I have been deeply moved and uplifted by all the expressions of love and support since I made public the fact that I’ve been diagnosed with B-cell Non-Hodgins Lymphoma. My heartfelt thanks to all. The messages of love and support mean the world to me. I want to say again that this is a very treatable cancer and much progress has been made with the medicines patients are given. Since last week, so many people have written to me or posted that they have had this type of cancer and have been cancer-free for many decades. Well, I’ll soon be 85 so I won’t have to worry about “many decades.” One will do just fine. Many have asked how I am feeling. Well today, about 3 weeks from my first chemo session, I must tell you that I feel stronger than I have in years. The doctor told me the best antidote to the tiredness that chemotherapy can cause is to move. Walk. And I have been walking. Very early before the record heat kicks in. Also working out. This is not my first encounter with cancer. I’ve had breast cancers and had a mastectomy and come through very well and I will do so again. As I said in my statement last week, I am painfully aware that the top-drawer treatment I receive is not something everyone in this country can count on and I consider that a travesty. It isn’t fair, and I will continue to fight for quality health care for all. Most of you know that I am focused on confronting the urgent climate crisis, caused by fossil fuels, through my ongoing work with Fire Drill Fridays (We just had our 10 millionth viewer last Friday!) and my most recent work with the Jane Fonda Climate PAC. This diagnosis has only made me more determined than ever to continue to end the deadly effects of fossil fuels. While most of us know that fossil fuels are the primary cause of the climate crisis, many may not know that fossil fuel emissions also cause cancer as well as other major health problems like birth defects, childhood leukemia, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and preterm birth. We must find a way to come together to put an end to this deadly correlation. Too many families have suffered, too many communities have been forgotten, written off as ‘Sacrifice Zones,’ far too much pain has been endured. It does not have to be this way. We have it within our power to change this and I intend to do everything in my power to do so. This cancer will not deter me. Please visit https://www.janepac.com to learn about our work to elect climate champions across the country and counter the outsized influence fossil fuel companies have on our government. Please sign up. Please donate. $5, $10, whatever you can. The website will tell you how or you can donate through ActBlue. We need you, your friends, your family and colleagues. With the crucial midterms around the corner, it’s all hands on deck! Please also visit https://firedrillfridays.org to learn about how you can join actions throughout the country and tune into our next livestream on Friday September 9th featuring marine biologist John Hocevar, Director of Greenpeace’s oceans campaign who will tell us what happened at the recent UN Global Ocean Treaty. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your loving thoughts!
Dear Friends, Today I am launching my new effort to stem the tide of climate change and address the outsize influence the fossil fuel industry has on our political system. It’s called the Jane Fonda Climate PAC. The PAC is laser focused on one goal: Do what it takes to defeat fossil fuels supporters and elect climate champions at all levels of government. A link to our launch video is here. Time is running out to avoid the worst case climate impact. After decades of advocacy, public education and other 501(c)(3)-compliant organizing for climate, our attention is shifting to the political roadblock that is preventing not just bold action but even the most basic no-brainers, like ending the billions of dollars of fossil fuel subsidies we give to coal, oil and gas corporations every year. The climate movement has many strong elements but has not engaged in electoral work at scale. The crushing defeat of the Build Back Better bill, after months and months of advocacy and massive public support, made it clear that we need more elected leaders working for people on the planet, instead of fossil fuel interests. You know the saying: “if you can’t change the people, change the people.” Over the last months, I’ve been working closely with my allies in the climate movement and have brought in additional help on the electoral front to launch this effort. We only have eight more years to meet science-based climate targets to avoid worst case climate scenarios, but that also means only 4 more election cycles. I don’t say this lightly, but I feel this is likely to be the most important thing I do in my life. The climate crisis poses unprecedented threats to our communities, our environment, our economy, and our security. It’s not too late to change course. But it won’t happen as long as oil, gas, and coal companies maintain their stranglehold on American politics. Today, I unveiled a new website with more information on how to get involved and donate to this effort. I hope you’ll join me. With Love, Jane
