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Voyage of Greta Thunberg

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in August 2019 to attend climate conferences in New York City and Chile. She sailed from Plymouth, England, to New York City, United States, aboard the Malizia II, a racing yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was announced as a carbon neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of her declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions.

The voyage lasted 15 days, from 14 to 28 August 2019. Thunberg planned to attend both the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York and the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago, Chile, and to stay in the Americas for nine months.


Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg is a Swedish student who is credited with raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change and holding politicians accountable for their lack of action on what she and other activists and scientists see as a "climate crisis." At the start of the 2018–2019 school year, Thunberg began spending school days outside the Swedish Parliament demanding aggressive action to reduce the risks from future global warming. In various places around the world, others soon joined her protests and Thunberg started giving speeches to various assemblies of government leaders. However, she has renounced at least one award and numerous speaking invitations to reduce her own carbon footprint; Thunberg does not fly except for emergency cases.[1]


In April 2019, Thunberg was contemplating what she would do if she were invited to speak at either the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York or the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile. Appearing at either event would require her to travel across the Atlantic Ocean. She told reporters that although she would not fly, she might sail by way of container ship, since she believed that would have the smallest carbon footprint.[2]

On 31 May 2019, Greta Thunberg announced during a Fridays for Future event in Vienna, Austria, that she would take a sabbatical year from school (as compulsory education in Sweden ends at 16), and instead attend the climate conferences in America.[3]

By June 2019 she had received invitations and shared with reporters her determination but lack of specific plans.[4] Shortly after, the crew of the Malizia II, a monohull sailing yacht, offered passage to Thunberg and her father, Svante Thunberg, on board their vessel.[5]

The trip was announced as a carbon neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of Thunberg's declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions. A flight to New York would have added close to 1,000 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while cruise ships often leave an even larger carbon footprint.[6][7][8]

Trans Atlantic voyage

The Malizia II is an 18 m (60 ft) racing yacht that was built for round-the-world challenges. Solar panels and underwater turbines generate the power for lighting and communication. Designed for speed rather than luxury, conditions range from basic to difficult, for example the boat has no kitchen, toilet, or shower.[8]The yacht carries a sail marked with #FridaysforFuture[9] while its mainsail is emblazoned with "Unite Behind the Science."[10]

During the trip, Thunberg and Boris Herrmann communicated with the world outside using social media. As 16 and 23 August were Fridays, Thunberg stood with her "Skolstrejk för klimatet" sign onboard both those days.[11]

In response to the initial trip announcement's calling the voyage "carbon neutral", critics observed that several people were to fly into New York to help with the yacht's return trip and that the co-skipper would fly back as well. A spokesperson said the flights would "be offset." Thunberg has said that she does not yet know how she will return when it is time for her to leave.[12]

In a September 2019 interview with Democracy Now, she mentioned her experiences from the voyage included encountering dolphins and seeing stars of the Milky Way band in the night sky.[13]

Completion of voyage

The 3,500 nautical mile journey lasted 15 days, commencing from Plymouth on 14 August 2019 and reaching New York City on 28 August, one day later than the anticipated arrival date due to rough seas. Upon arriving Thunberg was greeted by hundreds of supporters and over a hundred fellow American climate youth strikers including 14-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor and 17-year-old Xiye Bastida. Bastida is one of the organizers of Fridays for Future New York City, and Villaseñor founded the climate change education group Earth Uprising. Following a short speech, Thunberg held a brief question/answer session. When asked for a message for President Trump she replied, "Listen to the science, he obviously doesn't do that."[14]

Thunberg plans to stay in the Americas to attend the 2019 UN Climate conference in Chile. As of 29 August 2019, Thunberg said she did not know how she would return to Europe,[15] and it was unclear how long she would stay in the Americas. In July the BBC reported she intends to stay for nine months,[5] and in August The i described her stay as four months.[15]


  1. ^ Tara Law. "Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Arrives in New York After Sailing Across the Atlantic". TIME. (28 August 2019).
  2. ^ Sengupta, Somini (18 February 2019). "Becoming Greta: 'Invisible Girl' to Global Climate Activist, With Bumps Along the Way". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Greta Thunberg tar sabbatsår för klimatet". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 31 May 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to take gap year". The Local (Sweden's News in English). 1 June 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.“Since I don’t fly, I have to cross the Atlantic another way. I have not really figured it out yet, but I’ll get there one way or another. At least, I want to try any way I can,” she told Dagens Nyheter.
  5. ^ a b "Greta Thunberg to sail to climate conferences". BBC News. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  6. ^ Boris Herrmann Racing. "The Yacht | Boris Herrmann Racing -+".
  7. ^ "Greta Thunberg's Transatlantic Sailing Trip Is Seriously Carbon-Neutral". CleanTechnica. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  8. ^ a b Watts, Jonathan (14 August 2019). "Greta Thunberg sets sail for New York on zero-carbon yacht". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Greta Thunberg to sail the Atlantic for UN summit". France 24. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  10. ^ Parker, Claire (15 August 2019). "Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is sailing to America amid a storm of online attacks". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  11. ^ Joshua Nevett (28 August 2019). "Greta Thunberg". BBC. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Greta Thunberg's yacht due in New York on Tuesday". France24. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  13. ^ "An Hour with 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg". Democracy Now. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  14. ^ transcript. "Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Arrives in NYC to Fight "Biggest Crisis Humanity Has Ever Faced" S". Democracy Now. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  15. ^ a b Anderson, Jasmine (29 August 2019). "Greta Thunberg: what the activist will actually do in America, and how she plans on getting home". The i newspaper. Retrieved 3 September 2019.

External links

Media related to Voyage and visit to the Americas of Greta Thunberg at Wikimedia Commons