Greta Thunberg Speaks in New York Following Zero-Emission Transatlantic

24 September 2019 • Written by Miranda Blazeby

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg has attended the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City after completing a zero-emission transatlantic crossing on board the IMOCA 60 racing yacht Malizia II.

She arrived in the city late last month ahead of the summit, which took place on September 23.

Thunberg was greeted with a fanfare of media and supporters and was joined by American youth climate activists upon arrival, including Alexandria Villaseñor, Xiye Bastida and Spencer Berg.

The zero emission Malizia II arrived in New York City on 28 August. Image courtesy of Jen Edney.

The Swedish teen decided to sail to the summit to keep her travel zero-carbon. Skippered by Yacht Club de Monaco vice president Pierre Casiraghi with Boris Herrmann, the 18 metre Malizia II set sail from Plymouth on August 14. Both sailors donated their time and skills in order to help Thunberg cross the Atlantic without having to fly.

During the transatlantic crossing, Thunberg was accompanied by her father Svante Thunberg, and filmmaker Nathan Grossman of B-Reel Films, who has documented the voyage.

Malizia II was skippered by Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann. Image courtesy of Riccardo Pinto.

Conditions on board were basic, as the interior of Malizia II has been specifically optimised for high-speed offshore racing and has an intentionally bare interior. There is no toilet, fixed shower, cooking facilities or proper beds. Meals consisted of freeze-dried vacuum-packed vegan meals, which were prepared with minimum use of energy. The only alterations to the interior of the sailboat were the addition of curtains and more comfortable mattresses.

The entire transatlantic crossing took place under sail. Herrmann revealed the engine on board was “officially sealed off” but was ready to be used in the event of an emergency.

Greta Thunberg and the Malizia II crew. Image courtesy of Jen Edney.

Electric-powered Torqeedo RIBs have helped assist in docking manoeuvres and towing Malizia II in and out of port. Electricity on board was generated by the yacht’s 1.3kW solar system and two hydro generators, which were fixed to the stern of the boat.

Ahead of the crossing, Casiraghi said the journey would be “long and difficult," but he was also filled with optimism.

“I am full of admiration for Greta’s courage; she will never forget this adventure. And what could be more beautiful and important for her than to opt for this crossing and to discover the dimension of the Atlantic Ocean, which plays such a key role in our environment.”

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