Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump’s climate change denialism was “so extreme” that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.
She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.
“He’s so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way,” the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.
“I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up,” she continued.
“Because it feels like if we just continue like now, nothing’s going to happen. So maybe he is helping.”
A young Australian couple have volunteered to aid her in her return journey.
Elayna Carausu, 26, and Riley Whitelum 35, live on their catamaran with their 11-month-old boy and document their adventures on social media, and responded to Greta’s appeal for help with an environmentally friendly return trip to Europe. They started the voyage yesterday.
They had originally planned to spend the winter in the United States but will now carry Greta and her father Svante Thunberg on their 14-meter (45 feet) catamaran, “La Vagabonde.”
Their destination is Portugal, some 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) away, in order to participate in the COP 25 UN climate summit in Madrid, Spain from December 2 to December 13.