The news that the summit in Chile is not going ahead due to unrest in the country came ‘as a blow’ to the 36 young Europeans on board the three-master Regina Maris. It is bizarre to be working so intensely on implementing a plan that suddenly falls apart, say the sailors. At that point, the ship, with Wageningen students on board, was already halfway across the Atlantic on its way to South America. An about-turn is not an option, as some of the young people have appointments to keep in South America.
But the relocation of the climate summit hasn’t caused the Sail to the COP crew to throw their mission overboard. Instead, in an open letter, the sailors have changed tack. They are calling on all European COP participants to avoid flying and travel to Madrid overland. ‘It is our mission to make the travel industry more sustainable and fairer,’ they say in the open letter. ‘Take your responsibilities seriously: take the train, the bus or the bike. #RailtotheCOP!’
They are looking into the possibility of getting some of the crew to the climate summit some other way, perhaps by transferring to a different, faster boat. Flying, of course, is not an option.