Nov 13, 2019

Greta Thunberg to sail from U.S. en route to UN climate summit in Spain

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in Hampton, Va., on Tuesday aboard La Vagabonde, the boat she's taking to return to Europe. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg says she can attend the United Nations' climate summit in Spain after all — she's due to set sail across the Atlantic aboard an Australian couple's 48-foot catamaran from Hampton, Va., on Wednesday morning.

The big picture: Thunberg won't fly because of the carbon footprint of air transport. Madrid stepped in to host the Dec. 2–13 UN climate summit after Chile canceled last minute owing to national protests over economic instability.

  • Thunberg requested assistance to attend the talks following the announcement, saying: "It turns out I've traveled half around the world, the wrong way."

What they're saying: Aussies Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, who are documenting their voyage around the world via their Youtube channel "Sailing La Vagabonde," said in a joint statement with Thunberg they decided to help because Thunberg's climate cause is one that's close to their hearts.

  • Thunberg said in the statement that finding a boat "ready to sail back across the North Atlantic in late November is not easy."
  • "But it's amazing to see how many people there are who are willing to help, like Riley, Elayna and Nikki," she said. "By sailing I once again want to highlight the fact that it’s basically impossible to live sustainable in today's societies."

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