What Can I Do?

by JANE FONDA

Why, why, why on earth would a girl read a book about the planet’s gargantuan climate crisis while also trying to navigate life a la Covid-19? Because, well, just because the world feels crazier than ever doesn’t mean we should let that stop us from doing the things that make us happy, and *nerd alert* learning makes me happy.

Also, Jane Fonda is a badass.

Admittedly, I was well behind the rest of the world in realizing this. I knew very little about Fonda’s life prior to reading What Can I Do? I knew she was hilarious in Grace and Frankie, extremely fit the inks to her infamous workout videos, and, of course, I knew she kicked butt alongside Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton in the 1980 film, 9 to 5. I had no idea that decades of Fonda’s life had been rooted in various forms of activism, and advocacy. I had a lot of catching up to do.

What Can I Do? dives head-first into the state of our environment and the unprecedented urgency with which we must work to save it.

“I’m reading Naomi’s book, and I’ve decided to move to Washington for a year and camp out in front of the White House. I want to start in three weeks. Can you help me figure it out?” 

Jane Fonda’s initial response to Naomi Klein’s On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

Fonda describes the turmoil she felt after reading Naomi Klein’s On Fireand how it propelled her into a state of activism she’d felt before during her protests of the Vietnam war. But what could she actually do? With the help of the Sunrise Movement and top scientists, scholars, and activists, Fonda organized weekly protests in Washington D.C. known as “Fire Drill Fridays.” These protests included “teach-ins,” during which speakers would educate whomever filled the weekly crowd on a topic connected to the global climate crisis.

Where some writers may have fueled this book with despair and hopelessness, Fonda writes with empathy and hope in humanity that leads us to believe we might just be able to turn this thing around by 2030.

I loved this about What Can I Do? Rather than leave these pages feeling overwhelmed by policies and administrative decisions seemingly bent on ignoring the climate crisis altogether, I left this book feeling empowered to be part of the solution.

Naomi Klein’s On Fire, Greta Thunburg’s No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, or simply want to learn something new from a familiar voice, this book is for you.

In discussing the ripple effects of the climate crisis, topics such as femicide, domestic abuse, and other traumas are also discussed..

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