Both the beauty and the fragility of the planet were on spectacular display Monday as TODAY reported on climate change and the power of water from the Ends of the Earth.
Hosts Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry signed in simultaneously from the Western Hemisphere’s longest coral reef in Belize; drought-stricken Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent; Iceland, where fire meets ice; and 13,000 feet up the flank of Mount Kilimanjaro, the “Roof of Africa,” whose famous snows and glaciers are on pace to disappear within the next dozen years.
Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, but, as Lauer, Vieira, Roker and Curry reported, 1.1 billion people — a sixth of the planet’s human population — do not have access to a clean supply of this most precious and essential resource.
As glaciers continue to melt, droughts intensify and existing clean water sources are polluted, it is estimated that by 2025, 5.3 billion people will suffer from water shortages.
It is the realization of the horror expressed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”