Awhile ago I got a letter from a Boise Idaho high school student, @Shiva_rajbhandari, telling me that he and 9 other students were very concerned about the climate crisis and wanted to learn more about it but there were no high school classes that taught the subject. There was, however, a class on the climate crisis at Boise State and a teacher who would allow them to take the class. The problem was the tuition cost. Would I, Shiva asked, cover the tuition costs for the students? While it was pricy for high school students it was reasonable for me so I called Shiva and told him I would cover the tuition because I admired his guts and entrepreneurial spirit but that in exchange, I wanted all the students to commit to taking some sort of action around this issue. I suggested, for example, pressuring their elected officials to not support subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. (American taxpayers turn over more than $24 billion a year to these companies that are literally killing us! It’s an abomination and must end!). The first thing they all did was write a short story about how global warming has impacted them and their families and send the stories to their elected officials. Here are the stories: Stories are the best way to communicate and they plan on putting together their stories and more on social media. They also protested outside the Idaho Governor’s office demanding that climate/environmental studies be included in Idaho’s public schools:: View this post on Instagram A post shared by SHIVA RAJBHANDARI (@shiva_rajbhandari) Then, this last Friday, the students asked to have a Zoom meeting with me so that they could each present a power point of the project they were working on. The photo at the top of this blog shows the students and me behind them on Zoom. I was really blown away by what they are doing and where my simply agreeing to cover their class cost has led. These are smart, very impressive students and now it’s clear: They’re becoming activists!! They’re putting their concerns into action. There was a project about why dams need to be removed on Idaho’s Snake River and the Salmon River to allow the endangered salmon to spawn. One young woman’s grandfather is a rancher and her project was about how to ranch beef in a more sustainable, animal and climate-friendly way. Another student is creating a social media presence to make what they’re doing more widely know…and hopefully replicated. @i__CLEER is their Instagram. One student is working to bring all art forms together with a focus on climate so if any of you have things to submit, you have their Instagram connection and, at the beginning, Shiva’s connection. They’re planning to organize a climate fair in the spring with all the art on display. There was lots more, believe me. Great stuff. Here’s what Shiva just wrote me about his plans: I didn’t get a chance to present the final project I completed for the UF 100 class, but I developed climate math problems. One issue with climate education is that it’s always in the science classroom. Some have developed curriculum like climate stories to bring climate change into English, but there’s nothing with math, which is something I’m rather passionate about. I put together problems for high school and college textbooks which I think could increase interdisciplinary learning as it relates to this issue. I’m also conducting novel research on how students’ climate stories can advocate for local environmental policy in my AP Capstone Research class. I’m conducting interviews with science communications experts, campaign strategists, and students. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for people to reach out to for this project. I am really jazzed by these young people. They give me hope.
It’s been a while. For months, it’s felt like all I could do was make it from one day to the next. No time or energy to write about it. All my energy went into working, keeping my spirits up and taking care of myself mentally and physically. It seems to me that self-care is critical right now. But there’s more air, more space now. Part of it was making the transition from the end of “Grace & Frankie” to the new film, “Moving On,” that I’m doing with Lily. Written and directed by Paul Weitz, it’s a dark comedy. The characters are very different from Grace and Frankie so there was the raw, vulnerable process of shedding one skin and, almost simultaneously growing a new one which wasn’t easy cause the film started 10 days after G&F wrapped. When you’re leaving one person behind and stepping into someone new, you, the actor, is in an in between, vulnerable space. It’s been interesting. Challenging. Because of making this switch so abruptly, I’m more aware than ever of the differences between TV comedies and movies. Perhaps this is especially true of a Paul Weitz movie. Like in my films of the 70’s, Paul isn’t afraid of silences, of revealing processes. I’m enjoying it very much. We finish on my birthday, Dec 21st, when my family is coming in for the Holidays…finally! Another event that has been profound for me: On Thanksgiving morning, I took my little Tulea to the animal hospital and held her in my arms as she was put to sleep. I knew it was coming. She started having seizures multiple times a day. I couldn’t bring her to work with me anymore. I tried to prepare but it’s never fully successful, is it? I just hung on to my gratitude for having had her loving, loyal companionship for almost 17 years. I miss her terribly. I don’t intend to get another dog. She was a soulmate. That’s one thing. But also, in the coming years, I feel I need to remain as unencumbered and flexible as possible—to go where I can make a difference, wherever that might be. I’ve also missed having a regular weekly Fire Drill Friday. I’m doing one this month that I’m excited about and, as the New Year will be a very crucial and complicated year given the midterm elections and the urgency of the climate crisis, I’m hopeful we can get back to doing them weekly. The most important contribution we can make is to not give up. I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and restful Holiday.
