Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg waves from the 48-foot (15-meter) catamaran La Vagabonde as it departs Salt Ponds in Hampton, Va., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Thunberg left North America on a return trip across the Atlantic hitching a renewable-energy ride with an Australian family aboard their catamaran. (Rob Ostermaier/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Greta Thunberg hitches low-carbon ride across Atlantic

The boat, named La Vagabonde, leaves little to no carbon footprint, and uses solar panels and hydro-generator

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg left North America on a return trip across the Atlantic on Wednesday, hitching a renewable-energy ride with an Australian family aboard their 48-foot (15-meter) catamaran.

Thunberg tweeted that they set sail from Virginia after the family answered her urgent appeal for a ride back to Europe, where she hopes to arrive in time for the United Nations climate meeting that was moved to Madrid in early December. They left shortly before 8 a.m. She encouraged followers to track their journey online.

Their boat, named La Vagabonde, leaves little to no carbon footprint, using solar panels and hydro-generators for power. It also has a toilet, unlike the boat on which she sailed from the United Kingdom to New York in August. That one had only a bucket.

“There are countless people around the world who don’t have access to a toilet,” she said about the upgrade. “It’s not that important. But it’s nice to have.”

Thunberg spoke with The Associated Press Tuesday inside the tight confines of the boat’s cabin as it was docked in Hampton, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

The boat’s owners are Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, an Australian couple who travel the world with their 11-month-old baby, Lenny. The family, which has a large online following, responded to Thunberg’s call on social media for a carbon-free ride to Europe. An expert sailor, Nikki Henderson, also is coming along.

The trip could take two to four weeks, in conditions that could be challenging. November is considered off-season for sailing across the Atlantic. As Thunberg spoke Tuesday, the temperature had dipped into the 30s, with sleet turning to light snow.

But the 16-year-old, who refuses to fly because of the carbon price of plane travel, didn’t seem bothered.

“I’m looking forward to it, just to be able to get away and recap everything and to just be disconnected,” she said.

Thunberg’s nearly three-month trip through North America included her impassioned speech before the United Nations. She joined in climate strike rallies and protests from California to Colorado to North Carolina.

Thunberg has become a symbol of a growing movement of young climate activists after leading weekly school strikes in Sweden that inspired similar actions in about 100 cities worldwide.

She’s also drawn criticism from conservative commentators in the U.S. as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin. But she brushed off the criticism Tuesday, saying that yes, she IS too young to be doing this.

“It should be the adults who take that responsibility,” Thunberg said. “But it feels like the adults and the people in power today are not.”

When she looks back on her time in the U.S. and Canada, Thunberg said, the things that stick out the most include a glacier in Canada’s Jasper National Park that is destined to disappear “no matter what we do.”

A visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where there have been protests over a pipeline, also left an impact.

“I was actually quite surprised to see how bad the indigenous people have been treated,” she said. “They are the ones who are being impacted often the most and first by the climate and ecological crisis. And they are also the ones who are at the front line trying to fight it.”

She also was surprised at how much she was recognized.

“There are always people who come up to me and ask for selfies and so on,” she said. “So, that really gives you an idea of how big the climate movement has reached.”

READ MORE: Adults must protect kids from climate change, Greta Thunberg says during Vancouver rally

Ben Finley, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Fibre installation for South Hazelton begins

Citywest says it will install cable in the summer and home installations in the fall

Annual bird count thrills organizer

Count took place over 48 hours

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read