Teen activist sails across Atlantic to go to climate meeting

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FILE – In this Aug. 14, 2019 file photo, Climate change activist Greta Thunberg waves from the Malizia II boat in Plymouth, England. Thunberg has crossed the Atlantic on a zero-emissions sailboat to attend a conference on global warming. On Wednesday, Aug. 28, before dawn, Thunberg tweeted, “Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead.” (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

NEW YORK (AP) — A 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who crossed the Atlantic in a zero-emissions sailboat anchored in waters off New York City on Wednesday as she prepared to land at a downtown marina.

Greta Thunberg and her crew were expected to arrive in lower Manhattan in mid-afternoon after a two-week trans-Atlantic crossing from Plymouth, England.

As she approached New York’s harbor before dawn, Thunberg tweeted her excitement, saying “Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead.”

The teenager refused to fly to avoid a plane’s carbon emissions. The sailboat’s onboard electronics are powered by solar panels and underwater turbines.

Thunberg has become a symbol of a growing movement of young climate activists. Action against climate change was a theme of weekly protests she’s led in Sweden that inspired student strikes in about 100 cities worldwide.

Thunberg is in New York to attend a global warming conference. Next month, she’s planning to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, joining world leaders who will present plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The boat carrying Thunberg, The Malizia II, encountered rough seas that slowed it down for a day. Taking turns steering the 60-foot (18-meter) racing yacht were yachtsman Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco’s late Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly.

Thunberg became a European celebrity last year when she refused to go to school in the weeks before Sweden’s general election to highlight the impact of climate change.

She continued her school strike on Fridays after the election, spurring thousands of young people to follow suit. Since then, she’s met the pope, spoken at Davos and attended anti-coal protests in Germany.

She is now taking a year off school to pursue her activism.

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