Jane Fonda Says Greta Thunberg Inspired Her to Step Up Her Climate Activism

In the year since 16-year-old Greta Thunberg started striking to demand action on climate change, the movement has grown fast. Young people all over the world have started walking out of school once a week to call on the grownups to do something in an action called #FridaysforFuture. And when activists talk, Jane Fonda listens.

Fonda has been an outspoken advocate for most of her life, protesting war, violence, discrimination, and now our collective inaction when it comes to saving the planet. And last month, Fonda launched her Fire Drill Fridays campaign, promising to protest in Thunberg’s spirit each Friday through the end of 2019. (It’s led to her getting arrested at the U.S. Capitol on a regular basis.)

At Glamour‘s Women of the Year Awards on November 11, Fonda continued to honor Thunberg’s example. She accepted Thunberg’s WOTY Award on the teen’s behalf as Thunberg continues to travel the United States to draw attention to the issue of climate change. With her at New York’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the occasion were activists Xiye Bastida, 17, Alexandria Villaseñor, 14, and Jade Lozada, 17. “When I saw Greta Thunberg strike for climate, I knew I had to mobilize my school and our city. Greta’s views match my own, that you take care of the Earth, and the Earth takes care of you,” Bastida said ahead of Fonda’s remarks.

Fonda delivered a passionate speech, reminding the audience of the power of activism. “I have not met Greta Thunberg, but Greta Thunberg changed my life,” Fonda said.

Fonda asked the crowd to become “warriors for the climate” on Thunberg’s behalf and take greater, bolder risks to save our planet. Read Fonda’s entire call-to-action on behalf of Greta Thunberg, below.

“I have not met Greta Thunberg, but Greta Thunberg has changed my life. I’d been feeling anxious and depressed, because I knew I wasn’t doing enough in the face of the catastrophe that is looming.

I drive an electric car. I’m stopping the use of single-use plastic in my home. I eat a lot less meat or fish. Yes, and fish, because fish stocks are plummeting because the ocean is becoming acidified and the climate is warming. These things are wonderful, they’re all very important, and we should all do them. But it’s a good place to start—it’s not a good place to stop. Because individual life choices like these can’t be scaled up in time to get us where we need to be.

But what do I do? I thought, I wondered, I asked myself in the comfort of my Beverly Hills home. And then I read about Greta.

I read that she’s on the spectrum. She has Asperger syndrome, and that means that unlike the rest of us, you see, people with Asperger see and learn things that are not clouded by the rationalizations and obfuscations of the rest of us. They don’t worry about being popular or fitting in. What they see, they see, pure and direct. And I knew that what Greta had seen was the truth.

When she realized what was happening and looked around and saw that no one was behaving like it was a crisis, it so traumatized her that she stopped speaking. When I read this, I decided that I needed to do something more than what I’d been doing.

Greta said, today we use 100 million barrels of oil every day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep the oil in the ground. And so we can’t save the world by playing by the rules, right? Right? Right? Greta knows that.

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