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He circled the globe on a sailboat made of plastic bottles to call attention to the trash polluting our seas. Here, the eco-explorer and author of Plastiki: Across the Pacific on Plastic talks java, goose bumps, and the power of an upbeat attitude
Janine Benyus's Biomimicry, about nature-inspired design, made me realize that the world has four-and-a-half billion years of R&D that we can look to. To build Plastiki's hull, we examined the pomegranate, a tough and buoyant fruit. Like pomegranate seeds, plastic bottles are weak on their own, but when we packed them together, they were rigid and strong.
The environmental movement can be so serious: "The world is ending. Come join us." Instead we should try to inspire curiosity and a sense of adventure, and remind people to laugh at themselves.
Best Instant Zen
On Plastiki, sitting out on the deck at night under the stars, you could see phosphorescence glowing under the boat and little sea creatures popping up to say hello. It felt like being alone on another planet.
I'd never had a cup of coffee in my life until we reached New Caledonia. Now I'm one of those coffee geeks with the roaster, the grinder, the French press.
Best Advice I Ever Got
My mum and dad taught me to follow my intuition. I'm a big believer in listening to goose bumps—when you feel them coming on, you know you're onto something good.
Best Mood Booster
I love listening to podcasts from The Moth, the storytelling collective. They provide ten to 15 minutes of total escapism.
Best Port of Call
I'll never forget arriving in Sydney Harbour at the end of our journey, surrounded by boats. A lot of people thought the project would fail. So it was nice to have done what we set out to do.
Live Your Best Life
From the April 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine