Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

15 Aug 2019

Sustainability pioneer sets sail

Posted by Michael Keating

Greta Thunberg setting sail. Credit: Ben Stansall

Greta Thunberg sets sail for New York. Credit: Ben Stansall

Pioneers are people who do what the rest of us can’t or won’t. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, is sailing across the Atlantic so she doesn’t create more pollution by taking a plane like most of us would. Last year, Thunberg quietly started skipping school and sitting on the stops of the Swedish parliament with a sign demanding the government do more to stop climate change. Since then, she has become a global symbol for young people demanding their elders do more to save the planet for the next generation. A person of principle, she travels to meetings in Europe by train, to reduce her carbon footprint. She wanted to be at next month’s Climate Action Summit at the United Nations in New York without flying. She got an offer to make the 3,500-nautical-mile voyage on the Maliza II, a bare-bones racing sailboat with solar panels and an underwater turbine to generate some electricity. It will not be a comfortable voyage. Whether crossing uncharted seas, finding ways through seemingly impenetrable mountain chains or rocketing into space, pioneers and explorers blazed new trails. Whether or not we will once again sail across oceans or will fly in low-pollution aircraft Thunberg is showing that if you are determined it’s possible to do things differently.

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