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Greta Thunberg American sailing tour
via Instagram (@gretathunberg)

Greta Thunberg will sail from Europe to America for her climate tour

The teenage climate activist is embarking on a trans-Atlantic voyage, the least carbon-intensive form of travel she can take

16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has announced her plans to sail from Europe to the United States later this summer, where she will kick off an American climate demo tour.

Thunberg, from Sweden, will set sail on her trans-Atlantic voyage from mid-August, using a sailboat fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that allow for zero-carbon travel. The climate campaigner and leader of the world-spanning school strikes does not fly because of air travel emissions, instead using the least carbon-intensive ways like sailing and train travel.

“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,” she said in a statement. “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.”

According to a press release, Thunberg is taking a sabbatical year off from school to complete the tour. She will firstly join large-scale climate demonstrations on September 20 and 27 in the US, then speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. Throughout the tour, she will join a number of protests and meet with other climate activists, state lawmakers, and people most impacted by the current climate emergency. Then, Thunberg plans to visit Canada and Mexico, then go on to attend the UN climate conference in Santiago, Chile from December 2-13, then head across South America on tour.

Her father, Svante, and filmmaker Nathan Grossman, who will document the trip, will accompany Thunberg on the joint venture with Swedish film company B-Reel Films and racing sailing team Team Malizia. 

The zero-carbon racing boat that will carry the campaigner, called Malizia II, generates its on electricity from solar panels and underwater turbines. The journey will begin in the UK in August, with plans to arrive in New York two weeks later, although the timings all depend on the weather conditions.

“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,” Thunberg added.

Last week, The 1975 debuted a song featuring a rousing speech by Thunberg, with all proceeds from the song’s sales going to Extinction Rebellion.