Fonda’s advice to people depressed about the future

April 17, 2024 12:20 pm

[Source: CNN Entertainment]

Jane Fonda knows what it feels like to worry about the future.

In an exclusive interview with USC Annenberg Media, Oscar-winning actor and activist, 86, reflected on her six-decade-long career and her efforts to address the climate crisis.

That work, she said, helped lift her out of darkness.

Article continues after advertisement

“Maybe five or six years ago, I was really despondent about the climate situation. I was doing stuff, but I knew I could do a lot more given that I have a platform,” Fonda said. “It was hard for me to even get out of bed, I was so depressed. Then I started Fire Drill Fridays and the minute I started my activism full-on, the depression lifted.”

Being an activist helps keep her “hopeful,” she said, despite acknowledging we’re living in a “very dangerous time right now.”

“I think that the most dangerous threat facing us is the climate crisis, because if we don’t confront it in time it’s going to be very hard to achieve democracy, equality, anything that we want in a stable society,” she said. “When I decided to devote myself to the climate crisis issue full-time, it was to try to alert people of what’s coming. We have about six years to reduce our fossil fuel emissions.”

Fonda’s work as an activist began in earnest back in the 1970s, when her mentor, a Black attorney, offered her some words of wisdom.

“I said to him, ‘I think I’m going to not be an actor anymore because it’s too hard for me when I’m working with people who are in a very different situation in the world,’” she recalled. “He said to me, ‘Fonda, the movement has a lot of organizers. We don’t have movie stars. We need movie stars. You should not only keep doing what you’re doing but you got to pay more attention, own it. Own your career, make it work for you as an activist.’”

That’s just what she did thriving as both an activist and as an actress in beloved films, including “9 to 5,” “Coming Home” and “The China Syndrome.”

Now Fonda wants others to also catch fire for doing good as well.

“While I have the opportunity, with every ounce of my being, I want to say to the young people that will read this: please vote and vote with climate in your heart. People are worried about climate, but they don’t bring that into the voting booth with them,” she told the publication. “We have to confront this in order to have a livable future. It’s your future, I’ll be dead.”