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.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg will sail from Europe to north America in August, kicking off a climate tour through the Americas over the next few months.
The sailboat is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to allow for a zero-carbon, trans-Atlantic voyage.
Greta 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.
Greta is taking a sabbatical year from school, and aims to attend a number of events during her time in North America, meeting with people most impacted by the climate and ecological emergency, climate activists, and decision-makers. She also plans to visit Canada and Mexico.
Greta will then travel to the annual UN climate conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile, between December 2-13, with plans to visit other sites in South America that are important in tackling the climate crisis.
Greta doesn’t fly because of the tremendous amount of emissions caused by air travel - emissions that are strongly amplified due to the fact that they are released high-up in the atmosphere. She will therefore choose the least carbon-intensive modes of transportation throughout her travels across the Americas.
After months of research and considering different options for her journey, Greta will sail across the Atlantic in a zero-carbon racing boat called Malizia II, a foiling sailboat built in 2015, which is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity on board the vessel.
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.
The boat will be captained by professional race skipper Boris Herrmann and Malizia team founder Pierre Casiraghi, who have donated their time and skills to help Greta cross the Atlantic without flying. The voyage is jointly organised by Greta, Team Malizia, and B-Reel Films.
The Malizia team also developed the Malizia Ocean Challenge, a project to support ocean climate education and the monitoring of ocean CO2. This project is affiliated with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, a charitable organisation that supports work on environmental and climate change issues.
The boat will depart from the United Kingdom in mid-August and arrive in New York City approximately two weeks later, making no stops on the way. Exact departure and arrival dates will depend on the weather conditions.
Greta said: “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 emergency.
"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.”
Mr Herrmann said: “Greta is amazingly courageous to be standing up against ignorance and injustice regarding the climate crisis. I am not surprised that she considers this trip as something perfectly achievable for her – taking into account her courage in speaking up in a loud and clear way even in front of the most powerful people.
“I am conscious about Pierre‘s and my responsibility. We will make sure she will reach New York in the safest way possible. I am thrilled that our sport ambition and sailing project can play a small but hopefully important role in increasing awareness for the most important challenge humanity faces today.
"I feel humbled that Greta accepted our offer as the lowest-carbon option to cross the Atlantic – despite the lack of comfort for her.”
Mr Casiraghi said: “I believe in increasing awareness about rising global emissions and pollution due to human activity. Convincing Governments and international institutions to make the step and enforce laws that will protect mankind and biodiversity is of utmost importance for the future of humanity.
"Greta is an ambassador who delivers a fundamental message both for our society and for the survival of future generations.
“Team Malizia and I are proud to take Greta across the Atlantic in this challenging mode of transport, unfortunately today this is the only way without fossil fuel emissions. Hopefully this will change in the near future. I respect Greta’s courage to take on this adventure and fully commit, sacrifice, and fight for probably the greatest challenge humanity faces.”
Mr Grossman said:“Like many I have been amazed by Greta and her fight to raise awareness about the climate crisis. In the documentary we get to follow from within how Greta goes from sitting all alone outside the Swedish parliament to becoming a world famous activist.
"On this trip I will capture Greta and the teams strenuous effort to get to the Americas with as little carbon emissions as possible, letting the audience close to both the challenges and beauty of travelling this way.”
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.