From Meredith Vieira, TODAY anchor
Sunday morning we flew to Sydney. One look at the harbor here and you understand why so many people fall in love with this place. I took a long run along the river, passing by the spectacular Sydney Opera House (where Australian Idol is having its final showdown this week!) and the botanical gardens. Then it was off to interview Robert Dane, the inventor of a boat called the Solar Sailor.
Robert was a doctor, but his passion since childhood has been sailing. He is also a true environmentalist who worried about what was happening to his beautiful harbor as a result of pollution. He told me something I had never been aware of before: the shipping industry is responsible for a tremendous amount of the carbon emissions in the world, twice as many as the aviation industry. Robert had long been thinking about ways to make a greener vessel. Then he found true inspiration. I won't tell you where it came from; for that you'll have to watch the piece. All I will say is that sometimes the smallest creatures can provide the biggest ideas. Robert figured out how to combine solar, wind and battery power to create a hybrid boat that uses far less fuel (meaning less pollutants) than standard vessels. He says his technology can easily be adapted to be used on even the biggest ships and tankers. We sailed through the harbor taking in the beauty around us. What struck me about Robert was his passion and determination to make this world a better place. As he put it, "it's a no brainer." We ended the evening with a lovely dinner at a restaurant overlooking the ocean.
As I write this it is Monday morning in Australia (Sunday afternoon in New York). My voice is starting to go, probably the result of jet lag and talking so much. Just finished two pots of tea with honey and am headed out for a brief walk in the sunshine before beginning to prepare for the live show (which will occur from 11pm to 2am Australia time). Call it my attempt at using some solar energy to get my act in gear!
To find TODAY's complete Ends of the Earth coverage, click here.