White Supremacy and The Climate Crisis

I’m giving you a sneak peek at what will be discussed at my Fire Drill Friday rally tomorrow at 11am PST. The relationship between white supremacy and the climate crisis is important to understand. Understanding this can help us abolish both crises.

Two days from now is July 4th, the day we celebrate our country’s independence from Great Britain. Freedom from colonization was and is certainly an important cause for celebration. But an argument can be made that the control that the fossil fuel industry has over our economy and our government is in a league with colonization in terms of damage to living things and their life support systems.

Colonialism was possible because of white supremacy—I am white and thus superior to the indigenous peoples of color whom I am colonizing and subjugating. This is my right as a superior white person in whose image God was created and if people do not worship this same God, they are heathen, too close to nature, and thus disposable. So the European settlers took the land, killed the people living there who had societies, governing structures, written languages and they cut down the forests because to them, nature was something to be conquered and monetized.

The reality, which is not simply a state of consciousness but is based in science, is that we, the species of animal known as homo sapiens, are interdependent with all living things including other animal and plant forms. This is true on the deepest molecular level. We are interconnected and interdependent. Our wellbeing, our existence even, is bound up with all other living things. White supremacy denies this reality which is one reason why white supremacists hate science…because science proves this is true.

But white supremacy is not just a world view held by individuals. It is the guiding, even if subconscious, paradigm behind most of our institutions. This is why racism is structural, a pathology that infects our economic, political and cultural institutions. Criminal justice is just one part of the problem. Because of structural racism, people of color have little chance of accumulating wealth, owning a home, accessing fresh food, affording health care or living without fear of violence.

It is immensely moving to me that in just about every part of this nation, indigenous peoples are still fighting to save the natural world, putting their bodies on the line to stop oil and gas pipelines and uranium mines and trying to teach us Europeans why our way will be the end of us all. And it astonishes me that today, African Americans call on us to join them in non-violent acts of protest given the reality of what they have endured at our hands.

So today, let us commit to freeing ourselves, our country and its institutions from white supremacy, the enabler of climate destruction. And let us all work to truly understand why the two are inseparable.

Let’s fix the criminal justice system, yes, but not stop there. Let’s show the cynics that at this cruel, complex convergence of multiple crises, this existential crossroads we are at right now, that we are going to band together across race, sex, class, abilities, and age and do all we can and go all the way to simultaneously ending the humanity-denying era of fossil fuel extraction and the white supremacy that enables it… one and all. Once and for all.

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  1. Thanks for this Jane! It’s good to hear from you! I have been using this extra down time during this pandemic to educate myself on issues that I am less familiar with and have really enjoyed the Fire Drill Friday live-streams that have focused on the intersectionality of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Climate Movement. I think it’s super important to have these conversations because so many people are unaware of how they are so intertwined, and how people of color have always suffered more severely from the effects of environmental pollution and a rapidly changing climate. Intersectional environmentalism is absolutely crucial for climate justice. I think it’s vital for every environmentalist to hold themselves accountable and do the inner anti-racism work, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do myself.

    I’m currently reading a book with my Sunrise Movement book club that I think you’d really like, called “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown. It focuses on radical social change and those who are willing to think expansively about what the future could look like if we change the way we think and stop trying to achieve only what seems possible. Really enjoying it so far and I think it’s a great read for anyone involved in a movement.

    Hope you’re doing well! Stay safe!

    xo Robin

  2. It’s so true that everything is interconnected on this earth. It is heartbreaking that so many people not only don’t feel that connection but will deny its existence altogether. And even though some might roll their eyes at quoting a Disney song on such an important issue or dismiss the song because Disney perpetuated the romanticized, inaccurate version of the real girl – I feel the song “Colours of the Wind” from Pocahontas puts everything you’ve said into a moving piece of art that has the ability to touch people on a very deep level. And when it’s read as a poem, it epitomizes the notion. It teaches understanding the importance of being equal with nature, the horrific damage of colonization (to the earth and people around you but also to your soul), the ignorance and danger that comes with white supremacy, and breaking down the absurdity of racism and the benefits of seeing life through someone else’s eyes.

    It’s amazing how you can reach people through music & art. For example, an issue coming from a podium will (sadly) most likely only resonate with the people who are already fighting with you. Granted it can increase the size of “the neutral” and is an unbelievable necessity for amplifying awareness. But the ones fighting against undoubtedly have their hands clasped so tight over their ears that no bullhorn or megaphone could possibly penetrate. BUT intertwine that same issue in a song? It can not only be heard by both sides but it can last for decades and continue affecting and teaching the knowledge within the song for generations to come.

