Activism Saved Me

Jane Fonda

Episode 411

Jane Fonda is a towering figure and an American legend. From Barbarella, to Klute, to 9 to 5, to her workout videos, she’s been gracing our screens for more than 50 years. And, though she may be best known for her role as an artist, surprisingly Jane says that’s not how she thinks of herself: “I consider myself, first and foremost, an activist.” And she has for quite some time.

For the final episode of Season Four, Abby talks with Jane about the power of activism– work that Jane  defines as building “people power in order to change systems that are wicked and evil.”

In recent years, to protest government inaction on climate change and the burning of fossil fuels, Jane launched Fire Drill Fridays. On select Fridays, she can be found in Washington, DC  leading thousands in civil disobedience.  She’s also working to get “climate champions” elected to office via the Jane Fonda Climate Pac.

Jane reminds Abby that her activism started way back when she was a young actress who opposed the Vietnam War: “I was completely confused,” she admits, yet “it was hard to remain on the sidelines.” She describes the winding path she’s cut ever since.

As the conversation proceeds, Jane and Abby bond over how both find joy in activism. Jane describes the balm it has provided in her life. “One thousand percent activism saved me,” she declares. And, though there’s a lot to be angry, or to despair about, she ends with this rhetorical question: “Do you find–because I do–that when you take action, you get less depressed?”

You can follow Jane on Twitter @Janefonda, on Instagram @janefonda, and you can follow Jane’s climate activism on Twitter @janeclimatepac and @firedrillfridays, or you can go to, or

Special Guest

Jane Fonda

Actress, Author, Activist, Fitness Advocate

Jane Fonda is a two-time Academy Award-winning actor (Best Actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home), producer, author, activist, and fitness guru. Her career has spanned over 50 years, accumulating a body of film work that includes over 45 films and crucial work on behalf of political causes such as women’s rights, Native Americans, and the environment. She is a seven-time Golden Globe® winner and was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2021, Stanley Kubrick Excellence in Film Award as part of BAFTA’s Britannia Awards in 2019, AFI Life Achievement Award winner in 2014, and Honorary Palme d’Or honoree in 2007.

Fonda most recently starred in the seventh and final season of Grace & Frankie, which is Netflix’s longest-running original series. It is for her work on the series that she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2017. She was last seen on the big screen in Paramount’s comedy, Book Club in which she starred alongside Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen. In 2023 Fonda will be reunited with her co-stars for Book Club 2. Fonda also premiered Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a documentary for HBO chronicling her life and activism, at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special in 2019. Late this year, she will appear in Paul Wetiz’s film Moving On opposite Lily Tomlin, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Also next year she will star in the highly anticipated 80 For Brady opposite Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno.

Currently, Jane continues to lead the charge on Fire Drill Fridays, the national movement to protest government inaction on climate change she started in October 2019 in partnership with Greenpeace USA. Earlier this year she launched the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, which is focused on defeating political allies of the fossil fuel industry. Her latest book, “What Can I Do? My Path From Climate Despair To Action” details her personal journey with the movement and provides solutions for communities to combat the climate crisis. Jane also notably celebrated her 80th birthday by raising $1 million for each of her nonprofits, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential and The Women’s Media Center.

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