Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg prepares to sail to the US to avoid flying

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg prepares to sail to the US to avoid flying

FILE PHOTO: R20 Austrian World Summit
FILE PHOTO: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna, Austria, May 28, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo)

LONDON: Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will set sail for New York this week, crossing the Atlantic in a racing yacht to join protests in the United States and take part in a United Nations summit.

To avoid travelling by air, Thunberg is making her trans-Atlantic trip on board the 18 metre yacht, the Malizia II, fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity onboard, with the aim of making the journey zero-carbon.

On Monday (Aug 12), Thunberg tweeted a picture of herself on board the boat with the caption: "Test sailing off the English coast today!"

Earlier this month, the boat's skipper told Reuters the 16-year-old activist, who has become a figurehead for young environmental protesters, faced an uncomfortable voyage on board the yacht which is designed for speed rather than luxury.

There are no showers or toilets - those on board have to use a blue bucket.

"Greta taking on this challenge of sailing across on a race boat with zero comfort really shows her commitment to the cause and how far she’s willing to push herself," Boris Herrmann said.

He said they will try to make the journey as smooth as possible.

"By stopping flying you not only reduce your own carbon footprint but also that sends a signal to other people around you that the climate crisis is a real thing," Thunberg said.

Thunberg is due to depart this week from an as-yet undisclosed location in Britain and will be accompanied by her father, Svante, and a cameraman on the journey.

A handout picture taken near Lorient shows the zero-emissions sailboat Malizia II
A handout picture taken near Lorient shows the zero-emissions sailboat Malizia II (Photo: Reuters)

READ: Want to do more to fight climate change? Cut down on driving, buying stuff and eating meat

When she arrives, she will join the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September and the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago, Chile in December.

"Me speaking to the UN is not going to change the situation but if that can help to create awareness ... then I think that together we can try to ... make a change," Thunberg said on a visit to a German anti-coal protest camp on Friday.

Source: Reuters/nr

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