Jane Fonda—whose career has stretched from Barefoot in the Park to NextTribe fave Grace and Frankie (with a fitness empire thrown in, too)—was recently arrested during a climate protest at the United States Capitol. At age 81, Fonda was one of 16 people who were charged with unlawfully demonstrating at the government building. Under Washington D.C. law, this is considered a misdemeanor as it disturbs access to the renowned public building’s entrances.
Fonda had been a speaker at the first in what is planned to be a weekly protest regarding climate change policies. Fonda said that her goal is to “show solidarity with young climate change strikers such as Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in an emissions-free yacht to draw attention to global warming,” according to the New York Times, and she felt motivated to take action after she read “the best-selling book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein about climate change.”
Her Long History of Speaking Out
Fonda is no stranger to activism. Her objections to the Vietnam War earned her the moniker “Hanoi Jane” and made her a flashpoint for the debate about the U.S.’s role in the conflict. She supported the Black Panthers, as well. In both cases, she earned praise and criticism for her activism.
In addition to protesting every Friday, Fonda says she will move to Washington for the next several months so she can help get still more support for environmental protections. The specific goal of the group she’s supporting is to see the Green New Deal embraced. This is a program that demands a net-zero carbon economy in America by 2050. Beyond that, the protestors want Congress to end fossil-fuel exploration and phase out what they call the “fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Says Fonda, “The same toxic ideology that took this land from people who already lived here, that kidnapped people from Africa … cut down the forests and exhausted the natural world just as it did the people—this foundational ideology is the same one that has brought us the human-driven climate change that we’re facing today.”
Whether or not you agree with what kind of change she’s calling for, we’re once again amazed by this woman’s energy and the example she sets for exercising freedom of speech.