Clearly, Germany has taken the lead in the realm of sustainability. Many corporations and other institutions and individuals from around the world compete for the German Sustainability Award and the attention it brings with. The reception area outside the hall where I spoke at the symposium on sustainability was filled with green products.

mock up of a solar racing car

mock up of a solar racing car

sample of new solar hot water tubing

sample of new solar hot water tubing

sample of a solar house heater

sample of a solar house heater

I guess Coke is displaying here because they are using biodegradable packaging and shipping materials

I guess Coke is displaying here because they are using biodegradable packaging and shipping materials

The audience in the symposium where i spoke. My message was about the importance of empowering women and educating for girls if we are to eradicate poverty and create sustainable development.

The audience in the symposium where i spoke. My message was about the importance of empowering women and educating girls if we are to eradicate poverty and create sustainable development.

It is said that you educate a boy and you change his life. You educate a girl and you change her life, her family, her community and her nation. Every research study on development indicates that countries with the highest population of uneducated girls are at the bottom of the economic ladder and at the bottom of every development issue. We know that every year of education increases a girl’s income by 15 to 30% and every year she stays in school is a year later that she will marry and begin to have children.

Longitudinal research shows that when women (rather than men) control the family income, more money goes to education, health and nutrition. Increases in female income improve child survival rates 20 times more than increases in male income. Likewise, female borrowing, rather than male borrowing, has a greater positive impact on school enrollment, child nutrition, and demand for health care. This is why enabling women and girls to become wage earners, entrepreneurs and micro credit borrowers has become such a powerful force for development.

I got a big laugh and round of applause when I said that New York Times writer, Nicholas Kristoff, writing about the financial crisis asked, “Would there have been a global recession had Lehman Bros been Lehman Sisters?”

I also bragged a little about the fact that my ranch uses solar panels for hot water and home heating and solar photovoltaic cells for electricity and that I have a septic tank that recycles all water, including toilet water, so that it can be reused for irrigation etc. I also drive a Prius (Toyota Hybrid car). My daughter drives an old Mercedes that she fuels with vegetable oil that she gets from various restaurants around Atlanta.

The first of many individual TV interviews following the symposium

The first of many individual TV interviews following the symposium

A beautiful woman who has wanted to meet me since she was a teenager because I inspired her to become an aerobics instructor

A beautiful woman who has wanted to meet me since she was a teenager because I inspired her to become an aerobics instructor

It’s been frustrating because the Dusseldorf hotel server was down so I haven’t been able to send my blog and now it’s a day late. Oh well… I have to remind myself that, not so long ago, we couldn’t have imagined communicating this way with so many people and be grateful anything works at all.

SO….to continue from the symposium where I gave my speech and girls. I was told Yusuf Islam (used to be known as Cat Stevens) and his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali, wanted to meet me. I so love his music which wallpapered so much of my middle years–”Where Will the Children Play,” “Moonshadows,” “Tea for the Tillerman,” “Wild World,” “Peace Train,” “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” among many others. As you may know, Cat Stevens almost died of tuberculosis in 1968 when he was 19. This began his spiritual quest. Brushes with death can do that. His second near-death experience happened when he almost drowned off the coast of Malibu, California. He called out, “God, if you save me, I will devote myself to you.” A wave came just then and swept him to shore. That was when he left his music altogether to search for what form his commitment to God would take. In 1977 he became Yusuf Islam, a devout Muslim.

Yusuf Islam (used to be known as Cat Sevens) and his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali

Yusuf Islam (used to be known as Cat Stevens) and his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali


I was not sure what to expect when we met. Would he be a dour, overly serious, proselytizing man? Would his wife be silent and subservient? Would he shake my hand or refuse to be touched? How happy I am to say that the playfulness, the twinkle from the Cat Stevens days, (and the good looks) are still very present. He laughs, jokes, asks Fauzia if he’s correct in his interpretation of some aspect of the Koran. She listens and adds her two cents. She seems a woman of strength, centeredness and peace. She is also beautiful, with large, dark, soulful eyes. Fauzia is dressed in a crème colored robe but not veiled. My camera wasn’t working so I asked someone else to take our photo. The problem is they never sent it to me, so I took a picture of the two of them at our dinner table later on.