    Just my 2¢…sorry for the long-windedness lol.
    *Lesley (Newfoundland, Canada)

  3. Hi Jane,
    Where can your Fire Drill Friday Rally be accessed? I live in Ireland and although I have never had the chance to partake in a Fire Drill Friday Rally in the US I have marched in Climate Change Protests at home here in Dublin as I feel very strongly towards the crisis. I would really love to watch this and future discussions 🙂
    Many Thanks,
    Robyn Hall

    • Robyn, thanks for wanting to watch Fire Drill Fridays. You can go onto the Firedrillfridays website and watch the weekly events on Facebook or you can go onto the Greenpeace website and it is there as well on facebook. xx

      • Thank you so much Jane, hope you’re keeping well and I look forward to watching the virtual rallies x🥰

  4. I read your blog and have several comments
    I have spent my morning cleaning dog poop
    As a society, we need to get out of the game of trivial pursuit !

  5. The devil can quote the scripture to his own choosing

  6. The road to hell was paved with good intentions.

  7. ❣👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏❣

  8. Jane, I’m watching The newsroom for the first time, very good series and you act incredible.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  9. Jane watching your rally today, all Americans have similar stories, in Mexico they were Spanish, our civilizations were highly educated people with advanced knowledge of astronomy among other things, the Spanish transmitted diseases that did not exist here and many died, they enslaved and the story continues feeling superior for being mestizos, children or grandchildren of Spaniards, sad stories of our brave ancestors.

  10. Jane, I just watched today’s Fire Drill Friday. It was very uplifting and inspirational. Hop was new to me and I found him very hopeful and positive. I feel energized. So this was the last FDF? I missed a few before this. Hope I can find access to them.
    I’m still struggling with learning on my first Iphone. Not doing well with messages, texting, etc. I will try the 877-877 after I finish this. I know I can do postcards, perhaps cold calls. I’ve done that before for dems.
    Thanks for giving the okay on the use of the sign, that helps me plan the direction this painting will go. I plan to put you in wearing the red coat with your hands in zip. I already planned on adding Winona.
    You have added, broaden the perspective which opens the door to growth for everyone. Thanks, Dona

    • NO!!!! Dona. This wasn’t the last Fire Drill Friday. We will continue every friday. What gave you that opinion?

      • I thought I heard you say that. Obviously, I misunderstood. Glad to hear I was wrong and put it out there so you could correct that misunderstanding, in case someone else heard it that way.
        So we still have a date on Friday. 🙂 See how outdated I am. I have to smile the old way. Dona

  11. Thank you Jane for another Fire Drill Friday! As usual your guests are very informative. We have a lot of work to do.
    As I have mentioned before in my tweets, I continue to pray for you, Lily and Jane W on a daily basis to be safe during the pandemic. This week my son and myself have tested positive. Tomorrow my daughter-in-law and two grand children are to be tested. We followed all the rules. Wiping everything down, cleaning behind ourselves, disinfecting, and wearing the mask. So for everyone that is reading this, PLEASE DO EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLy CAN TO BE SAFE. FOLLOW THE RULES. The only thing I think I should have done more, was wear the mask more.
    Love to all. Elaine

    • I have a number of friends who were Covid positive, Elaine. They remained home and got through it but it was rough. I hope yours is less rough.

      • Thanks Jane! It has been a rough few days already. I know it could be worse. But praying it doesn’t. Please be safe Jane!

  12. Also, I love the picture of earth and the hands. It is beautiful. And I like that it centers on Africa, where supposedly according to scientists we all started on this go-round. I say this particular go-round because I have read according to Hindu belief that we have had several go-rounds before this one. Archaeologists are just finding so many buried civilizations that came before us. How lucky we are as humans to have such a beautiful world to allow us a place to evolve and grow. I am grateful for its gift and the gift of so many fellows humans who struggle to preserve it not just for humanity, but for all life forms. That’s what that picture evoked in me. Dona

  13. Hi Jane, I hope you’re well, I realise I may have over – faced you with my amount of questions so I’ll just keep it to the questions I think your opinions on are the most important. You’re article is extremely eye – opening, it is such a shame that in Uk schools we hardly learn anything about this sort of thing, something I hope our school system can improve on.

    Just three this time 😂

    1)What do you feel at the prospect of President Trump serving for another term?

    2)You knocked on the doors of Republicans to gain a broader perspective as to why people voted for Trump. What are similarities you found between these voters? & Did they say anything that was unexpected?

    Or gave you an insight into why they mightn’t be persuaded to vote democrat.

