I spent this weekend– July 4th and 5th –in Toronto with my grandson, Malcolm, helping to build awareness and support for a big ‘Jobs, Justice, and Climate Action.’ rally and march.


It was an important occasion because it brought together an historic coalition of labor unions, First Nations Peoples, workers and students. Plus, it was in advance of the economic Pan American Climate Summit also taking place in Toronto. where politicians, policymakers and economists from across the Americas will hear from corporate leaders gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis being felt particularly in the global south.


The 10,000 people assembled for the march wanted to be sure that the people at the Climate Summit heard another message—the people’s message: moving away from a fossil fuel economy to a renewable energy economy will be good for the economy, will create more jobs and be more democratic.

The fact that there were leaders of unions representing 100s of 1000s of oil and gas workers was particularly striking. They know that renewables are the future; that turning away from fossil fuel will not harm the economy but just the opposite, and that the new jobs will be safe, healthy and sustainable.


Standing next to these labor leaders were First Nations leaders who movingly spoke of how quiet and beautiful their communities once were but now water, air and land pollution from fracking and tar sands drilling is making their people sick and how the animals they hunt are now filled with tumors.

I spent most of Saturday with Joanna Kerr (the Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada) and Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a Greenpeace climate campaigner and a First Nations activist, a Cree woman whose land is situated in the Tar Sands, and has been devastated by the illnesses caused by the the energy industry there. Her brave work on behalf of her community is noteworthy.


I did a day of interviews promoting the rally and talking about climate change, including a sit down interview with Mark Kelley of the CBC.


Joanna Kerr had a dinner Saturday night. This was a special, thrilling evening for me– some of the great environmental voices or our time at this table: (left to right) Bill McKibbon (author and co-founder of, Dr David Suzuki (reknown scientist, author & climate activist), me, Melina Louboucan-Massimo (First Nations climate activist), author-activist Naomi Klein whose book “This Changes Everything” has changed me deeply, and our host Joanna Kerr. Naomi had just returned from speaking in Rome — at the Vatican — at a gathering of Bishops, Cardinals and other dignitaries on the monumental significance of Pope Francis’s revolutionary (just published) encyclical on Climate Change, encouraging the world to consider climate action a moral imperative.


Before the march began there was a crowded press conference. I spoke briefly at the end, next to Melina, in support of the messages that were articulated by First Nations people, unions, hospital and nursing homes workers, and other climate activists. Malcolm’s job was to take the pictures for the blog.


Protesters stood alongside a number of ‘elephants. ‘ They were there because climate change is often the ‘elephant in the room’ —in many corporate boardrooms.


At the start of the march, an Indigenous leader performed a smudging ceremony, calling on her ancestors to join the spirit of the marchers.

I had to leave before the end to fly home where I will soon begin shooting Season II of Grace & Frankie.

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  1. Huffington Post – Canada did a nice piece on the rally with your comments. They also included some great photos from Toast the Coast in June that you might like to see if you haven’t already. The video within the article continued to an interview with June Diane Raphael in which she discussed you standing up for her need to breast feed/pump at work….and you had just met! This is a HUGE problem for nurses in hospitals working 12 hour shifts…and really all women everywhere! You are pretty awesome, just in case no one has told you recently!
    Just in case you shot the video, you may want to turn the phone horizontally to get a full screen image on download. If Malcolm shot it, let it go, the kid did great! 🙂

  2. Oops, forgot the link. That’s what I get for doling out know-it-all advice…

  3. Saw you on my local news and so glad you ‘Graced’ us with your presence.

    Sorry you couldn’t stay longer but if the reason is to go film more of the fabulous “Grace and Frankie”… more power to you! Binged-watched it last week and now I’m hounding all my friends to do likewise. So rare to see and identify with characters in the third act.

    Beautiful beach house setting, clothes to match the characters (even Sol!) and such detailed personalities, both quirky and endearing. This is like my dream cast!

