Lo. (China Daily)

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Su Liu's adventure in Antarctica was her childhood dream come true. The Hong Kong-based specialist in water management shares her Mothers for Mother Nature campaign with Rebecca Lo.

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Su Liu taps upon her water resource knowledge to mobilize mothers to contribute toward climate change and water resource protection. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

When Su Liu was a girl growing up in Kunming, Yunnan, in the early 1980s, she was fascinated by the images of China's elite explorers venturing into the Antarctic.

"Only men who were very fit - iron men - were given a chance to go," she recalls. "It was considered a big deal. To a teenage girl like me, it was like they were going to outer space. Their journey was beyond what ordinary people like me could achieve."

Liu, now a mother of two boys and the head of Greater China and Water Policy Research for Hong Kong-based Civic Exchange, has always been attracted to extremes. "The tallest mountain, the deepest space. Well, I knew I probably won't be able to go to the moon. But maybe Antarctica wasn't so far-fetched."

She knew that the passage would be her litmus test.

Would she be able to survive the motion sickness common during a journey to the South Pole? When she studied in Hobart, she grabbed the opportunity to meet her heroes and spoke to members of the Chinese exploration team who ventured into Antarctica.

"The team members were all young and fit and handsome," she recalls. "They were hand selected but still had to undergo intense training. One told me that to be an Antarctic explorer, you needed an iron stomach. Literally, you should be able to eat your rice with one hand while reaching for a bucket to vomit into with the other."

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The last sunset before leaving Antarctica, photo taken on March 10, 2013. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

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Many years later, Liu's dormant dream of exploring the South Pole came to life again through an unexpected channel.

At a climate change conference in Hong Kong, the top prize awarded to young ambassadors was a trip to the Antarctic sponsored by keynote speaker Robert Swan. Noted for being the first person to walk to both poles, Swan has dedicated his life to protecting the Antarctic's resources through his company 2041.

"My children met him and he invited me to join him on his next trip to the Antarctic," Liu says. "I made excuses, citing my sea sickness. But I realized that I was the one setting the limitations. Why can't I go? My dream awoke."

Liu's work made her realize that China's rapid development has taken a toll on its rivers.

"They have been ruined by hydropower development," she says. "We use so much power that it's destroying our homeland. The Antarctic contains the biggest fresh water reserve in the world: 70 percent of it."

She tapped upon her water resource knowledge to initiate a global program, mobilizing mothers to realize their own dormant dreams while focusing on climate change and water resource protection.

"Women are by nature collectors and their children's first teacher," she says. "China is both the problem and the solution. I hope that my message inspires moms to motivate their children more powerfully."

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Antarctca fur seals, photo taken on March 6, 2013. Liu sets foot on the icy continent earlier this year and finds the experience almost spiritual. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

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