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Following weeks of anticipation, Swedish climate justice activist Greta Thunberg arrived on the shores of Lower Manhattan Wednesday afternoon after a 15-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in an emissions-free yacht. She was welcomed on land by hundreds of supporters at the North Cove Marina. As Thunberg's yacht sailed over the horizon and past the Statue of Liberty, youth climate activists chanted, "The sea levels are rising, and so are we!" and "We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!"
The 16-year-old climate activist is kickstarting a months-long tour of the Americas. For her first action, she will be joining New York students climate-striking outside the U.N. Friday morning. She will then take to the streets for a massive climate march in New York City on September 20, followed by two U.N. climate summits here. In December, she will attend the COP25 climate summit in Santiago, Chile. We hear highlights of Greta's first speech and news conference upon arriving in New York City and speak to her father Svante, as well as New York youth climate activists Alexandria Villaseñor and Xiye Bastida.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: After weeks of anticipation, the Swedish climate justice activist Greta Thunberg arrived on the shores of Lower Manhattan Wednesday afternoon after a two-week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in an emissions-free yacht. Greta Thunberg was welcomed on land by more than a thousand supporters and reporters at the North Cove Marina. As Greta's yacht sailed over the horizon and past the Statute of Liberty, youth climate activists chanted "The sea levels are rising, and so are we!" and "We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!" The 16-year-old began her journey to the U.S. in southwestern England. Greta Thunberg doesn't fly. She chose to make the journey from Europe to the U.S. aboard the Malizia II, a 60-foot racing yacht covered in solar panels.
The young climate activist is kickstarting a months-long tour of the Americas. For her first action, she'll be joining New York students climate-striking outside the U.N. Friday morning. She will then take to the streets for a massive climate march in New York City September 20th, followed by two U.N. climate summits here. In December, she'll attend the COP25 climate summit in Santiago, Chile.
Greta Thunberg became an international icon of resistance last year, when she began skipping classes to stand outside the Swedish parliament demanding her government take action to confront the climate crisis. Her weekly protest inspired millions, sparking a global movement of student strikes for climate.
This is Greta Thunberg speaking just minutes after docking in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday.
GRETA THUNBERG: I want to thank everyone so much, everyone who is here and everyone who is involved in this climate fight, because this is a fight across borders, across continents. And it's as you said, it is insane that a 16-year-old had to cross the Atlantic Ocean to make a stand and to and this, of course, is not something that I want everyone to do. The climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis and the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. And if we don't manage to work together, to cooperate, and to work together despite our differences, then we will fail. So we need to stand together and support each other and to take action, because, otherwise, it might be too late. So, let's not wait any longer. Let's do it now, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: After her brief opening remarks, Greta Thunberg answered questions from reporters. One asked if she had heard about the raging wildfires in the Amazon rain-forest in Brazil and Bolivia, causing unprecedented damage and destroying large swaths of land.
GRETA THUNBERG: Yes. Even on a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I heard about the forests in the Amazon rain-forest the fires in the Amazon rain-forest, yeah. And it is, of course, devastating, and it's so horrible. It's hard to imagine. So, I mean, we need to I mean, this is a clear sign that we need to stop destroying nature, and we need and our war against nature must end. And, I mean, the Amazon is such a key to addressing the climate crisis and the ecological crisis.
AMY GOODMAN: Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! How are you? So, President Trump says oil and gas are the source of America's wealth. Windmills cause cancer, he says. What is your answer to him? And to the activists who have come to greet you here and who are looking for a message from you all over this country, the historically greatest fossil fuel emitter, what do you say to them?
GRETA THUNBERG: I mean, of course, oil and gas has its ups and downs. And we need to sort of realize the consequences from a bigger perspective of what it actually does when we use it the way we use it today. And I'm pretty sure windmills doesn't cause cancers.
And the second question, my message to all the activists: to just keep going. And I know it's it may seem impossible and hopeless sometimes. It always does. So, you just have to continue, because if you try hard enough and long enough, you will make a difference. And if enough people stand together, fight for the right thing, then anything can happen.
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