What Jane Fonda said

a few weeks back...

So, I was at a Greenpeace event in Toronto a few weeks back.

Greenpeace Canada Executive Director Joanna Kerr moderated a lively conversation with actor/activist Jane Fonda and Bianca Mugyenyi, co-director of the Leap Manifesto.

The conversation was pretty free-range, yet also focused – about activism in the era of climate change on steroids, tar sands, Standing Rock - & Donald Trump. (Well, our own handsome, smooth-talking Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was also mentioned. JT is nice to look at, of course, speaks well … but he just doesn’t seem to deliver … you know? Hmmmm. In the language of old, a man who speaks with a forked tongue??)


Pretty great conversation.

  • Lively
  • Inspiring
  • Many insights from the three fiercely intelligent, fiercely active women on the panel

At the end, a member of the audience asks

“Can you give us some practical things we can do as individuals?”

Bianca Mugyenyi quotes Bill McKibben, who apparently said

“Stop being an individual!”


& Jane Fonda is twigged by this in a big way, & says, more or less

“Yes! It was stopping being an individual that saved me!”

(This remark made total sense to all of us, btw, given things she’d said earlier in the conversation, about her early days as an activist, and a few key individuals she’d met along the way)

& how she could have chosen to live her life, as a celebrity, living a life of hedonism, instead of as an actress & activist

But that joining the fray, doing worthwhile work in the company of other committed activists – has been so deeply satisfying.

“Better to go down as part of a movement, than as a mealy-mouth,” she said.

For the record, Jane Fonda is now 80 years old, & has been going door-to-door doing political canvassing.

This woman is sure no slouch!



p.s. as Bianca Mugyenyi noted, the powers that be DO NOT WANT US TO GET TOGETHER.

United, we are dangerous to them.

Divided, truly, we fall.

My take?

Yes!  Yes, yes, yes.

Join in!

Stop being an individual.

Find your tribe!

p.p.s. Fonda also said this: “The patriarchy is a wounded beast. And nothing is more dangerous than a wounded beast."

I think we need to be mindful of this insight.

p.p.p.s. they also agreed, all 3, that “clicktavism” is dangerous. Activism needs to be personal – involve communities, & getting your hands dirty (this is my phrase), & creating community. You don’t get that by sitting & clicking “Like” on Facebook posts.

True story!


Ah....... one of my favourite quotes ever!

“I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle.” Robert Fulghum