WASHINGTON (ABC NEWS) — Academy Award winning actress Jane Fonda, 81, was arrested by police with a group of about a dozen protesters Friday after being warned repeatedly to leave the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Inspired by youth climate activists like Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, 16, who herself recently came to Washington to testify in front of Congress, Fonda, who, throughout her long career, has engaged in activism, dating as far back as the Vietnam War, recently told ABC News that while she’s in the nation’s capital, every Friday, she’ll attend “Fire Drill Friday,” a weekly event featuring scientists, celebrities and activists addressing the various facets and impacts of climate change.
The event title is a play on Thunberg saying during a speech at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January, “I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
“11:00 o’clock every Friday morning come get arrested with me or choose not to it doesn’t matter,” told ABC News in an earlier interview about her planned effort.
Fonda said she decided to leave her home, and comfort zone, through the holidays, and move to Washington for four months, because she wanted to “make a commitment to” the issue of climate change.
In an interview with ABC News Deputy Political director MaryAlice Parks for an episode of of ABC News Live’s “The Briefing Room,” Fonda said that while they bear no blame for causing it, the kids are leading the charge on fighting climate change.
“They’re saying, ‘Come on, you know, you’re taking our future away from us. We need — we need you to support us.’ And so grandmas unite,” she said. “I want to stand with them and raise up… their message. This is — this is serious… This is a crisis unlike anything that has ever faced humankind.”
Stressing she was not being hyperbolic, Fonda said this is the “one issue” that matters because it “will determine the survival of our species,” and said that’s why she’ll be attending Fire Drill Fridays weekly.
“I think every single human being has to say, ‘What can I do to put this at the forefront?'” she said. “(With) everything that’s going on in the news, well, we have to fight our way through that and find ways to get climate change in people’s minds.”
The esteemed actress pushed back against criticism that Hollywood’s presence could make climate change a more polarizing issue.
“What we’re facing is so important and so urgent, it doesn’t matter. Those — those things don’t even matter,” she told Parks. “This is the future. This is whether we’re going to survive.”
Fonda also said that the United States needs “to lead the way” on this issue, so that other countries who contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions, like China and India, “follow suit.”
While she’s been passionate about this issue for “decades,” she credits her current endeavors on Thunberg’s recurring protest outside Swedish parliament, and other student climate strikers around the world for taking on this issue so passionately.
“(They) have really risked a lot and given up a lot in order to say, ‘Wake up old people. How come you’re not standing with us? You’ve taken our future away,'” she said. “So you know, grandma’s joining.”
Fonda has met with some of these young activists, and she told ABC News she doesn’t need to offer them any advice (she takes advice from them), but made a plea to others to vote and join the fight.
“Register and vote, and vote for the climate. Vote for a Green New Deal. Up and down the ticket, not just president, but all the way down to your local officials,” she said. “And then march. Demonstrate. Make a scene. Put your body on the line.”
Free download: Access Connecticut breaking news, weather, stream newscasts live and more on-the-go with News 8 alerts directly to your phone.