Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg left the United States on Wednesday on a catamaran bound for Europe, where she will attend the 25th UN Conference of Parties (COP25) to the global agreement on climate in early December in Madrid.
Wearing a bonnet on her head and a backpack slung over her shoulder, Thunberg, who spent about two months in the United States, boarded La Vagabonde in the company of her father, Svante. The young Australian couple who live on the boat with their 11-month-old son offered to take the Thunbergs back to Europe in response to an appeal for a transatlantic means of transport, launched on 1 November on social media by the young climate activist, who does not take planes.
British sailor Nikki Henderson joined the group for the trip.
On Wednesday, the 14-metre-long boat left Hampton, Virginia, on the East Coast of the United States, for Portugal, a distance of over 5,500 km. The crossing should take less than two weeks, according to Nikki Henderson.
Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the United Nations in September and took part in demonstrations each Friday from New York to Vancouver. Speaking on the eve of her departure from Hampton, she noted that while there had been some positive changes, months had passed without any real action, without people realising the climate emergency.
The Australian couple, Riley Whitelum, 35, and Elayna Carausu, 26, travelling with their son Lenny, plan to film and produce videos of their voyage, and release them upon their arrival. In the meantime, they will post photos on Twitter or Instagram.
La Vagabonde has solar panels and a hydroelectric generator in addition to an engine for entering and leaving ports. Whitelum said on Tuesday that, like sailors the world over, they tried to avoid using the engine.
The couple usually eat fish but changed their eating habits specially for their passenger. They decided to “have a vegan boat for Greta,” Elayna Carausu explained.