The three of us spoke about God, spirituality, how fundamentalism has distorted what the Koran actually says just as Christian fundamentalism has distorted Christ’s teachings; How the Koran actually speaks of women being equally regarded by God, not blamed for sin as Eve was in the Christian bible.

Yusuf gave up making music for years, unsure if music was accepted by the Koran. Then he learned that, in fact it was Muslim travelers who first brought the guitar to Moorish Spain. He started making music again in the 1990s. The tragedy of 9/11 showed him that while the extremes had becoming more dangerous, the middle was growing stronger. It was to the “middle” that he has directed his music, communicating through metaphor rather than politics. Music, he feel, is what is needed to sooth and uplift the troubled soul. Yusuf goes beyond metaphor, however, donating the proceeds from his music to a non-profit organization he founded, Small Kindness, which has helped survivors of 9/11, victims of the tsunami in Indonesia, victims of genocide in Croatia, children in Gaza among others.

He will soon begin a concert tour that will also introduce a portion of his new musical to the public for the first time. I hope he comes to the U.S.

Yusuf Islam performing a new song, "Road Traveler," that will be part of the musical play he has developed

Yusuf Islam performing a new song, 'Road Traveler,' that will be part of the musical play he has developed

Stefan Schulze-Hausmann, CEO of Coment, the organization that produced the event, presenting a Susrainability Award to Yusuf Islam.

Stefan Schulze-Hausmann, CEO of Coment, the organization that produced the event, presenting a Sustainability Award to Yusuf Islam.

Mr. Fisher

Joschka Fischer

I sat at an interesting table at the evening ceremony. To my right sat Joschka Fischer, one of the founders of the German Green Party who was the first Green to be elected to the German government and later became Germany’s Secretary of State. He now focuses his work on encouraging corporations to become green and, together with our former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, works on solutions in the Middle East.



On my left, the most handsome Sky, the well-known actor and TV personality who interviewed me for his TV show a year ago while I was staying at Troy’s.

It was a late evening, little sleep before I had to get on the flight to Frankfurt and then on to Atlanta. I took my grandchildren to dinner last night and had a fun sleepover. I was exhausted but this was a perfect, grounding way to end a fascinating trip and welcome me home. By the way, unbelievable as it may seem, even to me, I return in 5 days to Dusseldorf for a UNESCO event!!!

Home at last, having dinner with my grandchildren, Viva and Malcolm (and Tulea)

Home at last, having dinner with my grandchildren, Viva and Malcolm (and Tulea)

See you next time

PS: OMG! I cannot Believe that it took my daughter, Vanessa, to remind me that Cat Stevens lived on our ranch above Santa Barbara, the Laurel Springs Ranch, in a beautiful house on a hill, 3000-some ft above the Pacific. Tom Hayden and I later ran a performing arts children’s camp there for 15 years. For some reason, I never met Cat then. Maybe he’s the one who told Joe Cocker about the place cause Joe lived there for a long time, later marrying Pam Baker, one of our camp directors. (There were many houses on the property and the Hill House had a separate entrance…)

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  1. I just wanted to say I think you look absolutely amazing! And I love reading about your experiences, you seem to have a very fulfilling life.

    And in the small world we live in, Cat Stevens has a flat just close to where I live in Queens Park, London!

    Best wishes

  2. Isn’t it wonderful how everything comes full circle (re Cat at your ranch but not meeting him until now)? And isn’t it great that you have this blog to document the circling back around so your fans can bear witness to those delightful moments? 🙂 Enjoy your downtime before jetting right back.

  3. Jane, you never cease to amaze. Love you.

  4. That was a interesting trip you were on .I have Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah on Twitter she is the Queen of Jodan and have some education concern close to yours, and interest.“Educating our children is not just about imposing a body of knowledge on them. Rather, it involves preparing children from the early years for the world in which they will come of age. It means instilling a love for lifelong learning, creativity,self-expression and an appreciation for diversity.” A very woman,she was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents.She has pushed for education reform, fighting for better school facilities .Queen Rania currently has over one million followers on Twitter.

    • Jane,
      Did you have a safe trip back?
      It has been incredible meeting you. You are a wonderful person and a true activist. You inspired me and I will never forget the time we spend together.