    3)Angela Davis said: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery.’

    In your experience do you find this to be the case? & If so why do you think this hasn’t changed?

    If this is still too much then I understand. Thank you, Grace

    • 1. This country is doomed if DT is reelected. There’s little hope, I fear that with him still in the White House we can avoid the worst of the climate crisis. Things will get really bad for the majority.
      2.I think some voted for him because they are racists. Many did so because the neo-liberalism that has ruled the country for so long did nothing for them and, because no one was running that could explain what was wrong and how to fix it, they went for the person who seemed most likely to blow the whole thing up. Joe Biden is a neo-liberal but he’s persuadable, he’s someone who activists can move…I think. That’s what we must all work for. Getting him elected, Building the outside force to push against him that can force him to do what’s needed. All that is outside his comfort zone but maybe he’s realizing the extent that things are changing…it’s a different, more diverse, younger electorate
      3. I think Angela Davis was right when she said that. I don’t know this from my experience but from my studies. This is true because of the immense racism in this country and the ferocity with which white, cisgender men will fight to maintain power.

  14. Jane in 2 weeks I will be a grandmother again the pediatrician gave permission for me to come as long as I had a Covid test and was willing to quarantine with them, I had 2 tests, the 4 test for me, I am still negative, I travel with great care and I am already here with them, I am the happiest in the world. I pray for you every day, stay safe.💕💕💕

    • Thank you Jane, my granddaughter was born, it is incredible how life changed in such a moment something so simple that I did, travel to visit my daughter very often now to be able to do it, was very complícate, with all this we still do not understand that we cause it with our actions, stay safe, many people like me need you so much, Thanks for everything 💕💕

  15. Thank you so much for answering Jane, I’ll send you my school article when I’m done if you’d be alright with that. You’re such a great role model for young people, in everything that you do, I hope our society grows to have more people as hard – working, righteous and courageous as you.

    In your article you spoke about the cynics, Jon Favreau in his Oxford Union Address spoke about how in politics it can be hard to restrain for cynicism. I think it is so positive that you remain focused on the key goals with constant determination. Good luck with everything, Grace 💗

    • We have to all fight not to become cynical. x Jane

  16. Hi, Jane!
    I’m happy that your are still OK!
    You wrote in a comment above this … “Joe Biden is a neo-liberal but he’s persuadable, he’s someone who activists can move…I think. That’s what we must all work for. Getting him elected, Building the outside force to push against him that can force him to do what’s needed. All that is outside his comfort zone but maybe he’s realizing the extent that things are changing”… So, what you are saying is that Biden isn’t the “perfect” president for the States either, but your hopes are that he will be more flexible? Did I understood you correctly?
    stay safe XXX

    • Yes, Nicoleta. When we vote, we should not think “who is the perfect president” and if the candidate isn’t the one we hoped for then decide we won’t vote. NO NO NO!!@!!! We should think, “who can we work with? Who can be persuaded.” I believe that essentially, Biden is a decent human being capable of empathy who can be pushed to do big, bold, brave things that are outside his comfort zone.

  17. Hello Jane!

    Writing to you from the other part of the world – Sakhalin Island, Russia. Not sure if you heard of it. But we definitely heard of you 🙂 Your life, your activism is such an inspiration to me. For me it all started with Grace and Frankie on Netflix. Funny, kind, brilliant series about normal people – with all their issues, struggles and wins. I am 42, but I can relate to them in so many ways! I admire your looks, you are a star in any age. And I love the look in your eyes – they are so lively, so full of passion for life and a great story behind all these years. And I wanted to know more about you – so I watched many many videos of your speeches at different forums, the Life in five acts movie, interviews, etc. You have heard it million times of course, but you are an amazing person! Your personal story touches my heart, helps me understand the issues I am going through in my family – with my parents, my husband, my daughter and it teaches me in so many ways and inspires to be a better me. Thank you for that. You are that special someone I am looking at for inspiration, wisdom and courage. And I do want to have a meaning in my life, like you do.

    I truly hope this message reaches you. As you said in interview on Wired, your blog is a way to contact you. So here I am. Thank you for coming to my life. All the best from Russia. Say hi so that I knew you read this. Thank you. God bless you and everything that you do and fight for.

    • Hi Karine, Thanks for joining my blog. I appreciate your words. xx Jane

      • It works! Wow! 🙂 Have a wonderful day, Jane!

        • Karine from “Russia, I loved what you said in your post. It took me back to my first time posting to Jane thinking, Is this real? Will she really read what I have to say? I was as thrilled as you are to learn it was when she answered me. Welcome, to her community of posting fans. I will look forward to reading more of whatever you have to say. Dona from Arizona.

