Greta Thunberg reaches New York to a staggering welcome following 3,000-mile journey by sailboat

She is in New York to attend and speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit next month.


Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has finally set foot on American soil.

After a two-week journey across the Atlantic on a sailing boat — Malizia II, Thunberg was greeted by hundreds of fans and media personnel on her arrival in New York. Chants of "Greta... Greta... Greta... " could be heard from the barricades set up for crowds along the port.

As she passed the Statue of Liberty, her boat was met by a flotilla of 17 sailboats sent by the United Nations. Each boat represented one of its sustainable development goals to end poverty, preserve the environment and prevent climate change by 2030.

She then headed up the Hudson River before docking at North Cove Marina near the World Trade Center, New York.

Greta Thunberg reaches New York to a staggering welcome following 3,000-mile journey by sailboat

Greta Thunberg stands at the helm of the Malizia II as she approaches New York. image credit: Twitter

Thunberg spoke to the media as soon as she got off the boat. She started her speech by saying, “Well, this is all overwhelming and the ground is still shaking.”

She went on to say “The climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and if we don’t manage to work together and to cooperate and to work together despite our differences, then we will fail.”

The teenager undertook a 3,000-nautical mile voyage from the UK to America because she refuses to take an aeroplane. She lives a carbon-neutral life and the greenhouse gases that are emitted from planes do not sit well with her. She is in New York to attend and speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit next month.

Greta on Trump

During her address to the media, Greta spoke about Trump. When asked if she has a message for him, she said, “My message for him is just: listen to the science. And he obviously doesn’t do that. So as I always say to this question: If no one has been able to convince him about the climate crisis, the urgency, then why should I be able to do that? So I am just going to focus on spreading awareness.”

She also pokes fun at him by saying she was "pretty sure" windmills don't cause cancer, in reference to a comment Trump made at a Republican fundraising event in April.

On a previous occasion, when asked if she would be meeting Trump during her trip to America, her answer was very matter of fact. She said, “Why should I waste time talking to him when he, of course, is not going to listen to me?"

Greta’s voyage

Thunberg was offered a ride on the Malizia II, a racing yacht owned by Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of the late Prince of Monaco and Hollywood actress Grace Kelly.

The voyage sparked controversy after a spokesman for co-skipper Boris Herrmann told Berlin newspaper TAZ that two people would fly into New York to help take the yacht back to Europe. Hermann himself will also return by plane, according to the spokesman.

Team Malizia's manager insisted, though, that the young activist's journey would be climate neutral, as the flights would "be offset: and that there is no “perfect solution” with regard to sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Greta Thunberg poses for a picture onboard the Malizia II. Image credit: Twitter

Greta Thunberg poses for a picture aboard the Malizia II. Image credit: Twitter

During the two week voyage, Thunberg endured rough seas and cramped conditions but said she never felt seasick once. She ate freeze-dried food and used a bucket as a toilet.

"It's insane that a 16-year-old has to cross the Atlantic Ocean to make a stand. This, of course, is not something that I want everyone to do," she said, smiling.

The Malizia II yacht left Plymouth in southern England on 14 August, and the teenager marked the first anniversary of the start of her school strike on 20 August.

The 18-meter yacht is very environment-friendly. It has solar panels built on its deck and sides. It also has two hydro-generators that power all the instruments and gadgets on the boat.

American plans

Thunberg has been accompanied by her father, Swedish author Svante Thunberg and a cameraman/documentary filmmaker Nathan Grossman. She said her father did not want to take this journey but, “He had to, because I had made up my mind I was going to go and he has to take care of me. He didn’t want to, but I sort of forced him to do it and I think he’s happy he did it.”

Thunberg does not know how she will go back home. But that is still a long way off. She has taken a one-year sabbatical from school to travel and spread awareness about climate change.

A selfie of the crew aboard the Malizia II. Image credit: Twitter

A selfie of the crew aboard the Malizia II. Image credit: Twitter

Currently, her plans include getting some rest and taking a shower. She is also looking forward to eating fresh vegetables and not freeze-dried food. She will then join other youngsters striking outside the UN on Friday.

She then plans on visiting other states and countries across America. She will be heading to Canada, Mexico and then to Chile for another UN conference in December.

With input from agencies 

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