16-Year Old Climate Activist Will Sail to UN Climate Summit

On September 23 the United Nations will hold its next climate summit in New York City. As that event unfolds, dozens of researchers, dignitaries, and activities will be on hand to discuss how to better protect the environment. They’ll talk about the impact of CO2 emissions on the atmosphere and how these so-called “greenhouse” gases are impacting temperatures across the globe. Most of those attendees will arrive by jet aircraft however, with a surprising number even flying making the trip to New York aboard private planes, helping to contribute to the very emissions they are railing against. But one young activist has found a carbon neutral way to attend the conference, choosing to sail across the Atlantic Ocean instead.

16-year old Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg will set sail from the U.K. in mid-August for NYC, with the voyage taking approximately two weeks to complete. In announcing the sailing journey on her Facebook page, Thunberg says she was offered a ride aboard a 60-foot racing yacht named Malizia II. This will allow her to attend the climate summit, without contributing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Her entire message reads as follows:

“‪Good news!‬
‪I’ll be joining the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, COP25 in Santiago and other events along the way.‬
‪I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II. We’ll be sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to New York in mid August.‬
The science is clear. We must start bending the emissions curve steeply downwards no later than 2020, if we still are to have a chance of staying below a 1,5 degrees of global temperature rise. We still have a window of time when things are in our own hands. But that window is closing fast. That is why I have decided to make this trip now. During the past year, millions of young people have raised their voice to make world leaders wake up to the climate and ecological crisis. Over the next months, the events in New York and Santiago de Chile will show if they have listened. 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. The science is clear and all we children are doing is communicating and acting on that united science. And our demand is for the world to unite behind the science.

Thunberg rose to prominence last year when she began protesting outside the Swedish parliament with a focus on climate change. As those protests continued, her efforts caught the attention of media outlets, turning her into one of the poster children (no pun intended!) for the global warming cause. When given a platform, she encouraged students around the world to skip class to mark their own protests. This led to the founding of Fridays for Future, an organization that continues to rally young people around the world to protest in an effort to raise awareness of climate change. So far, thousands of students from more than 125 countries have taken up the cause.

The young Swede is reportedly taking a sabbatical from school this year to focus on her activism. She’ll not only attend the summit in New York , but will also travel to another such conference in Chile as well. By sailing to these conferences she is helping to reinforce her commitment to the cause and sending a strong message to her supporters too.

The voyage will reportedly begin in about two weeks time.

Kraig Becker