          • Nice to meet you, Dona! Thank you for your note. It is really amazing that Jane is that available being such a busy person. Internet kind of lacks that personal touch when you engage with people, but Jane makes it very personal. I am reading through her blog from the very beginning. What a read! All the best to you and your family. Stay safe and healthy!

  18. Jane,
    I’m so glad I read your blog.becuse I wasn’t going to vote. The guy I wanted is out. Now I changed my mind. I’m going to vote Biden. I got so fed up with the news. How can you trust what anybody says these days? The world is a scary place right now. What news source do you watch? CNN? I had a very frustrating conversation with my parents about why they are voting for trump. I personally think it’s because they are republicans and that’s who you vote for. It’s always been that way in my family. Until I found you!! Thank you for opening my eyes to different perspectives. I now think for myself. They were giving me all these statistics and I’m not really studied enough to fight back. I did say how could you vote for a man who is a womanizer and a racists? Who doesn’t care about people or the planet? And they said most of that was in the past? Then I had to Segway so I kinda used you As an example I hope you don’t mind. Then why do you still dislike Jane Fonda I said because my Dad was in the army during Vietnam he didn’t fight in the war he was in Germany. That’s in the past also and she owned it and apologized many times for it. I said that you are fighting for our planet and we need a president who is for climate. Otherwise this planet will be gone in 11 years. My mom looked straight at me and said who cares we will be gone by then. How selfish! They have 5 grandchildren not including my 3 that I gave up at birth at different times. Who are also 50%mexican. How can people think this way Jane? Am I wrong? Was that a bad comparison? Well that was the end of the conversation. They told me to go home. Please let me know your thoughts or anything I could of said. Because I’m lost? Hope all is well stay safe!

    • How great and brave of you to try, Stacey!!!! I might try telling them that many Republicans are not supporting Trump anymore. Send them info about The Lincoln Project. Kelly Ann Conway’s husband is part of that. They’ve started running amazing ads exposing Trump…and they are REPUBLICANS. See of you can send those ads to them. Or check out that website (which I confess I have not but it might have good stuff you could show them). But you need to remember that for whatever reason, some folks cannot change an you needn’t keep trying. Love them and let it go. But it’s hard, I know. BTW, I am soooo happy you will vote for Biden. We can push him to do right. We HAVE to. xx

      • Jane,
        Thank you for the suggestions! I will definitely look at those ads and website. I was terrified to say the least to bring up the subject of trump but I have two posters hanging in my apartment one of your Cleveland arrest and one of you and lily a grace and Frankie one. They remind me everyday how brave you were and still are today. You are one of my sheroes!! So thank you. We are all in this together!
        Stay safe

  19. hey jane,

    i’ve been admiring the wall of photographs behind you in your streams for a while now, it seems to be your wall of inspiration, and i’ve been trying to see what people you have up there and what significance they have to you. i noticed the one with you and harvey milk, which is very moving. and of course gloria steinem, which needs no explanation. if you ever had free time to show or go through some of the people you’ve selected, a couple of others and i would be very interested.

    take care, much love as always

    • Kate, I want to fill the walls of this room with my heroes and sheroes. So far, they include Rosa Parks, me and Harvey Milk, me with Howard Zinn, Ceasar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, Gloria Steinem, Jodie Foster directing a film, and there are photos I especially like of me with Tom Hayden, a picture of me with a bow and arrow taken in the 60s by Dennis Hopper. And there’s a terrific photo of my father when he was young.

      • thanks for going through some these, that’s an impressive collection and i like your choices. i would love to see an update when you’ve added some more, even a photo of the whole wall. well, talking of ‘sheroes’, you’re on my wall.

        and i love that you include our names in your reply, do you ever recognise some of us who comment frequently?

        much love,

  20. Hi Jane!

    Wanted to say that I agree 100% with what you said at the beginning of today’s FDF. The energy here in D.C. is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I feel so lucky to be able to move here in this historic time and humbled to be able to work toward real, possible change.

    I also think the message that everyone can play a part is so important. Removing barriers to entry—perceived or otherwise—is crucial in motivating people who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves to be “activists” (FDF did it for me!)

    Thank you for continually inspiring and educating in an inclusive, welcoming way. The D.C. Fire Drill Friday crew miss you!


