The Swedish teenager known for calling out the leaders of the world for their complete lack of action on climate change has just teamed up with Monaco’s favourite blueblood, Pierre Casiraghi. Together with her father and Nathan Grossman, they have set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a solar-powered sailboat, heading to the UN World Climate Action Summit in September.
Setting an example for those who arrive at a climate summit by airplane, Greta is sailing across the Atlantic with her father, Nathan Grossman and Pierre Casiraghi in a carbon-neutral sailboat.
Greta Thunberg has quickly become the face of the fight against climate change. The 16-year-old created a worldwide movement originating from students striking against world inaction. She was invited to speak at the summit in New York but refused to take a flight to the summit, because of the plane’s carbon emissions.
Pierre Casiraghi responded to her dilemma by offering passage to the US aboard the Malizia II, a zero-emission racing sailboat, sponsored in part by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. In a statement about his commitment to the environment and to help Greta on her mission, he said:
"I believe in bringing 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 the 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 still the only mode 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 of humanity."
They embarked for the 3,000 nautical mile journey to New York on Wednesday 14 August aboard the Malizia, with professional sailor and skipper Boris Hermann, Pierre Casiraghi as co-skipper and Greta's father.
Before setting sail, Greta commented that in the United States, “a lot of people don’t understand or acknowledge science”, she declared before setting sailing, Agence France-Presse reported. “I will do what I’ve always done: ignore those people and state what science says. I intended to create a worldwide opinion movement, so people can gather and convey a message to their leaders around the world.”
Skipper Boris Hermann takes his mission very seriously and the safety of the young Swede is his priority. He said: "Pierre and I are conscious about our responsibility. We will make sure Greta reaches New York in the safest possible way. 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 facing humanity 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."
The Malizia II is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines that generate electricity supplying the navigations instruments, autopilot, watermaker, and a lab to test CO2 levels in the ocean along the way. The only CO2 source onboard is a little gas stove to heat up the water in order to cook vegan dried food. The boat left Plymouth last Wednesday, where Greta suffered motion sickness when leaving the port, but she declared not being afraid of the journey ahead of her. The young girl is grateful to cross the Atlantic for free as she carries on her fight against climate change and to convey an ever-important message around the world: to take care of our planet.
Greta is active on Social Media during the voyage, updating each day. She has reported that she is sleeping well, not suffering from seasickness and that days seem to blend together while out at sea. Overall, she describes the trip as 'camping on a roller coaster!' Here she Tweeted a picture of herself and the crew:
- Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle