16-year-old Greta Thunberg is sailing 13 days across the Atlantic to speak at a climate conference in New York. Here's why she won't just dial in.

ReutersSwedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg waves on board her boat in Plymouth, England, shortly before starting her transatlantic trip to New York on Wednesday.
  • Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg is travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas via boat because she refuses to board aeroplanes due to their high carbon footprint.
  • She will attend climate conferences in New York and Santiago, as well as meet people around the US, Canada, and Mexico.
  • She told journalists on Wednesday that while she could have dialed into those meetings instead of making the arduous journey, virtual appearances “don’t get any attention at all.”
  • Being there in person “will do more good,” she added as she prepared to begin her almost two-week-long journey to the US.
  • She also reiterated her refusal to meet President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

PLYMOUTH, England – Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas, where she plans to meet world leaders and attend climate conferences in New York and Santiago, Chile.

Her journey will take 13 days, and involves eating freeze-dried food, not showering, and going to the bathroom in a bucket.

Her first stop is the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, where she is scheduled to speak with international leaders, then travel throughout the US, Canada, and South America. She also plans to attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile in December.

When asked on Wednesday why she’s taking the arduous, 3,500-nautical-mile journey instead of dialling in from home, she simply said virtual appearances “don’t get any attention at all.”

“Of course I can [dial in] and I have attended several conferences and meetings by video link, but unfortunately my experience is that those attendances don’t get any attention at all,” she said.

“I have been invited there to speak. I have not been invited there to speak on link,” she added. “I think it will do more good than if I and the young people were actually there by video link.”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the school strike demonstration Fridays for future in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)Paul Zinken/dpa via APThunberg speaks Berlin, Germany, in July 2019. She says she’s attended many meetings via video link before, but would rather go in person.

Thunberg and her crewmates – her father Svante, professional sailors Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, and filmmaker Nathan Grossman – will sail north toward Greenland and down the coast of eastern Canada and New New England, Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported.

Their boat, a schooner named Malizia II, runs on solar-power and underwater turbines, thereby generating electrical power with zero carbon emissions.


Read more:
Here’s what Greta Thunberg’s zero-emissions journey looks like.

Thunberg and Herrmann said Wednesday that they don’t expect everyone to follow their example and spurn air travel, but that they hope that it will persuade people to use alternative modes of transportation that don’t use fossil fuels.

The teenager refuses to board any aeroplanes because of their high carbon footprint, and typically travels by train when moving around Europe.

Alexandra Ma/Business InsiderThunberg speaking to journalists in Plymouth shortly before her sailing trip on Wednesday.

Thunberg on Wednesday reiterated her refusal to meet US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change and whose administration is reportedly preventing climate assessments from being published.

“I’m not that special, I can’t convince everyone,” Thunberg told journalists Wednesday, when asked whether she believes she can persuade Trump on climate change.

“Instead of talking to me and to the school striking children and teenagers, they should be talking to actual scientists and experts in this area,” she added, referring to White House officials.

Thunberg also slammed many companies’ corporate climate change policies, telling Business Insider on Wednesday that no company on Earth currently has a good enough carbon emissions strategy.

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