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Crowds Gather in New York to Welcome Greta Thunberg After Atlantic Crossing
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=20421"><span class="small">Oliver Milman, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Wednesday, 28 August 2019 12:31

Milman writes: "Greta Thunberg reached New York early on Wednesday, after crossing the Atlantic in a zero-carbon yacht."

Greta Thunberg enters New York waters. (photo: Johannes Eisele/Getty)
Greta Thunberg enters New York waters. (photo: Johannes Eisele/Getty)

Crowds Gather in New York to Welcome Greta Thunberg After Atlantic Crossing

By Oliver Milman, Guardian UK

28 August 19

Swedish climate activist anchors off Coney Island as she nears end of her journey on zero-carbon yacht

reta Thunberg reached New York early on Wednesday, after crossing the Atlantic in a zero-carbon yacht.

Crowds gathered in New York hours before she was due to step ashore, ready to welcome Thunberg upon her arrival on the unconventional, solar-powered craft.

Under cloudy skies at a marina near the southern tip of Manhattan, Thunberg’s supporters assembled to greet the teenager who sparked a series of walkouts by students protesting against the lack of action to address the climate crisis.

“Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead,” Thunberg had tweeted before dawn on Wednesday, shortly followed by another tweet that she was anchored just off the city, opposite the famous beach resort of Coney Island in Brooklyn, and was waiting to clear customs and immigration.

She is due to dock at North Cove Marina on the edge of New York Harbor. The Marina is full of enormous yachts and sits right next to the Brookfield mall - a large glass dome filled with shoppers – which made for an opulent setting for the arrival of the climate change activist.

But before she even steps on to American soil, the boat will be welcomed by a flotilla of 17 sailing boats, each with one of the 17 sustainable development goals written on their sails. The special welcome convoy will intercept Thunberg’s yacht near the Statue of Liberty off the top of New York City.

Thunberg is sailing to New York to attend a UN summit on zero emissions next month after refusing to fly there because of the carbon emissions caused by planes.

She was offered a ride on the Malizia II racing yacht skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, the son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and the German round-the-world sailor Boris Herrmann.

The 16-year-old, whose school strikes have inspired children across the world to protest against the climate crisis, has encountered some rough seas on her passage across the Atlantic and was later arriving than expected.

But as she was finally approaches the harbor in New York, the crowds were swelling.

“I’ve been following her for the past year or so and am very enthusiastic about what she’s doing, how she’s got young people involved with the striking,” said Richard Walser, an IT technician who traveled down from Connecticut to welcome Thunberg with his son, CJ.

Student Xiye Bastida, 17, said she was inspired by Thunberg’s activism to organize her own climate strike, involving 600 fellow students at her New York City school.

“She has a moral aspect to her message, that our generation will suffer the most. I hope she will raise the consciousness of climate change in the US - help wake people up,” she said.

Bastida’s mobile phone carried a sticker saying “Greta has a posse”.

One woman arrived at the marina clutching flowers and a placard that read “Welcome Greta”. The media was also out in force, including journalists from Chile, where world leaders will gather later this year for annual UN climate talks.

Others, however, were nonplussed. One passerby asked if Thunberg was a solo round the world yachtswoman.

Thunberg is set to travel to Chile for this event, although as yet it’s unclear how she will return home to Sweden given her aversion to flying due to its heavy fossil fuel use.

Thunberg’s yacht left the British port of Plymouth on 14 August, and the teenager marked the first anniversary of the start of her school strike on 20 August.

Greta began a sit-down protest outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 to get members of parliament to act on climate change.

She was quickly joined by other students around the world, as word of her strike spread through the media, and the “Fridays for future” movement was born.

The 18-metre yacht features solar panels on its deck and sides, and two hydro-generators provide the vessel’s electricity.

Her voyage sparked controversy, however, after a spokesman for Herrmann, the yacht’s co-skipper, told the Berlin newspaper TAZ that several people would fly into New York to take the yacht back to Europe.

Herrmann will also return by plane, according to the spokesman.

Team Malizia’s manager insisted, however, that the young activist’s journey would be carbon neutral, as the flights would be offset.

Greta has said she does not yet know how she will return to Europe.

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