If there’s one person who can get arrested in style, it is the beloved Jane Fonda. In her crusade to save the planet against the perils of climate change, Fonda speaks up about the environmental crisis that is sweeping the globe’s psyche.
In fact, Jane Fonda insists in making a sport of it. Being arrested. An unusual occupational pastime for an 81-year-old. But a necessary pastime. Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s climate change activism, Fonda travelled to Washington, DC, to house Fire Drill Friday demonstrations at the U.S Capitol Building. Fire Drill Friday is Fonda’s movement to address government and political apathy towards climate change.
In her Fire Drill Friday mission statement, Fonda states,
“I will be on the Capitol every Friday, rain or shine, inspired and emboldened by the incredible movement our youth have created. I can no longer stand by and let our elected officials ignore, and even worse, empower the industries that are destroying our planet for profit. We can not continue to stand for this.”
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I’m inspired by @GretaThunberg and the young people who came out in unprecedented numbers, behaving like the mature adults in the room. Greta has called on us to get out of our comfort zones, stop business as usual and start behaving like we’re in a crisis, like our house is on fire…because it is. So I’m moving to DC to take more direct action. Stay tuned. #fridaysforfuture #climatestrike
So, what exactly occurs on a standard “Fire Drill Friday”? Each Friday the protest has a unique theme where activists, scientists and community members congregate to share stories and knowledge, boosting environmental awareness. Thursday nights, Fonda hosts the live-streamed events where experts discuss topics such as the ocean and a plethora of other issues related to environmental justice. The five priority demands for the purpose of these Fire Drill Fridays include a Green New Deal, sustainability in terms of biodiversity, indigenous and land sovereignty, justice for those displaced by the environment as well as agricultural practices.
The Grace and Frankie star admitted her concern for the 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg to the BBC in which “she understands that if she’s attacked it’s because she’s making a difference and that scares people.”
Thunberg is renowned as the poster girl and eco warrior for climate change, the face of society’s arguably most significant global issue. What started out as a sole strike endeavour protesting outside Swedish Parliament in August 2018 regarding the laissez-faire emission standards, soon became a viral phenomenon with the highly mentioned and revered #FridaysforFuture demonstrations.
Similarly, Fonda is no stranger to activism with her infamous civil rights campaigns protesting against the Vietnam War. Her persistence and goals of protesting every Friday is testament to Greta Thunberg’s active anti-climate change movement and how this cultural mass awakening is attributed to tireless activism, bravery and hope.
Fonda’s sense of urgency for protesting is justified by what she calls the existential doomsday timebomb where the world has allegedly eleven years to make systematic and significant changes before the world unravels into an unprecedented state and downward spiral of destruction. In terms of her arrest, Fonda is aiming to shift perceptions on the pressing climate change issue and has absolutely no remorese. When speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about the conditions of her arrest, she mentions:
“I’m a white movie star, what are they gonna do? I was treated fine. The conditions are not great, frankly, and you have to sleep on a metal slab. And I’m almost 82 years old, and I hurt.”
Then there’s the whole rule of law situation. You know, when celebrities or authoritative figures get arrested, there is an underlying subliminal differentiation in terms of preferential treatment when breaking the law. Fonda is aware of her white privilege and how her cultural status makes her a soft target. The sheer act of protesting identifies her omniscient understanding of class differentiation and its impact on the environment and the need to do more.
Fonda is shedding a light on a prominent issue and is opting to use her platform for the betterment of society, so one can only admire her notable efforts. Bringing her pal Ted Danson along, getting arrested for “unlawfully demonstrating” for a significant cause takes their bonding to a whole new iconic level. Her goal is to bring accountability to corporate greed and to compel the law-enforcers of society to incite fossil fuel company behemoths to retain their oil reserves in the ground and be liable for reprehensible actions.
With the world metaphorically and literally being like a house on fire, fostering a sense of solidarity and pride when it comes to environmental activism is the new cultural frontier. If we hope to encounter significant legal and political change for the environmental sector and the future of humanity, words must be translated into actions.
When it comes to demanding issues such as the environment, it is refreshing to see activists both young and old uniting together to change the world. When it comes to the youth, it is expected and predicted that they are morally invested in the environment as it is after all, their future. The mantra “Right Here, Right Now” has become a new green war-cry phenomenon. Katniss Everdeen style.
However, it is heart-warming and comforting to see the older members of our society take a strong stand. It shows that issues such as the environment surpasses age, gender and any other conceivable societal differentiation or divisions. It is universal. It is global. It is imperative. So, whose grandma is next?
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