      All the best from Germany,


  5. Your grandchildren are beautiful. Viva looks just like Vanessa.

  6. It’s very interesting reading about your trips and your experiences. I love reading your blog:-) I’m happy, that you injoyed Germany and that you are coming back in a few days. When you are coming back, you should take a walk in the old town of Düsseldorf it is very beautyfull:-) Many greating from North Rhine-Westphalia:-)

  7. I think I would have a problem socializing with Cat Stevens because of his support of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. I hope he has toned down the “people who defame the Koran must die” thing, but I just can’t support anyone who thinks death is an appropriate response to words of any kind. I know he’s denied supporting the fatwa, I understand he never felt any personal responsibility for carrying it out, and I hope he truly doesn’t support such things now, but there is too much recorded evidence to believe that he never thought it was appropriate.

    I always liked his music but can’t listen to it any more.

    • I believe that info about Salman Rushdie (Cat supporting the fatwa) is false. xx Jane

    • You really must get over it. Cat Stevens’ music is all about Love, Peace, Children, and the Environment. Never once has his music gone beyond the common grounds of ethics and decency, unlike the trash our children must endure these days. I used Cat Stevens’ music when my children were young to soothe their souls, and prepare them for life in an open and happy world order. Throughout Cat Stevens’ life he has always sought to find understanding of life, love, and the pusuit of happiness, possibly hoping through his music to ask the big questions of all of us to change our ways for the better of humanity. He loves God and works very hard to support excellent charitable causes for victims of catastrophe’s, regardless of their origin, including those actions by tyrants and fanatics. If you are old enough to write this post, you are certainly old enough to know how the US media and various religious institutions will distort the fact for the sake of their own agenda. If you cannot listen to his music anymore sir, it is most certainly your loss.


      • Dear Louis, I wonder who your comment is addressed to…”You really must get over it.” That can’t be for me because I have adored and continue to adore and admire Cat’s/Yucef’s music. xx jane

        • Hi Jane,

          My post was in reply to Dobes, one post above yours. I apologize for the misunderstanding, and I want to thank you for having the courage to stand up for Cat and place him on your site so prominently.

          Warmest Regards,
          Louis Glynn

          P.S. I can’t believe I made that mistake with positioning my first reply under your post instead of Dobes. Thanks for the opportunity to post at all. LOL

  8. Your granddaughter looks like you did when you were a little girl. I am only judging by the photos of you in your biography.

  9. Hi Mrs Fonda,

    I am reading your blog for the first time, just jumping from this entry to that entry. Till last Saturday evening I did not know that you are having a blog yourself and I want to congratulate you for it. It is really interesting.
    How did I get known about it? Well, I have seen the interview which you had with the team of our local (for Northrhine-Westfalia) news called Aktuelle Stunde. And there they showed that the first thing you did was taken photos for your blog! If you want to see your own interview (or maybe someone else who is reading it) you can follow this link:
    Just click then where is written “5 Minuten mit…Jane Fonda” and the report of the interview will start. Otherwise the show starts from beginning.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures of Bonn and Beethoven. Although it is not too far away I have not been there yet, but definitely want to go there during the next time.

  10. I mean your autobiography.

  11. Greetings Jane Fonda:

    We are pleased to read your blog and learn of all your eco supportive activities…especially pleased to learn that L’Oreal is not testing on or using animal products as we thought they had appealed to the government to reverse legislation that prohibits use of animals in research.

    Please join with us – Animal World USA and Animal World International. We are creating formal “weeks” for the animals in various states and internationally.

    We are including as many animal supportive groups (rescues, sanctuaries etc) as we can contact to list on the websites we create for each state or continent. We then describe the groups’ own events for educational or fundraising purposes on our calendar pages with a link to the group’s own website.

    Our vision is one of inclusivity for all beings. Our purpose is to raise levels of awareness and compassion for the animals that we share this earth with and to recognize the dedicated work of the humans who support their well-being.

    Thank you for the work that you do to support new visions for all life on the planet.

  12. Oh, I can not believe you’ve been just “next town” basically and I missed out on meeting you. You’re such a great human being, it would have been an honor. Ah, hopefully one day. All the best from Germany and good luck in everything.

  13. Congratulations on your green award. I’ve always admired you as an actress and activist, and gosh, you look great. I’m from the same generation (born in ’47) and was also a big fan of Cat Stevens, and just as big a fan of Yusuf. I wonder if you discussed the wonderful work he’s done in education with his Islamia Schools in the UK. I believe that his beautiful wife Fauzia is the principal of the flagship girls school.

