Fire Drill Fonda

It’s not just youth working to fight the climate emergency. Legendary actress Jane Fonda is leading a new movement to demand climate action by our political leaders.

October 28, 2019

10:42 am

Jane Fonda had a decent excuse as to why she didn’t show up to the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards dinner last Friday to receive a lifetime-achievement award.

The legendary actress and seemingly tireless activist was busy … being arrested.

For the third week in a row, Fonda, 81 years old, was arrested while protesting U.S. environmental and climate policy in a movement she is leading called Fire Drill Fridays. The official charges against her and others were “crowding, obstructing or incommoding,” according to Variety.

Why “Fire Drill Fridays”? Because, Fonda writes on the Fire Drill Fridays website, “As Greta Thunberg said, ‘Our House Is On Fire,’ and we need to act like it.”

In fact, Fonda is so committed to protesting our lack of action by political leaders that she has “moved to Washington, D.C., to be closer to the epicenter of the fight for our climate. Every Friday through January, I will be leading weekly demonstrations on Capitol Hill to demand that action by our political leaders be taken to address the climate emergency we are in. We can't afford to wait.”

This inspiring commitment by an octogenarian actress/activist has led other celebrities to join in the arrest action, including Ted Danson and Sam Waterston. The focus on celebrities — particularly revered ones like Danson and Waterston, as well as iconic though controversial ones like Fonda — means media coverage, and Fonda is well aware of ways to generate such coverage.

For example, for each of the three protests and arrests, Fonda wore a bright red coat, symbolic of a “fire,” perhaps, but certainly an outfit that will stand out and play well on video.

Another way to generate media attention for your cause is to deliver your acceptance speech for the BAFTA Stanley Kubrick lifetime-achievement award from the site of your staged protest, while wearing handcuffs (or the protester equivalent of plastic ties) around your wrists. Video of Fonda’s speech went viral (helpfully tweeted by BAFTA itself), as the story was picked up by Slate, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, CNN, and scores of other outlets around the world.

Each of the weekly protests to be held through January will also have a theme: this past Friday’s was “Ocean’s Can’t Wait” and next week, on Nov. 1, will be “Women Can’t Wait.” Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays — notably inspired, she adds,  by Greta Thunberg — makes five demands, including a Green New Deal and Respect of Indigenous Land and Sovereignty.

For more information on what you can do, visit the Fire Drill Fridays website or Facebook page.

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