Cli­mate ac­tivist ar­rives in New York af­ter cross­ing At­lantic in so­lar sail­boat

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Canada & World - VERENA DOBNIK

NEW YORK — A 16-year-old Swedish cli­mate ac­tivist who crossed the At­lantic in a zero-emis­sions sail­boat an­chored in waters off New York City on Wed­nes­day as she pre­pared to land at a down­town ma­rina.

Greta Thun­berg and her crew were ex­pected to ar­rive in lower Man­hat­tan in mid-af­ter­noon af­ter a two-week transAt­lantic cross­ing from Ply­mouth, Eng­land.

As she ap­proached New York’s har­bour be­fore dawn, Thun­berg tweeted her ex­cite­ment, say­ing “Land!! The lights of Long Is­land and New York City ahead.”

The teenager re­fused to fly to avoid a plane’s car­bon emis­sions. The sail­boat’s on­board elec­tron­ics are pow­ered by so­lar pan­els and un­der­wa­ter tur­bines.

Thun­berg has be­come a sym­bol of a grow­ing move­ment of young cli­mate ac­tivists. Ac­tion against cli­mate change was a theme of weekly protests she’s led in Swe­den that in­spired stu­dent strikes in about 100 cities world­wide.

Thun­berg is in New York to at­tend a global warm­ing con­fer­ence. Next month, she’s plan­ning to speak at the United Na­tions Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit, join­ing world lead­ers who will present plans to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions.

The boat car­ry­ing Thun­berg, the Mal­izia II, en­coun­tered rough seas that slowed it down for a day. Tak­ing turns steer­ing the 18-me­tre rac­ing yacht were yachts­man Boris Her­rmann and Pierre Casir­aghi, the grand­son of Monaco’s late Prince Rainier III and Amer­i­can ac­tress Grace Kelly.

Thun­berg be­came a Euro­pean celebrity last year when she re­fused to go to school in the weeks be­fore Swe­den’s gen­eral elec­tion to high­light the im­pact of cli­mate change.

She con­tin­ued her school strike on Fri­days af­ter the elec­tion, spurring thou­sands of young peo­ple to fol­low suit. Since then, she’s met Pope Fran­cis, spo­ken at Davos and at­tended anti-coal protests in Ger­many.

She is now tak­ing a year off school to pur­sue her ac­tivism.

CRAIG RUTTLE THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Swedish teen Greta Thun­berg, 16, is all smiles as she sails into New York har­bour aboard the Mal­izia II on Wed­nes­day. She is sched­uled to ad­dress a UN cli­mate sum­mit Sept. 23.

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