Youth climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg set sail yesterday from Plymouth, UK for her carbon-neutral journey across the Atlantic. She’ll arrive in New York in about two weeks’ time, ready to embark upon a series of appearances across the Americas. Thunberg and a small crew, including her father, are traveling on a racing yacht outfitted with solar panels, no refrigeration, no heat, no plumbing, underwater turbines that generate electricity, and a backup emergency generator in case the need arises. To eat, the crew has packed freeze-dried vegan rations that reconstitute with boiling water.
“Most people would say, ‘I don’t know that scares me,’” said Captain Boris Hermann. It’s not typical for a yacht of this size — a 60-foot Malizia II — to carry inexperienced passengers, but Hermann suggested that Thunberg’s fearlessness is precisely why she has been such an effective advocate for climate action. Prior to the journey, Thunberg expressed excitement, though she admitted that she has realistic expectations for what it will be like to be on the waves for a 3,500 nautical mile journey. “I feel a bit seasick, and it’s not going to be comfortable — but that I can live with.” She has emphasized that she’s not trying to make an example of herself in this undertaking. Rather, she’s taking this extraordinary opportunity to do something that very few people in the world are able to do.
Although Thunberg will speak at the UN climate summit in New York City on September 23rd, her goal isn’t to reach President Trump with her message; she’s not holding her breath for that one. “If no one else has succeeded, I’m not that special,” she explained to The Telegraph. “I can’t convince everyone, so instead of speaking to me and to the school striking children and teenagers, he should be talking to actual scientists and experts in this area.”
She said that she plans on ignoring people who ignore the science, since her entire movement is based on scientific consensus. (By the way, the sails on the yacht read Unite Behind the Science.) “There are climate delayers who want to do everything to shift the focus from the climate crisis to something else, or want to make people question the science,” she told reporters. “I’m not worried about that. I’m just going to do as I want to do and what I think will have most impact.”