Climate activist Greta Thunberg set sail for New York from Plymouth, England, on Wednesday afternoon on a zero-carbon racing yacht.
She is embarking on a climate tour of the Americas, during which she will join large-scale climate demonstrations on September 20 and 27 and speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, hosted by Secretary General António Guterres in New York City on September 23.
"I am one of the very few people in the world who actually can do this, and I think I should take that chance," Thunberg told reporters amid the humming of drones shortly before she boarded the boat.
When asked if she was worried about the reaction she might get from climate deniers in the United States she said she was not. “What I'm concerned about is whether we will do something or not, whether the people in power will react and act with necessary force."
The boat, Malizia II, is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity on board the vessel. The journey will take two weeks.
“I expect it to be challenging sometimes,” Greta said. “I will have to manage that. It’s not a lot. Many people in the world are suffering a lot more than that.”
She is taking board games and books to pass the time and a toy rabbit a friend gave her. Greta will be joined on board the boat by her father Svante Thunberg and filmmaker Nathan Grossman of B-Reel Films, who will document the journey.
Waving her off from the harbour were a group of supporters from Extinction Rebellion. Among them was Ben Isbell who works at a school in Plymouth. “I brought my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter here.
She’s at an age where I look for young women who are role models for her and Greta is right up there,” he said. “The nice thing about Greta is she’s getting on with it whatever. She’s just doing what
she wants to do.”
Marianne Brown is editor of Resurgence & Ecologist.