  14. I shared a short airtrain ride with you last Wednesday. I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your career over the years, but you looked very busy on your Blackberry…now I know why. Please continue your involvement in all your causes…it should encourage us all to participate. By the way, you look great, and such a cute doggie.

  15. Jane what a nice interview and great you are living so Eco ,i’m living in Belgium and it’s now a few years we are heating our water with a sunboiler and we placed also fotovotaics cells
    this is a clip made in Belgium agaist the changing climat it called the big ask again .15000 people had act in it .Nick Balthasar the man who made it had asked to use the music of U2 and Bono was very intousiastic about it and said yes .Greenpeace Belgium and Nick asked to send the clip around the world and also on the next top in Kopenhagen .
    i hope i can place it here otherwise you can find it on youtube to
    People who couldent be there the day of the clip can make a little movie on there own with the title dancing for climate change and send it .
    Hope you enjoyed it to and spread the word into the world .
    Also i want to thank you about the story of you meeting Yusuf and Fausia are’ent the gentle people.In a month i will be going to London for the last concert and to met all my friends from Majicat (the cat stevens site for fans)We are one big Catfamily enjoying his music from now and before.It’s the second time that i’m going to his concert ,this year i saw him in London to for the Islandfestival what a evening it was singing with him all his older song was amazing and he was so pleased .He is really a great person ,so the people who think otherwise they are really wrong.
    So thank you and congrats with your price .Regine from Belgium

  16. This was so interesting to read about the symposium about sustainability in Germany and seeing some green products! Thank you for keeping us informed about these issues. I also enjoyed reading about Cat Stevens…Yusuf. I’m glad to know he’s still active making music.

    So glad you had fun with your grandchildren! I know you were tired, but every chance you have to be with them is precious, because children grow up so quickly! You’re so nice to let us see pictures of them occasionally! I agree with Krista that Viva resembles you as a child from the pictures I’ve seen in your book. I think Malcolm resembles Vanessa.

    Take care of yourself! Try to get some extra sleep before your trip!:)

  17. I read the Koran ages ago and was just as amazed as you are regarding that it is the first ancient religious text in regards to a big religion to consider women as equals.

    I applaud your willingness and courage to make such an important speech to a group of people who need to hear it most. I personally believe that we can stop our foreign oil addiction if we invest in domestic developments of environmentally healthy products and biproducts. It would stimulate our economy and bring us back to life.

  18. Wow, great things in the future for sustainability. Good to see.

    Also very glad to hear how green your home is. I can’t wait for the time that it is affordable to all. I hope in my lifetime that will be in place. It’s so expensive right now.

  19. Dear Jane Fonda,

    I want to wish you a very happy Birthday on monday,the 21 of dec.!!!!

    I am the girl,who met you in Dusseldorf (I was the skater with “holiday on ice”)and you inspired me to become an aerobic-instructor.

    Well,I wanted to tell you I started to read your biography and it really helped me through a hard time right now.
    I lost my mom 2 years ago and she was for me the most important person in my life and she always helped me when I needed her.

    I was not very lucky in my men-relationships(was engaged twice-but always got cold feet,because they were agressive) My father never really loved me and was also physiclly abusive to my mother and us children.My mother was so strong to leave my father with 3 children and worked day and night for our ice-skating.I thank her for everything in my life.And she would always tell me (when I was `heart-broken` over a guy who actually treeted me bad):”be happy you´ve got don´t know how good you have it without a man and with a dog,who loves you!” .And I didn´t want to hear that,because I was always hoping for the right guy to show up and having a family.

    And reading your book now,it makes me realise that
    men can not have a decent relationship with a good-looking and strong woman.they lose their confidence or whatever and have to act on it.
    And the way you moved on with your life and making the best of it is a great excample for me.
    I think my mother helped from heaven that i could meet you and now having your book.

    I love you bigtime!!!
    Happy Birthday!

    lots of love,
    Angela Brueck from Cologne

    • angela email me im looking for u!!!!!

    • Angela is the most beautiful woman I have ever met. Sorry for the loss of your mother. Wish I could have been there for you. You are a strong woman. And you have been a huge impact on my life. So I would like to thank you. Hope to see you again someday.

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