ENVIRONMENT

Greta Thunberg, Youth Climate Activist, Will Travel To UN Aboard Zero-Emission Sailboat

"We will make our voices heard," said the Swedish teenager who inspired the Fridays for Future youth movement for climate action.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, will sail across the Atlantic Ocean aboard a zero-emissions racing boat to take part in two United Nations climate summits and several environmental protests later this year, she said on Monday.

Thunberg, who has become a leading figure in the youth movement for climate action, will travel aboard a 60-foot yacht called Malizia II. The boat is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce its own electricity. The journey will take about two weeks, and she’ll be joined by her father, a filmmaker and the boat’s crew.

“During the past year, millions of young people have raised their voice to make world leaders wake up to the climate and ecological emergency. Over the next months, the events in New York and Santiago de Chile will show if they have listened,” Thunberg said in a statement published by Reuters. “Together with many other young people across the Americas and the world, I will be there, even if the journey will be long and challenging. We will make our voices heard. It is our future on the line, and we must at least have a say in it.”

Thunberg in August began skipping school on Fridays to protest worldwide inaction on climate change. Her move sparked an international effort called Fridays for Future that has seen tens of thousands of young people do the same, and she has since spoken to world leaders and policymakers at the World Economic Forum and another U.N. climate conference. She’s also met Pope Francis.

During her visit, Thunberg will take part in two U.N. climate summits, one in New York, and the other in Santiago, Chile, saying the events will be “where our future will be decided.” She’ll also visit Canada and countries in Latin America.

After she reaches the U.S., Thunberg plans to take low-carbon transportation, including trains and buses, to Chile for the U.N.’s annual climate summit.

Thunberg, the Swedish teenager whose social media-savvy brand of eco-activism has inspired tens of thousands of students in E
Thunberg, the Swedish teenager whose social media-savvy brand of eco-activism has inspired tens of thousands of students in Europe to skip classes and protest for faster action against climate change, said she plans to take her message to America the old-fashioned way: by boat.

Thunberg has faced fierce opposition from climate deniers, and it’s unclear how her message will play in the U.S. She told The Associated Press she usually “just ignores” such people and that she didn’t care about “hate and threats from climate crisis deniers.”

“I will just try to go on as I have before,” she said. “Just always refer to the science and we’ll just see what happens.”

Thunberg doesn’t fly, citing the high carbon emissions associated with air travel, and said earlier that she wanted to go to the U.N., but wasn’t sure how she’d get there. She told AP she spent months trying to figure out how to cross the ocean in an environmentally friendly way.

“It’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean,” she wrote on Facebook at the time. “And there are no trains going there. And since I don’t fly, because of the enormous climate impact of aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.”

CONVERSATIONS