Car­bon-free ride for cli­mate ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg as she sails for Spain

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Swedish cli­mate ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg left North Amer­ica yes­ter­day on her re­turn trip across the At­lantic on board a 15-me­tre cata­ma­ran whose pas­sen­gers in­clude an 11-month-old baby.

The sail­boat leaves lit­tle to no car­bon foot­print and is fit­ted with so­lar pan­els and a hy­dro­elec­tric gen­er­a­tor for power.

It also has a toi­let, un­like the boat on which the teenager sailed from the UK to New York in Au­gust. That one had only a bucket.

“There are count­less peo­ple around the world who don’t have ac­cess to a toi­let,” she said about the up­grade.

“It’s not that im­por­tant. But it’s nice to have.”

She is hitch­ing a ride to Spain in hopes of at­tend­ing a UN cli­mate meet­ing in Madrid in early De­cem­ber.

The own­ers of the boat are Ri­ley Whitelum and Elayna Ca­rausu, an Aus­tralian cou­ple who have an 11-month-old son.

The cou­ple, who have a large on­line fol­low­ing, re­sponded to Greta’s call on so­cial me­dia for a car­bon-free ride to Europe.

An ex­pert sailor, Nikki Hen­der­son, is also mak­ing the trip.

The jour­ney could take two to four weeks, and Novem­ber is con­sid­ered off sea­son for sail­ing across the At­lantic. The tem­per­a­ture dipped on Tues­day as sleet turned into light snow.

But Greta, who re­fuses to fly be­cause of the car­bon price of plane travel, did not seem both­ered.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to it, just to be able to get away and re­cap ev­ery­thing and to just be dis­con­nected,” she said.

Greta re­cently com­pleted an al­most three-month trip through North Amer­ica, where she gave an im­pas­sioned speech at the UN and took part in cli­mate strike ral­lies and protests from Cal­i­for­nia to Colorado and North Carolina.

She has be­come a sym­bol of a grow­ing move­ment of young cli­mate ac­tivists af­ter lead­ing weekly school strikes in Swe­den that in­spired sim­i­lar ac­tions in about 100 cities world­wide.

She has also drawn crit­i­cism from con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tors in the US as well as Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

But she brushed off the crit­i­cism dur­ing in­ter­views on Tues­day, say­ing that yes, she is too young to be do­ing this.

“It should be the adults who take that re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Greta said. “But it feels like the adults and the peo­ple in power to­day are not.”

AFP

Swedish teenager Greta Thun­berg left the US yes­ter­day to at­tend a UN cli­mate change meet­ing in Madrid in early De­cem­ber

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