Youth climate activists set sail for Chile


The leaders of Youth for Climate are on their way to South America by boat to speak at the Santiago Climate Change Conference

Sail to the COP

Flanders’ leading youth climate activist Anuna De Wever boarded a sailboat in Amsterdam last week to travel to the UN’s climate conference in Chile. De Wever – instrumental in founding Belgium’s Youth for Climate activist group – and her older sister, Josefien Hoerée, will be travelling with 30 other youth activists who will also attend COP25 in December.

Also on the boat is Adélaïde Charlier, the French-speaking co-ordinator of Youth for Climate. “We’re travelling by sailboat because we want people to reflect on the way they travel,” Charlier told De Standaard. “Air travel figures are set to double, and that is not a step in the right direction.”

The trio are joining a group of 30 other young people from across Europe. The Sail to the COP initiative appears to have been inspired by a recent decision by the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to travel to a UN climate summit in New York by boat rather than taking a fossil-fuelled, long-haul flight.

The journey is expected to take six to eight weeks and will mark the first leg of their journey. After arriving in Brazil, the youths will take a bus to Chile, where they plan to take part in COP25 climate negotiations.

Pictured foreground from left: Adelaide Charlier, Josefien Hoerée and Anuna De Wever
©Evert Eizinga/BELGA