Greta Thunberg sails for Madrid tomorrow on a boat owned by lifestyle bloggers

Teen climate change celebrity Greta Thunberg was trying to make her way to Santiago, Chile for a climate conference set to take place in December. She was even loaned a Tesla to help her get there in green style. Unfortunately, protests in Chile led to the conference being suddenly moved across the pond to Madrid, Spain. This presented a problem for Thunberg who has made a point of refusing to fly because of the carbon footprint of passenger jets:

But earlier today Thunberg announced her problem had been solved. She’ll be sailing across the Atlantic with a couple who make their living as lifestyle bloggers.

Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu are a telegenic Australian couple who have spent the past five years sailing around the world and uploading weekly updates on their adventures to YouTube. That’s the couple on the left and right with their son Lenny. The other woman sitting next to Thunberg is a professional sailor who is apparently being brought on board to ensure her safety.

Whitelum and Carausu started sailing after buying a boat in 2014. Their YouTube channel got lots of media attention which helped them fund the trip. They also launched a Patreon channel where they currently have over 3,300 monthly subscribers paying between $3 and $200 per episode (it seems they do about 4-6 episodes per month). I won’t guess what they are pulling in every month but it’s substantial enough that three years ago they bought their dream yacht, a 48 foot French catamaran built by Outremer. That’s the boat onboard which Thunberg will be crossing the Atlantic.

The couple’s whole archive of posts is available on YouTube. It often features nice drone photography of the boat pulling into exotic ports and also plenty of shots of Carausu in a bikini. Here’s a recent sample on the top 5 sailing destinations in the world:

Final thought: I think it’s perfect in a way that Thunberg is taking her globe-trotting reality show onto a yacht owned by lifestyle bloggers. It highlights the fact that this whole thing is a performance made for an adoring audience.

But the lifestyle Thunberg wants for all of us isn’t a romantic adventure aboard a million dollar yacht. That only works if you can convince a few thousand people to fund it for you. For the rest of us, a world without air travel is the opposite of the one Whitelum and Carausu are selling on their channel. It means far less tourism and far less opportunity for middle class people to see the world for themselves beyond a TV or a computer screen.

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