I’m getting excited that we’ll start filming “Grace & Frankie” again tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed having to learn my lines for my scenes tomorrow and Tuesday. I won’t mind having to get up at 4:30am. I’m used to getting up at 5:30 so no big deal…except getting to sleep at 8pm. Yep, that’s right, I go to sleep very early. Well, usually not at 8pm, closer to 9-9:30. I sort of keep farmer’s hours: to bed with the sun and up with the sun. The only one of my 3 husbands who felt as I do was Ted. Tomorrow is also Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. 6 months after it’s mirror image, December 21st, Winter Solstice, the shortest day and my birthday. It’ll be my 84th. COVID has so screwed up my sense of time that I feel winter is a few months from now, skipping all of summer. Which might be a good idea since weather forecasts for this summer shows record heat hitting the southwest and likely a very bad fire season. Heat is the most dangerous of all effects of climate change. We’re taking Fire Drill Fridays to once a month starting in July because it’s too hard to do them weekly when I’m working. Besides, I think we’re all suffering a bit from Zoom fatigue. I miss the Drills though and my Fire Fighters. I hope they are staying safe and willing to take action.
I feel badly cause I’ve gone silent lately in terms of my own writing. For instance no blog since I went to Minnesota. Lots going on. Some good some bad. Mostly good. Here’s some really good: Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer just cancelled the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline that’s been leaking worse than Rep Matt Gaetz’s buddy in crime, Florida tax collector Greenberg. Sometimes, like these last weeks (or has it been months?), every part of me feels filled up with things I have to do, things I have to figure out and deal with, people I have to spend time with. I am filled up with all this and there’s no room to compose a blog. I’m not the type who can write about every little thing I’m doing. If I do post a photo of something I’m about to eat you’ll know I’ve had a drink. maybe that’s it: I haven’t had a drink in ages. Even though I’ve been out a few times with people who’ve been drinking. Won’t name names. I’m so busy that I can’t afford to be at half-mast the next day which is what happens when I have even one drink. That’s what you have to look forward to in your 80s. But as Ted Danson said to me two nights ago when I told him why I wasn’t drinking, “But with age you have the wisdom to figure that out.” (That the next day I’d be at half-mast.) So okay, now you know that one of the people/places I went was to Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen’s home for dinner. They are about the absolute nicest human beings in the whole world and always so much fun. Here’s something else I must confess: See I never used to watch TV so I missed all the great. classic sitcoms like “Friends,” and “Cheers.” Well, during the pandemic I started to watch “Cheers” and now I have crush on Ted. I told him that. What a terrific show!!! And then I re-watched the film, “Body Heat,” with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt and Ted. OMG!!! I recently have become obsessed with the Israeli series, “Shtisel.” I would never have figured but several of my Jewish friends recommended it and, as I’ve seen all the Oscar films, I figured, “Why not?”. “Mare of East Town” too but I have to wait for Sundays for that. Kate Winslett is the bravest actor of all. I so admire her. As for the Oscars, I applaud the producers for doing as well as they did under the circumstances but I do hope we return to the pomp and glory of the big room, big stage, winners looking straight into the camera, snippets of the films and performances. I anticipated every single win up until the last two…Best actress and actor, Whew was I surprised I guess everyone else was too, along with the winners themselves. But I do love Union Station for its beauty and for its place in my life. See, when I was very young, people didn’t fly across the country, they took trains and that’s what I did, with my family, or relatives. And let me tell you, when the Green New Deal becomes a reality and we get light rail, electric, fast, I urge you all to take trains. You’ll see this beautiful country of ours and fall in love with parts of it you may not have known. And if you fall in love, you’ll want to save it. I so clearly remember the vast hall of Union Station where we’d arrive with steamer trunks. It all seemed so thrilling. I’ve run out of time and need to walk my dog, Tulea. She’s gotten very old, deaf with a bit of dementia. Makes me sad. But she still chases the squirrels…and I’m still feeding the squirrels and a pair of turtle doves were bathing in the bird bath I got when it was 112 degrees here last summer and I got scared when birds were falling dead out of the sky. See, my mind always comes back to the climate crisis…which is why I haven’t written more on social media. I’m pretty much preoccupied with all the climate ideas people have for me. Bye. Stay Safe.
