‘Slow traveling’ climate researcher lost his job. Now he’s suing.

By Lesley Clark | 02/22/2024 06:31 AM EST

An Italian scientist is suing for wrongful termination because he refused to fly home from a work trip. He spent 72 days on a cargo ship, ferries, trains and buses.

Italian scientist Gianluca Grimalda

Italian scientist Gianluca Grimalda is suing his former employer for firing him for refusing to fly back from Papua New Guinea to Germany. @GGrimalda/X.com

An Italian social scientist and climate activist is suing his employer for requiring him to make a speedy return from a work trip — travel he says he eschewed for its impact on the planet.

Instead of boarding a plane to travel from Papua New Guinea to Germany, Gianluca Grimalda, who says he has been “slow traveling” for 15 years to minimize his carbon footprint, hitched a 72-day ride across 16 countries on cargo ships, ferries, trains and buses.

Grimalda said his employer, the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy, responded by firing him from his job as a senior researcher.


On Thursday, Grimalda will appear at the Labor Court in Kiel to plead what he says is the first-known case of an employee losing their job for refusing to fly.