Swedish teen climate activist reaches New York by boat for UN summit , Latest World News - The New Paper

Swedish teen climate activist reaches New York by boat for UN summit

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NEW YORK: Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed into New York Harbour on Wednesday in a zero-carbon emission vessel, completing her nearly 14-day journey from England to take part in a United Nations climate summit.

The 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, who set sail from Plymouth, England, on Aug 14, was greeted by cheers, chants and singing as her silver sailboat, the Malitzia II, cruised past the Statue of Liberty through choppy waves and rain to drop anchor in Manhattan's yacht harbour.

"All of this is very overwhelming and the ground is still shaking for me," a seemingly bashful Greta, clad in a dark blue jumpsuit, told a gathering of reporters and activists who greeted her and the crew of the Malitzia II on land.

"It is insane that a 16-year-old had to cross the Atlantic Ocean to make a stand on the climate crisis.

"This, of course, is not something I want everyone to do," she said.

Greta made her trans-Atlantic journey carbon emission-free by travelling on a 18.3m yacht, which is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity onboard, along with a large black sail carrying the message: "Unite behind the science."

The boat has no shower or toilet, and those aboard including Greta's father and crew members ate cold canned food throughout the trip.

Greta, who first drew international attention last year when she started missing school on Fridays to protest against political inaction on climate change, said she planned to take part in a demonstration outside the UN in New York.

But first, she said, she planned to "eat fresh food, not freeze dried, not be wet and to clean myself".

Peppered with questions from reporters about her message for US President Donald Trump, a climate change sceptic, Greta suggested she was not interested in butting heads with the Republican.

"My message for him is just listen to the science, but he obviously doesn't do that. No one has been able to convince him of climate change, the urgency, why should I be able to do that?" she said.

"So I am just going to focus on spreading awareness." - REUTERS