It’s Sunday. The Sunday before the Tuesday election. The election that may well determine the future of the planet and whether or not it will be hospitable for human life. The latter will be challenging whoever wins but with a Biden win, at least there’s an acknowledgement that we face a climate crisis and must act. Biden’s history shows that incrementalism is his comfort zone. It will be up to us, the American people who are honest enough to admit there’s a crisis (and there are 10s of millions of us), to make the new administration understand that it’s too late for incrementalism. And the good news is that Biden can be moved to do what’s right. If we’d started phasing out fossil fuels 40 years ago when the fossil fuel industry was told by their scientists that what they were burning was warming up the atmosphere, the transition could have been incremental. But the industry lied and planted false stories. As a result, the time remaining to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% –what the scientists are telling us is essential if we are to avoid the tipping point—is growing smaller fast. I wonder how many of my blog followers will stop reading now. I hope not many. I hope you’ll hang in here cause it’s important if you care anything about saving this precious, complex, perhaps unique, interconnected web of life. The good news is that many of the steps needed to solve the economic crisis that the covid pandemic has wrought can, if implemented with this intention, move us forward on the path to a green, sustainable future. I’m scared. I have to confess. And what I do when I feel like this, besides meditate and workout, is I think about the Green New Deal. I learned to do this from Abigail Leedy, an 18-year-old working class climate activist from Philadelphia where people have died because of the heat, gotten sick because of the pollution spewed from the oil refineries next to her house. Last fall at a Fire Drill Friday, Abigail told the crowd that when she and her friends are feeling the burden of the climate crisis, they raise their spirits by thinking how their world will be under a green new deal. “Under a green new deal maybe kids won’t be poor,” she said. “Under a green new deal all the public schools have air conditioning and we’ll turn gas stations into parks.” It’s moving to me that we have this 14-page resolution laying out a vision for a 10-year mobilization to save the planet that brings hope to our young people and is, in essence, a major jobs program. Yet look what a job Republicans (and some Democrats) have already done on the GND, convincing many people that it’s socialism, that it costs too much, will wreck the economy, and can’t be done. Of course, they conveniently don’t factor in the costs of not doing anything. Get this: Over the last three years, the total cost of extreme billion-dollar weather events exceeded $450 billion! But the main reason they hate the GND is because it requires a strong government and an economy that actually works for all people. The oligarchs try to sell us a bill of goods about the free market system because they hate regulations that prevent them from running roughshod over workers and the environment in order to maximize their profits. Trump has rolled back over 100 environmental regulations! And listen to this: The above is the same reason the Trump administration has refused to mount an appropriate federal response to the covid pandemic. They don’t want us to see the government as an institution that actually helps people. They’ve made ‘Big Government’ a bad word but the size of the government isn’t what’s important, it’s who the government works for, right? Hasn’t covid taught us the importance of a functional federal government? We are right now experiencing the catastrophic impacts of a weakened government that refuses to protect public health and support people in the midst of a global emergency. Please keep reading. It’s important for us all to understand what the Green New Deal is…and understand that it’s not socialism. Like the original New Deal in the 1930s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it proposes that the government funds many thousands of good-paying jobs, retrofitting and upgrading buildings for maximum energy efficiency, updating our water delivery infrastructure to improve waste quality and conservation, remediating toxic oil wells and waste dumps, and generally increasing this nation’s resiliency, safety, and affordability. Unlike that original New Deal, the Green New Deal (GND) explicitly calls out and centers the need for these investments to be guided by justice and equity – racial justice, economic justice, gender justice, and environmental justice. The GND calls for training people in skills that would be in demand in the new economy created by the transition off of fossil fuels and guaranteeing the right of all workers to organize, unionize and collectively bargain. The overseas transfer of jobs and pollution would be stopped. It calls for guaranteeing family-sustaining wages for workers, good healthcare and retirement benefits. It calls for ensuring workers affected by the transition off fossil fuels will have the resources and skills to succeed in a new economy. The work would be local, and local communities would be the ones that benefit from these changes. See we need to stop having to move things like water and food and energy to and from faraway places. When you’re relying on sun and wind, communities can own, control and store their own energy. While polluting industries are being phased out, other, sustainable