Environmentalist's Solar Boat Trip Across Atlantic Ends in Plane Trip & Pollution


The arrival of 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in New York City on Wednesday aboard a carbon-neutral vessel was covered as if the Titanic had suddenly arisen from the depths and come in to dock at the Chelsea Piers.

“Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist, Arrives in N.Y. With a Message for Trump,” a New York Times headline blared.

“After a 15-day sail that was obsessively tracked by European news media, cheered by fellow climate activists, mocked by critics and rocked by rough waves off Nova Scotia, Greta and the boat’s crew went through customs on Wednesday morning while anchored off Coney Island, Brooklyn,” The Times wrote about her arrival aboard the carbon-neutral yacht Malizia II.

“Just before 3 p.m. in Manhattan, a shout went up from those waiting in the intermittent light rain to greet her at the North Cove Marina, most of them young activists. The boat’s black sails had come into sight just blocks from Wall Street, the heart of the global financial system whose investments in fossil fuels are one of the main targets of climate protesters — and an area that climate change threatens with sea-level rise.”

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Her two-week voyage was necessitated because she doesn’t fly due to the greenhouse gases associated with air travel.

Which is funny because, in order to pull this stunt, two people will have to fly across the Atlantic in order to fetch the boat.

According to The Associated Press, because of the fact that the trip was arranged on such short notice, the people who operate the racing sailboat are forced to send a new crew to New York City to relieve the current crew and get the boat back to Europe.

Do you think Thunberg is a hypocrite?

However, since they don’t have another zero-emissions sailboat to send to Gotham’s shores, the new crew is going to have to travel by plane.

The sailing outfit, Team Malizia, says they’ll offset the carbon emissions for the flight, though.

Spokeswoman Holly Cova said that “we only have one boat, so they cannot easily sail over to meet them.”

Now, here’s an idea: Why didn’t Thunberg just fly over herself and offset the carbon emissions, saving all of this nonsense?

The teen climate change activist is in New York City to give a speech to the United Nations. This, in and of itself, is a risible eye-roller; Thunberg’s “climate strikes,” wherein young people boycott their schoolwork and leave class to protest climate change, have done nothing that would warrant an appearance before the world body.

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Instead of taking a plane and offsetting the carbon emissions, Thunberg took a yacht as a publicity stunt but did so on such short notice that another crew had to be flown across the Atlantic.

Here was her departure from Plymouth in the United Kingdom, which received plenty of laudatory media coverage. (Don’t worry, I’m assuming everyone who drove out there to cover it was doing so in electric vehicles.)

Here’s another idea: Nobody had to fly anywhere if she just delivered her speech to the United Nations via Skype. If she wanted to meet with diplomats, it could have been done online. In this situation, no one’s carbon emissions have to be offset.

But then she wouldn’t have gotten all this attention, right? And she wouldn’t be able to deliver her message to Trump, the one The Times was reporting on. And what was that urgent communiqué, pray tell?

“My message to him is just to listen to the science, and he obviously doesn’t do that,” she told reporters in New York City.

That’s it? That was worth a fortnight’s boat trip?

She could have delivered that via Twitter. I hear the president checks that rather frequently.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture