Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, embarked in the racing sailboat Malizia II from Plymouth in the United Kingdom two weeks ago on the trip to the U.S. to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which is scheduled to take place in September at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York.
Thunberg launched her campaign for action on climate change just last August, when she sat outside of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm holding a sign inscribed with the phrase, “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (School Strike for Climate). In the year since, she helped to organize a March 15 strike believed to have been joined by 1.6 million people in 133 countries; met with world leaders, including Pope Frances; and was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Thunberg has drawn attention to the greenhouse gas emissions caused by air travel. In Sweden, she is credited for the spread of “flygskam”––flight shame––which reports say may have encouraged some Swedes to avoid traveling by plane.
The Malizia II is a 60-foot vessel is designed to be emission-free, and is equipped with solar panels, hydro-generators and an onboard lab for measuring CO2 levels and other information about the surface of the ocean.
The teen set sail two weeks ago with a small group, including her father, Svante Thunberg, and co-skippers Pierre Casiraghi––grandson of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and Grace Kelly––and professional sailor Boris Herrmann, who has travelled around the world three times and made “countless” journeys across the Atlantic, according to Herrmann’s website.
As the vessel was designed for racing, it was built for speed––but not comfort. Herrmann’s website acknowledges that the boat lacks many amenities, including cooking facilities, a toilet and a shower, although “comfortable mattresses” were added for Thunberg’s voyage.
Thunberg, who has documented each day of the boat’s voyage on social media, posted a darkened photo of the shore early on Wednesday morning.
“Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead,” Thunberg wrote.