Teen activist sails across Atlantic to go to climate meeting - GulfToday

Teen activist sails across Atlantic to go to climate meeting


Greta Thunberg sails into New York harbour aboard the Malizia II, on Wednesday. AP

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who crossed the Atlantic on a zero-emissions sailboat to attend a conference on global warming, approached New York City's shores on Wednesday.

Thunberg, 16, and her crew were expected to arrive at a lower Manhattan marina in the afternoon after a two-week crossing from Plymouth, England.

As the social media-savvy teenager approached New York Harbour before dawn, she tweeted her excitement, saying: "Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead." The vessel then anchored off Coney Island, so those aboard could go through customs and immigration procedures.

Before setting sail again towards Manhattan, Thunberg waved to nearby boats, including one with journalists tracking her arrival.

The teenager refused to fly because of the carbon cost of plane travel. A 2018 study said that because of cloud and ozone formation, air travel may trap two to four times more heat than that caused by just emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The sailboat's onboard electronics are powered by solar panels and underwater turbines.

Thunberg has become a symbol of a growing movement of young climate activists, leading weekly protests in Sweden that focused on the issue and that inspired similar strikes in about 100 cities worldwide.

She's in New York to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit next month. There, she'll join world leaders who will present plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Greta Thunberg sails into New York harbour aboard the Malizia II on Wednesday. AP

The boat carrying Thunberg, the Malizia II, encountered rough seas that slowed it down for a day. Taking turns steering the 60-foot (18-meter) racing yacht were yachtsman Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco's late Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly.

Inscribed on the boat's sail are the words "FridaysForFuture" under "UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE."

This was no pleasure cruise. The Malizia is built for high-speed, offshore racing, and weight is kept to a minimum. There is no toilet or fixed shower aboard, no windows below deck and only a small gas cooker to heat up freeze-dried food.

Thunberg, the daughter of an actor and an opera singer, became a European celebrity last year when she refused to go to school in the weeks before Sweden's general election to highlight the impact of climate change.

She continued her school strike on Fridays after the election, spurring thousands of young people to follow suit. Since then, she's met the pope, spoken at Davos and attended anti-coal protests in Germany.

She is now taking a year off school to pursue her activism.


Associated Press

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