Team Malizia and climate activist Greta Thunberg are on their way across the Atlantic expending minimal CO2 emissions, a journey that aims to change the mindset of people around the world.
More than 3,000 miles and not a single drop of gasoline; well, that’s the plan anyways. On the afternoon of August 14, Team Malizia, skippered by Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann left Plymouth, UK, and set sail for New York City. On board the high-tech racing yacht is the 16-year-old climate activist that has been taking the world by storm, after her incredible persistence in addressing the issue of climate change. In an effort to avoid extremely high carbon emissions from air travel, Swedish-born Greta Thunberg chose to make the two-week transatlantic journey via sailboat to attend the upcoming UN climate summits in New York and Chile.
One might recognise her from the iconic covers of Time and GQ magazine. Greta was recently announced as the Game Changer of the Year. Her story starts with a school strike for climate last year which sparked a global movement, where Greta refused to go to school until her demands are met by the Swedish government, some of which being that they align with the Paris Climate Agreement. She now strikes every Friday, followed by millions of students worldwide.
She has addressed world leaders at conferences hosted by the UN, Davos and British Parliament, her message clear throughout: ‘To do your best is no longer good enough.’ We have ten years, she often says in her speeches, to stave off a chain reaction that will forever alter the future of our planet.
Torqeedo, the world leader in electric boating, has provided electric support vessels to help Team Malizia leave the dock and travel safely out of the harbour to avoid using the small onboard engine. Millions around the globe will be following the team on their journey west. Sailing across the Atlantic in August, against prevailing winds, is an adventure. But this trip is also a powerful symbol showing us that it is indeed possible to switch to climate neutral mobility. The challenge may still be substantial, but the technology required to do this exists and is maturing every year.
“Convincing governments and international institutions to enforce laws that will protect mankind and biodiversity is of the utmost importance for the future of humanity”, says Pierre Casiraghi, founder of Team Malizia and co-skipper. “Team Malizia and I are proud to take Greta across the Atlantic in this challenging mode of transport. Unfortunately, sailing is still the only way to do so without fossil fuel emissions. Hopefully this will change in the near future.”
As estimated by the non-profit Atmosfair, a round trip between the UK to New York by plane contributes to almost half of the average yearly carbon footprint per person in the EU. While avoiding air travel is a powerful way to reduce carbon emissions, marine combustion engines also emit high levels of reactive gases.
Team Malizia is deeply involved in the fight against climate change and this is reflected by the technological set up: the foiling sailboat is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity during the journey (the onboard engine will only be used in emergencies). Torqeedo-powered electric boats assist Team Malizia with docking, towing, passenger transport and general harbour support that would typically be provided by combustion-powered boats.
Each day, up to 2,500 planes fly across the Atlantic. Of course, not every one of the tens of thousands of airline passengers can sail across the ocean instead. But, the zero-emission transatlantic crossing could help to change our perspective on when air travel really is necessary, and which options are technologically feasible.
“Fighting the climate crisis requires that we all take a hard look at not only our individual choices, but also at the stands we choose to take as business leaders, as politicians and as citizens”, said Dr. Ballin, co-founder of Torqeedo. “We have the technology to build better, cleaner transportation, whether it’s over land, in the air, or on the sea. It’s time we do so.”