The swedish climate activist greta thunberg has set off for the USA on board an ocean-going sailing yacht. Together with the two professional sailors boris herrmann and pierre casiraghi, the 16-year-old set sail from plymouth, england.
The yacht "malizia" will now take her to new york in just under two weeks. After a year of climate protests in stockholm and other european cities, thunberg wants to take her advocacy against the climate crisis overseas to a new level.
The start of thunberg’s rough voyage falls almost exactly on the anniversary of the start of her protest action: on 20. August 2018, the then 15-year-old had sat down in front of the stockholm reichstag to call for a more spirited climate policy by sweden as well as adherence to the paris climate targets. The protest action has evolved into the international climate protection movement fridays for future.
"In the beginning, my voice was not heard," the young swedish woman said at a press conference in plymouth on wednesday shortly before departure. "I kept trying until i found my way so that people would listen to me. You have to be creative."
Thunberg travels across the atlantic to take part in major climate demonstrations and the UN climate summit in new york in september. In december, the annual world climate conference will be held in chile. She also wants to meet those affected by the climate crisis, environmental activists and decision-makers in the u.S. Visits to canada and mexico are also planned.
Thunberg also wants to campaign for better climate policy in the u.S. At the press conference, however, she denied the question of whether she had the power to change U.S. President donald trump’s mind on the climate issue. "I don’t tell anyone what to do or what not to do."
Thunberg does not fly because air travel emits immense amounts of greenhouse gases. That’s why she had been looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative for the trip to america for a long time. At the end of july, she announced her intention to sail across the atlantic on the "malizia. The boat is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines that generate the electricity needed on board.
Herrmann said of the joint trip: "we realize that not everyone can sail across the sea on a high-tech yacht (…) but everyone can start to make a difference in their own backyard. And with many small steps we can achieve something."
Traveling with thunberg and the two professional sailors are thunberg’s father svante and filmmaker nathan grossman, who is planning a documentary about the tour. They won’t have much comfort – the "malizia" is equipped for ocean racing and offers hardly any space below deck for the travelers. A plastic bucket serves as a toilet.
Thousands of mainly young people have been protesting regularly for months for more climate protection. In germany, too, many schoolchildren and students, as well as scientists and other supporters, follow thunberg’s example and take to the streets on fridays as part of the fridays for future protests.
Thunberg’s goal is to rapidly reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases so that the increase in the global earth temperature can still be limited to less than 1.5 degrees celsius. To date, the temperature has risen by just under 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial age. The world must heed the findings of research and act in the fight against the climate crisis, demands thunberg.
German federal minister of the environment heiko maas wished the young climate activist a safe journey on her trip across the atlantic. He praised the fact that so many young people are getting involved in climate protection in toronto on wednesday. "It’s about the future of these people, they also want to have something left from the world they live in. And in this respect i wish greta a good trip."
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