The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:00 am

Teen climate activist sets sail for Europe

BEN FINLEY | Associated Press

HAMPTON, Va. – Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg hitched a renewable-energy ride back to Europe on Wednesday, sailing into the Atlantic on a trip she hopes will get her to Madrid in time for another climate conference, then home for the holidays.

Thunberg tweeted as she took to the sea on the 48-foot catamaran of an Australian family that answered her urgent appeal for a low-carbon way home after the United Nations climate meeting she had planned to attend in Chile was moved due to political unrest there.

Before departing, Thunberg reflected on her time in North America during an Associated Press interview in the cabin of the catamaran. Some people in power, she said, lack a sense of urgency when it comes to global warming.

“The situation in Canada and the U.S. is basically the same as to where I come from: It is the same arguments that are being used to delay action. It is the same methods that are being used to mislead people,” she said Tuesday as they prepared to leave Hampton, Virginia, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

After her work in Spain, Thunberg hopes she'll make it home for Christmas.

The boat, named La Vagabonde, leaves little to no carbon footprint when its sails are in use, counting on solar panels and hydro-generators for electricity.

The trip could take two to four weeks, in conditions that could be challenging. November is considered offseason for sailing across the Atlantic. As Thunberg spoke Tuesday, the temperature had dipped into the 30s, with sleet turning to light snow.

Her nearly three-month trip through North America included her impassioned speech before the United Nations. She joined in climate strike rallies and protests from California to Colorado to North Carolina.

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