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16-yr-old eco warrior wraps up 15-day carbon-free trip

August 29, 2019 11:20 IST

It takes 8 hours on a plane from Plymouth, United Kingdom to New York.

But 16-year-old Greta Thunberg took 15 days to reach the Big Apple as she hitched a ride on a zero-emissions yacht, making the entire trip without leaving a carbon footprint.

IMAGE: Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Thunberg, the teen climate sensation, made the trip across the Atlantic to attend a United Nations climate summit taking place in September.


For the uninitiated, 16-year-old Thunberg has incited students across the globe to strike for the climate. She started skipping school to protest climate inaction outside Swedish Parliament in August 2018. Since then, tens of thousands of young people have joined in on the movement, walking out of class on coordinated “Fridays for the Future.”

Thunberg began her journey to New York on board the Malizia II, a 60-foot yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity onboard. The boat has no shower or toilets.

IMAGE: Thunberg, who chose to sail to avoid using a plane's gas emissions, was greeted by hundreds of activists when she stepped off the yacht near the World Trade Center. She shot into prominence when she would skip school and stand outside Swedish Parliament with this sign reading 'School strike for climate'. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

After landing, Thunberg, looking slightly embarrassed, said "all of this is very overwhelming" of the crowd who welcomed her to Manhattan.

"It is insane that a 16-year-old would have to cross the Atlantic Ocean to make a stand," she said. "The climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and if we don't manage to work together and to cooperate and to work together despite our differences, then we will fail."

IMAGE: The boat used by Thunberg, the Malizia II has its own solar panels and hydro-generators to power the yacht. It however, does not have toilets. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Speaking of her journey on the seas, she was quoted as saying the trip was surprisingly good and that she did not feel sea sick once, despite the choppy waters.

In fact, she said that she will miss the “peace and quiet” she had sailing across the Atlantic, but is looking forward to being dry, and eating food that isn’t freeze-dried after two weeks at sea. 

IMAGE: In addition to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, Thunberg intends to join the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago, Chile, in December. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

She has another journey ahead of her later this year: travelling to Santiago, Chile by bus, train, and boat for another United Nations climate conference in December.

IMAGE: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg made the journey across the Atlantic with her father Svante and skipper Boris Herrmann on board the Malizia yacht from Plymouth, Britain to New York in the United States. Photograph: Team Malizia/Reuters