    Thank you for all that you do. And how superbly you do it. And with so much heart.

  4. Was downloading the interview you did from The National last night, but it is now on the CBC site and better quality, so I shared it. The interviewer seems very centred on questioning your motives at this late stage in your life…but I’d refer him to your character ‘Grace’ in the dynamite new Netflix series, Grace and Frankie where you specifically use the phrase that Grace is worried about age making her ‘irrelevant’…fighting the good fights are all about relevancy – about raging against the dying of the light….No, Jane/Grace, you will certainly never be irrelevant…and you will inspire and leave a legacy in that aspect alone…for generations to come.

  5. My 18 year old son and I were there, in fact we were standing just to left of you! It was an inspiring rally with a YES message of HOPE! YES its possible to have a viable and sustainable green economy that protects the planet and ALL people!
    Thank you so much for coming and bringing your grandson.
    Oh and BTW, that poncho you were wearing was FAB!

  6. I am surprised to hear about the union leaders of the oil and gas workers. That is great to know. Please tell Malcolm he did great as the photographer and I am thrilled to see him by your side for important issues.

  7. Brazil needs attention on the Amazon deforestation issue that grew recently. David Suzuki is a fantastic leader!! I follow his work for many years. I´m building a house at the Chapada dos Veadeiros, north of Brasilia where we are in the Cerrado environment, bioma, and plenty of fresh water, clear, clean streams and waterfalls. We are fighting against the soy bean plantations that are growing and poisoning the land with chemicals, spraying the crops! We have a group at UnB( University of Brasilia) Best regards Trajano

  8. The Wall Street Journal says that Shell Oil is making a massive push in Alaska, more by far than any other company. So it will put up strong resistance. But on the other side are rumors circulating in the energy industry that a new source of energy has been found that will dwarf hydrocarbons in price. A guy named Kent Moore appears to have the story.

  9. More good news: the price of oil is falling again, probably because of the trouble in China—a big help to the opponents of development of (expensive) tar sands oil. But it won’t stop Shell, which is looking to the long term. By the way (or maybe not) the trouble in China could be the start of something that eventually will take the pressure off the environment. Good luck to all.

  10. A really interesting and inspiring read. Jane, I’ve been following your excellent work from the UK.

    Linked to all this – isn’t it time the victims of climate change and other environmental injustices were offered an apology for the harm caused to them? Here’s a link to some of my thoughts and it would be wonderful to have your voice supporting this.

    Very best wishes,

    Paul Collins

  11. Even more proud to be one long time follower of your Blog, your carrer, your life and work, and have had the luck to met you in person I posted the protest on my Facebook page, so those who still think you are not anymore interested in protest anything for good causes , but only interested in your new successfull movie and TV carrer, now know !!! I don´t have any doubt that man will destroy this planet ! I am a crazy recicle-savewather-energy-forest -notoplasticbag person nut, and I thank God I will not be here to see the end of this once blue and perfect planet..

  12. You seem to be a true caring people. I don’t know you but still feel like your a dear friend.Keep rocking on Jane your truly amazing.

  13. Hi Jane
    At the age of 45 I would really like to become an activist regarding an extremely important European principle: the right to vote. I, as a UK citizen, who has lived in Germany for 24 years, does not have the right to vote in the UK because I have not lived there for 15 years (which is fair), but I’m not also allowed to vote in German elections because I don’t have a German passport. So I, like so many, have no vote. This is scandalous in 21st century Europe. so I would love some advice from you. I have started a Facebook group. That’s the extent of my activism at the moment. But if you have any advice for an amateur who would like to change Europe, PLEASE let me know.
    Best wishes

    • Jason, I’m sorry but I just dont know what to say about this. xx

  14. P.s. I just wanted to say that the EU decides on how our street signs look, how straight our cucumbers are, how much money we give to Greece and a vast array of other things that rule our everyday lives. The fact that a vast majority of expats cannot vote is scandalous. Maybe you can help x

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