industries will replace them, spurring economic development. Investing in affordable, high-quality healthcare, housing, education, and social services will ensure all of us can thrive. And the GND isn’t just about urban centers. It calls for supports for family farming, investments in sustainable land use practices, restoring the natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions known as restorative agriculture. This would result in our food being far healthier and more nutritious and without the manipulation of big agribusiness. The genius of the GND is its inclusiveness. It doesn’t just focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Vulnerable communities including indigenous peoples, communities of color, poor and low-income workers, and people who live in rural communities are the primary victims of pollution and resource extraction. Under the GND they would be the beneficiaries along with workers affected by the transition off fossil fuels. When Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey first introduced the GND Resolution, I have to admit that I was one of those who thought, “Oh Lord, why not just focus on climate? Why include equality and justice issues? But I have come to understand that environmental bills that didn’t have justice at their center have invariably failed in Congress, not just because conservative Republicans opposed them, but because they didn’t get support from the working families, unions, young people, and communities of color whose support is vital to getting things done in Washington. And it’s not just about politics. We truly can’t address the climate crisis separately from the other issues we face like economic inequality and racism. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities bare the largest burden of pollution. Millions of people are unemployed or working 2 or 3 jobs just to get by. One thing that was so game-changing about last year’s enormous, global uprisings by student climate activists was that the youth get it, they understand the need for inclusivity and justice. They get that that’s how we will build a movement big enough to win and ensure we leave no one behind. They’re right: To make the Green New Deal a reality, we need the broadest possible cross section of Americans to understand that they would benefit from what will be true systemic change. We all need to understand that what science calls for, cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030 and then weaning entirely off fossil fuels by 2050, is the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced and the opposition is powerful which is one reason why this Tuesday’s election is so critical. Let’s vote for a government that’s willing to mobilize trillions of dollars, putting people back to work in good union jobs, building a resilient, green economy, protecting peoples’ right to energy-efficient, safe housing and healthy water. And let’s not fall for the lies of the climate deniers, climate delayers and people who only care about their own wealth. Thanks to all who read this to the end.
I’m pretty excited about interviewing Mary Trump for next Fire Drill Friday. We had a preliminary “talk” yesterday and she’s way smart and interesting…as is her book. One of the things I like about her book is that we learn what made her uncle the way he is and with that comes empathy. I know that a lot of you will go “whaaaat the f….” Why should I feel empathy. Here’s my perspective:. While he has done hateful, evil things, many of them, if we hate him, we lose. Hate is a heavy and toxic emotion to carry. It does us no good to lug that baggage around. Evil actions, cruel deeds, are the language of the traumatized. We can and should hate the deeds but feel empathy for the traumatized. I’ve felt certain over these four years that Trump experienced major childhood trauma. His lack of empathy, his cruelty, speaks of early trauma, the sort that makes a man scared and scarred and believing that any act of kindness or accepting responsibility or even getting sick shows weakness. You’re a loser. Sick people are losers. All the covid victims are losers. Wearing a mask is for losers. That’s why he doesn’t care. At least it’s one reason. It’s quite terrifying that such pathologies are now running our country. Especially at a time when we truly need leaders with compassion and humility and the willingness to listen to experts. So Friday is going to be really interesting. Every day this week is going to be interesting. I’ve started to promote my book so I’m going interviews with interesting people. For instance, my interview for the magazine “Interview” is going to be with the trans “Pose” star Indya Moore.. Indya was a guest on Friday Drill Friday awhile back and is impressively interesting and intelligent. Monday I do Andy Cohen’s show. I did a very fun photo shoot for “Interview” with Luke Gilford last week. Wild. Everybody but me wore masks and kept a proper distance. I looked different than I ever have in my life. It’s rather surprising to me that I can still look different at my age. Amy Winehouse eyes and black lips, for instance. But what I’m really into is the squirrel that’s been hanging around our cul de sac. She (I choose to believe it’s a girl) comes out early and romps around fearlessly. I’ve started laying 3 walnuts out on the top of a low wall every morning. I’ve not yet seen her actually take them but they’re always gone. My hope is that one day she’ll eat one out of my hand. Hey, we get our kicks where we can, right?
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