Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York on Wednesday after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-emissions sailboat to attend a conference on global warming.
The 16-year-old Swede set sail from Plymouth, England, on Aug. 14. At 4 a.m., she tweeted:
Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead. pic.twitter.com/OtDyQOWtF5
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 28, 2019
Thunberg came to the U.S. for the U.N. climate summit and chose to sail rather than fly to avoid the greenhouse gas emissions that come with commercial jet travel.
Thunberg said she first learned about climate change when she was 8 years old and became very concerned about the future of humanity.
A few years later, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and selective mutism. “That basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary,” she told the audience at a TED Talk last year. “Now is one of those moments.”
In August 2018, Thunberg stopped attending school on Fridays and took to protesting alone outside the Swedish parliament. She called it a strike intended to draw attention to climate change.
Thousands of students have since taken up her cause around the world, staying out of school on Fridays and demanding adults do something about climate change.
The boat carrying Thunberg, the Malizia II, has the hashtag #FridaysForFuture under “UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE” inscribed on the sails.
The sailboat’s onboard electronics are powered by solar panels and underwater turbines. It has no toilet or fixed shower aboard, no windows below deck and only a small gas cooker to heat up freeze-dried food.
Thunberg’s boat was greeted by a flotilla of 17 sailboats representing each of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals on their sails.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Thunberg on Twitter:
Welcome to New York, @gretathunberg!
The determination and perseverance shown during your journey should embolden all of us taking part in next month’s #ClimateAction Summit.
We must deliver on the demands of people around the world and address the global climate crisis. pic.twitter.com/dGUZr9fFQM
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 28, 2019
Thunberg will speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit next month and then attend a climate summit in Chile in December. She is taking a year off from school to pursue her activism.