Climate change poster girl Greta Thunberg, 16, prepares to sets sail for New York

  • Aug 14, 2019
  • Daily Mail Australia

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she will not waste her time speaking to President Donald Trump as she heads across the Atlantic on a racing yacht to attend UN summits on tackling global warming.

The 16-year-old said Mr Trump has ignored scientists and other experts about global warming, so she saw no reason why he would listen to her.

'I don't see that if anyone else has succeeded... I am not that special.'

She said: 'I can't convince everyone and instead of speaking to me and the school-striking children and teenagers they should be talking to actual scientists and experts in this area.

'There's always going to be people who don't understand or accept the united science, and I will just ignore them, as I'm only acting and communicating on the science.

'I have just decided I'm going to do everything I can, that keeps me going, the dedication I will do everything I can.

'Also, the fact that some things are actually changing, I think the mindsets of many people are changing, even if it's not enough, and not fast enough, that's something, it's not for nothing.'

She added: 'Of course there are climate delayers who want to do everything to shift the focus of the climate crisis to something else or want to make people question the science.

'I'm not worried about that and I'm just going to do as I want to do and what I think will have most impact.'

Mr Trump has previously described concerns about climate change as 'bullshit' and suggested global warming was a hoax created by China to hit US manufacturing.

Greta's 'school strikes' have inspired a global protest movement by young people demanding urgent action on climate change.

The Swede is making the trip across the Atlantic on a high-tech racing yacht, the Malizia II, so she can attend high-profile climate events in the US and Chile.

Greta, who is taking a sabbatical year from school, will be joining large-scale climate demonstrations and speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit hosted by secretary-general Antonio Guterres in New York in September.

The climate change activist has ruled out flying on a plane for the trip because on average, a plane produces a little over 53 pounds of carbon dioxide per air mile.

For example, non-stop flights from London to New York City take between 8 to 10 hours based on the airline.

There are 3,470 miles between London and the Big Apple. When that number is multiplied by 53 it equates to about 183,910 pounds of emissions per flight between the two cities.

Thunberg also refuses to travel aboard a cruise ship because they're notoriously big polluters.

Most cruises travel from the East Coast of the US to the UK – usually England. By sea, it will take six or seven days in transit, and sometimes longer.

A single large cruise ship can emit over five tons of oxides of nitrogen.

Thunberg has opted to take on the Atlantic on a high-tech yacht, known as the Malizia II.

The journey from the UK to New York will take approximately two weeks on the Malizia II.

The boat is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that allow it to generate zero-carbon electricity on board

She is also planning to visit Canada and Mexico before travelling to this year's UN climate conference, which is taking place in Santiago, Chile, in December, making her journeys by train and bus.

The two-week sailing trip means she can attend the summits without using planes or cruise ships which cause greenhouse gas emissions.

She said her adventure would have challenges including seasickness but said many people in the world were suffering a lot more than that.

To keep herself occupied during the journey she has books, board games and a rabbit teddy bear, which was a gift from a friend.

'I was test sailing two days ago and we went out for several hours. I didn't feel bad or anxious, I felt seasick for about one or two minutes, then it stopped,' she said.

'I will just have to see, get on the boat and see what happens, and that is also very exciting.

'I've never done anything like this before, I can't really say what's going to be the biggest challenge, I will have to find that out.

'I think this trip will be quite an adventure and a very new experience for me and I expect it to be challenging sometimes but also good most of the time.'

Greta was speaking at a press conference in Plymouth, Devon, before setting sail on Thursday afternoon.

The first anniversary of her protest movement will happen next week while she is on board the yacht.

The youngster is crossing the Atlantic in the 60ft sailing yacht, which is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate zero-carbon electricity on board.

The vessel is captained by Boris Herrmann, and Greta will also be accompanied on the two-week journey by a filmmaker, her father Svante and Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco's late Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly.

The 60-foot boat is skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, vice president of the Monaco Yacht Club and a member of the principality's ruling family, and German round-the-world sailor Boris Herrmann.

The journey takes about two weeks - the yacht can travel at speeds of around 43mph but will be heading into the wind for much of the time so will be slower, and the captain wants a smooth ride.

'The objective is to arrive safe and sound in New York,' Herrmann said as he made final preparations in Plymouth.

The yacht is made for racing, with foils, or wings, that lift it out of the water for a faster and smoother ride.

Inside it is sparse, fitted with high-tech navigation equipment, an on-board ocean laboratory to monitor CO2 levels in the water, and four bunks - Herrmann and Casiraghi will share one, sleeping in turns.

The toilet is a blue plastic bucket, complete with a biodegradable bag that can be thrown overboard, and meals will be freeze-dried packets of vegan food mixed with water heated on a tiny gas stove.

But state-of-the-art solar panels adorn the yacht's deck and sides while there are two hydro-generators, which together provide all the electricity they need on board.

Thunberg has never sailed before this week, and got seasick on their first journey out of Plymouth on Monday, but said she was looking forward to the adventure.

The teenager, who has spent hours on trains across Europe to spread her message, was relaxed about the basic conditions.

'You can't really ask for that much if you get to sail across the Atlantic for free,' she said, adding: 'I am grateful for what I have.'

The youth-led climate protests which kicked off across the world were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who went on a three-week school strike outside her country's parliament in summer last year.

Born to a professional opera singer mother, the pigtailed 16-year-old developed her interest in climate change aged nine after watching a film on the effects of plastic.

What began as a lone fight in August last year outside the Swedish parliament spread all over the world and involved more than 100,000 schoolchildren in 112 different countries.

The movement was called Fridays For Future and consisted of students taking every Friday off to demand government action on the climate issue.

Greta has Asperger's and ADHD but has often spoken on how her conditions have acted as a motivator instead of a source of depression, which she said they once were.

Since her first strike last year at the age of 15, Greta has gone on to talk about the possible solutions to combat climate change at rallies in Stockholm, Helsinki, Brussels and London. Every conference she has attended she has travelled by train, bus or cycled in an effort to keep her carbon footprint low.

Over the last few years she has convinced her family to make drastic changes in order to help save the planet including refusing to fly on planes, growing their own vegetables and not eating meat.

Greta was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by members of Norway's Parliament for her work and determination, and she received the freedom of expression, Fritt Ord Prize, in April.

Greta is setting sail on 60ft racing boat Malizia II to get to this year's UN Climate Action Summit in New York and the COP25 climate change conference in Santiago.

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