“It’s no secret that I have a history of ruffling feathers in Washington,” Fonda says in the video. “When I was 32, President Nixon had me arrested, and fifty years later I was arrested five times for protesting the government’s inaction on climate change. See, I’ve never been afraid to stand up to politicians who ignore the realities of what’s at stake.”
PACs collect funds from individual donors and businesses, then use that money to finance campaigns of their favored candidates. Fonda founded her first PAC in the 1970s with her then-husband Tom Hayden, who later became a senator. She used money from her workout empire to fund the Campaign for Economic Democracy, which supported equitable housing, cleaning up pollution, developing solar energy and other progressive causes.
This time, she’s facing down politicians who are beholden to oil companies. Fonda points out that the fossil fuel industry doled out roughly $140 million in campaign contributions during the 2020 elections, supporting both Democrats and Republicans. “This money has real consequences,” she says. “Major solutions are stopped cold.” She mentions the Green New Deal, Build Back Better and clean energy investments as casualties of politicians being in Big Oil’s pocket.
Now, scientists have proclaimed that we need to cut emissions in half by 2030. “That’s just four election cycles before the point of no return,” she says. While the public is voting with the climate in mind, Fonda says politicians have not shown the same commitment.
“If we can’t change the minds of the people in power, we need to change the people in power,” she says. Her message to politicians: “You should be as scared for your careers as we are by the climate spinning out of control. We will not back down.”
Former Sierra Club national political director Ariel Hayes has signed on as an advisor to the Jane Fonda Climate PAC.
Lead image via Ted Eytan