Jane Fonda scorches fossil fuel executives in Vancouver speech, saying the real issue is life versus oil

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      Oscar-winning actor Jane Fonda electrified a crowd at Jericho Beach with a hard-hitting 12-minute speech condemning oil executives and calling for far greater emphasis on renewable energy.

      The star of such films as On Golden Pond and Klute said that she came to speak in Vancouver because she believes that the world is at an "existential crossroads" because of climate change.

      "I’m 77 and I thought I was getting too tired to go to the barricades, but that’s a bunch of B.S.," Fonda said to cheers from people attending the Toast the Coast Before the Coast is Toast celebration.

      "This issue is too important and it’s a very simple issue," she continued. "People versus oil. Life versus oil."

      She explained that down one road, Shell Oil will drill in the Arctic, which is the world's largest untapped oil reserve, simply to make a profit. And she expressed exasperation over the U.S. government giving permission to the oil giant to do this.

      “What it means is that a very tiny group of people get richer and richer," Fonda said. "And the vast majority get hotter and sicker. Richer and richer. Hotter and sicker. Richer and richer. Hotter and sicker.”

      She then pointed to another road in which the future could be honoured, bringing about clean jobs, democracy, and better lives for children, grandchildren, and precious animals. 

      "Down that road, people take a stand a stand against Shell Oil, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, and all the other corporations masquerading as citizens," Fonda declared.

      Jane Fonda opens her speech by praising a young climate-change activist named Tiger.

      Moments later, she said there's been "enough profit, enough plundering through extractivism".

      That's when Fonda teed off on oil executives.

      "These men who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute, they don’t know what enough means," she claimed. "They assume that our natural resources are limitless and that they have a right to plunder them, even if it means leaving our communities riddled with cancer and birth defects and asthma. Even when it means killing off entire species. Even when it means killing us. This is not just irresponsible. This is abuse of power and abuse of human rights."

      She said it doesn't require a PhD to understand what's happening. And she insisted that certain oil reserves must remain in the ground if the world will remain within two degrees Celsius of average warming since the industrial revolution began.

      "It will never happen if we drill in the Arctic and expand the Alberta tarsands," Fonda stated. "The principal reserve that has to stay in the ground is the Arctic."

      Charlie Smith

      Not only is the Arctic home to caribou, whales, polar bears, walruses, fish, whales, and four million people, but Fonda also said that it's the world's "air conditioner".

      "That ice bounces the sun's heat back into space," she maintained. "The Arctic helps protect us. We need to protect the Arctic. If Arctic oil is pumped and burned, the ice will melt faster and as that ice melts, the climate heat is turned up. The glaciers melt. The seas rise, wiping out entire island nations and coastal communities. If that ice melts, the entire world is in much graver danger."

      She pointed to a different path, citing how more jobs are created for every dollar invested in renewable energy than for the same amount put into extractive industries.

      She cited several European countries and U.S. cities where there's been an increase in renewable energy use.

      "And they’re clean jobs. And they’re jobs with dignity," Fonda said. "Now the oil companies and the politicians they buy off and the right-wing media would have us believe that the alternatives aren’t real, that they’re not ready, that it’s pie in the sky for some future time. All you have to look at is Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Germany."

      Jane Fonda spoke of another world in which the future is honoured.

      Fonda opened her speech by letting the audience know that she was first arrested in 1970 while marching with First Nations in Tacoma and for protesting the impact of clear-cutting on spawning salmon.

      "I have fished for salmon in the Campbell River," Fonda said. "So I, in my own way, am aware of the unbelievable beauty of this pristine coast. And I stand here with you and with the unbelievably brave First Nations people who are trying to stop Big Oil from destroying the coastline."



      Charles Goldman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, U of Cal

      Jun 13, 2015 at 8:41pm

      A great talk Jane , many ,many thanks for spreading the word on the greatest long term threat to humanity since the advent of the atomic bomb. The warming appears to be accelerating as melting permafrost releases methane which is more than 20 times as potent a green house gas as carbon dioxide. The World Water and Climate Foundation recently published our study of the lakes of the world and found only one country, New Zealand. where lakes were not warming significantly and that was due to their Island proximity of cold ocean waters. Congratulations on maintaining your strong position on environmental issues that we have followed over these many years. Your talks and courageous position have been an inspiration to entire generations. Keep up the fight as the attack on Science has been the keynote of the vociferous and well funded deniers of the reality of global warming and climate change. Thank you in the name of our children's children.

      carbon/ oil = death

      Jun 13, 2015 at 10:56pm

      Stop and get off oil or die , very simple ok .
      Now shut up and lets do it , there are many alternatives .

      Desert Ocotillo DS

      Jun 13, 2015 at 11:28pm


      Christopher Christin

      Jun 14, 2015 at 4:25am

      She is right about what she is saying about oil companies but I never hear about a real alternative to oil use in the real world . Nothing that is a really solution to what people are asking for , no one ever talks about how to make renewable energy work , like solar , like wind , like how to make electricity without fosse fuel . Why is no one talking or do anything about garbage as fuel.instead of pollution or making solar panels cheaper to buy or windmills that actually are costing less and producing more cheap energy . Everyone how talks about big oil companies in a negative light should start talking about real solutions instead of this one is doing and how they ard always to blame for all our woes . The people that make all the big statements need to start talking about real solutions in the real world.


      Jun 14, 2015 at 5:47am

      Jane: How did you get to BC? Plane,train automobile.


      Jun 14, 2015 at 5:50am

      When oil stops everything stops.

      Ron Welcher

      Jun 14, 2015 at 5:52am

      Another jet setter flying around in her favourite mode of transportation that consumes between 4 to 6 litres of jet fuel per SECOND to stay airborne. Sure would like to see the carbon foot print they have.


      Jun 14, 2015 at 6:19am

      sure listen to hannoy jane a person who stood with the north viatmanize and posing for a picture of her and the enemy she should have been tried as giving support for the enemy but daddy got her out of it while young us service men were being shot down she sat on the weapon that shot them down she is an embarrassment for the usa how did she get to Vancouver by magic unicorn or first class air

      Jim Greay

      Jun 14, 2015 at 6:28am

      GREEN did not defeat smog!
      It was the science of clean burning of fossil fuels that killed the smoggy 70's and now the fracking science has given us unlimited energy and possible world peace.
      Life is good.
      Only 34 MORE years of global climate change disbelief and climate action failure is certain and unstoppable now.
      Who's the fear mongering neocon in the coming history books? This was your Iraq War.

      James Osborne

      Jun 14, 2015 at 6:33am

      Anyone curious about how she got to that event? Plane? Car? For sure, fossil fuel was involved. Did she stay in a nice warm hotel? Fossil fuel was involved. Did she eat hot cooked food. Fossil fuel was involved. Did she travel or land on paved highways or runways. Fossil fuel was involved. Protesters dislike being called hypocrites; perhaps they should stop acting like them.

      Of course we need to look at alternative sources of energy, but it gets tiresome when people preen their visibility (and egos) by bashing others who provide products we depend upon. Work with them. Something worth remembering: "Blowing out someone else's candle won't make yours burn any brighter."