  21. Hi Jane,
    Just dropping a note of thanks for all the amazing people you have speaking each Friday! These last few weeks have been so powerful and moving. Thank you for using your platform & bringing so much awareness and attention to the issues that need it most. I loved hearing Judith speak this past Friday and her response to you asking where does your Hope take root? So moving and so beautiful. There truly is hope, inspiration and positive actions coming from such terrible times.
    Love & Blessings!

  22. I have especially enjoyed reading the posting since July 4th. It has depth, hope with Biden, charity towards parents who are stuck, new people voicing their insights and appreciation, more heros & sheros to discover, (who’s Howard Zinn) and a real warmth of connection. I also loved watching the Burning questions segment with you and Lily. I really laughed out loud, it was so much fun. I enjoyed re-watching the late night interview with what’s-his-name. (senior moment in full mode. I can see his face.)( He remembered you sticking your tongue in his ear.) I enjoyed watching “Delores” this week on PBS, as I did the one with Gloria Steinem a couple weeks ago. I remembered your recent talk with Dolores on FDF? I received my T-Shirt with it’s rainbow flame. It is soft and beautiful. I can’t wait to wear it where someone can see it and the Fonda name. I hope they ask so I can talk and talk about FDF and you. So many good connections. It fills me up. As always I am thankful. Dona

  23. Hello Jane,
    It is a pleasure to be a part of this community. Thank you for all the amazing intersectional work that you are doing.

  24. Hi Jane!

    Just wanted to let you know I made it through the coronavirus! I’m not 100% but getting there! As your friends that had it said – it was rough! I haven’t missed a Fire Drill Friday since February, even with being sick. You are doing so much for the environment and many other causes. You are truly an inspiration in so many avenues! Thank you for all that you do. Could say more, but I know you are busy and I know so many are reading what I say. Not comfortable with that, I guess I’m too private. You are in my prayers everyday, as is, Lily and Jane #1. Please continue to be safe!


  25. Please support: Sustainability Saturday blog and Ecoblocker – designed to help individuals make cumulatuve daily sustainability an eady habit, Ecosia – plants millions of trees, TruEarth, Grove, Who Gives a Crap, Seventh Generation, Bidets, Ethique and many small environmental orgs and companies.
    Help Sierra Club get out the undecided vote.
    Thank you.
    I admire your volunteer work, your kind care for Ted and the environment, and I understand that you are direct and I need to be, too. I hope to be constructive and love the doer but hate the deed. Have you truly done all you could to make it up to viet war vets? I know you apologized, I hope you did alot more. Knowing you, you did. I hope so, reparations are part of apologies. I am a progressive libral who was against the war.
    The black panthers did promote violence. I never condone violence. I admire how you loved their children.
    You can demonstrate, but your energy and money are best used to legislate. I know you support Biden snd others. That is your best use of your time.
    Is greenpeace doing things legally and non violently?
    Thank you for listening.

    • Whre to start, Maureen. Greenpeace is adamant about non-violence and doing things legally. I can guarantee you that. Climate scientists have said that it will take unprecedented numbers of people who are mobilized and organized to get the government to do what needs to be done. They, even the Democrats are too often taking money from the fossil fuel industry. They are reluctant to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure, stop fracking and phase out entirely by 2050. It will take people power. I support Biden because I’d rather push a centrist than fight a fascist. I also work with vets groups like About Face and Vets for Peace.

  26. Hi Jane,
    I have been impressed with your efforts for positive changes and address climate change issues specifically. We have been trying full time for 15 years to get our very good wind turbine based energy solution into the world but have been held back by utilities and funding. We have solved engineering issues that prevented deployment of the vertical axis wind turbine design for almost 100 years. Our turbine has now been successfully tested for seven years and provides the lowest cost electrical energy safely on a distributed basis (i.e. can be installed anywhere). We complement solar energy production without the harmful effects of the traditional horizontal axis wind turbines such as killing birds, noise, etc. Our website is http://www.arborwind.com. I would appreciate any suggestion you can give on actions we can take to speed up our ability to meet clean energy needs worldwide. Thanks in advance for your help.

  27. Thanks for sharing! Global climate cannot be simply wished away! Here interesting article on this topic https://essaysmasters.com/free-essay/climate-change-essay/

  28. I remember when the gorgeous Lily tomlin and you march Protest about the trees in DC are they still burning in DC in California I remember when Lily Tomlin made that speech we can do it

  29. I remember when the gorgeous Lily tomlin and you march Protest about the trees in DC are they still burning in DC in California I remember when Lily Tomlin made that speech we can do it that was beautiful then y’all got arrested I mean somebody gotta do something about the climate in the trees in because over here they cutting down trees animals homes birds homes squirrels homes yeah

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