The flyer arrived in the mail in early summer. The local speakers series was announcing its lineup of luminaries coming to Pittsburgh for the 2023-2024 season. Jane Fonda was the first guest on the schedule; her short bio mentioned the Jane Fonda Climate PAC.
Reading the brochure and seeing Fonda brought strong emotions.
Fair disclosure: I am not a fan of Jane Fonda’s off-screen antics. Her two-week visit to North Vietnam in 1972, capped with the infamous photos of her perched atop a Hanoi antiaircraft gun and smiling alongside NVA troops, remains a hurtful betrayal of America and its veterans. A shameless, embarrassing bid for attention and publicity.
But…embracing a classic liberal view of individual rights, including freedom of speech, I can’t fault the 85-year-old Fonda for going on the speakers tour. Or for running a political action committee (PAC) to fund politicians that match her ideology and policy leanings.
After all, this is America and it’s a free country, right? Perhaps that’s stretching wishful thinking with the Left running government these days. But call me an optimist.
Interestingly, a few days after the speaker series brochure arrival, I stumbled across an article featuring Fonda in the Wall Street Journal’s style section. It’s one of those features where a series of everyday questions are posed to the celebrity, offering insight into the celebrity’s preferences, likes, and lifestyle. (I’m not a regular reader of the style section, which my fashion sense corroborates).
Realizing Fonda was the guest, I gave a thorough read to the Q&A. Many of her answers in the May interview are riddled with climate change concern and advocacy for climate action. But her answers to the lifestyle and daily routine questions betrayed personal actions in conflict with her environmental talking points.
And once again, I was shocked by the degree of elitist hypocrisy on display, this time from Fonda. With such hypocrisy being a common occurrence these days, one would expect to be desensitized to it by now.
The timing and intersection of brochure and article were sweet serendipity for this energy policy afficionado.
On one end we have Fonda’s approaching speech that, based on the brochure, suggests a discussion on the need to address climate change. And then there’s Fonda’s expose in the Journal chatting up her lifestyle.
It was time to put the celebrity climate talk to the test of the celebrity lifestyle walk.
Jane Says: Climate Action Now!
Fonda clearly considers herself an advocate for the environment and a voice to urge decisive action on climate change. Those themes play prominent in many of her appearances, interviews, and speeches.
She formed the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, a political action committee that gathers donations to fund the campaigns of dozens of politicians who favor extreme environmental ideology and policies.
The organization’s website is professionally done and incudes a five-minute video of Fonda pleading to cut fossil fuel emissions and to end the influence of those evil fossil fuel companies.
She mentions ‘bomb cyclones’ in California. Ironically, she points to the Texas freeze of 2021 and New England blizzards as signs of global warming, err, climate change (isn’t the term ‘climate change’ so much more accommodating to the religion of radical environmentalism than ‘global warming’?).
She implores us to elect leaders who will act with urgency. Especially in America’s biggest cities, which need to move away from fossil fuels immediately. She reminds us that the evil fossil fuel industry never rests and that its lackies in Congress are hard at work planning the next nefarious moves.
Fonda touts her activist street cred across the website (absent is any mention of her Hanoi campaign of 1972). She proudly promotes how she was arrested five times for protesting the government’s inaction on climate change.
She warrants that the Jane Fonda Climate PAC is laser-focused on one goal: doing what it takes to defeat fossil fuel supporters and elect climate champions at all levels of government. She reflects that it is the most important thing she will do in her lifetime.
Of course, the site urges personal aggressive action on climate change, consistent with the typical climate-speak everywhere these days of ‘reaching a stark turning point,’ ‘time is short,’ and ‘the world is ending if we don’t all act ASAP’ (the same climate alarmism we’ve been hearing the last hundred years).
On social media, the Jane Fonda Climate PAC posted a message asking, “Each of us one day will have to answer the question: what did I do to protect the planet…?”1
Jane’s Addiction to Fossil Fuels
That social media post by the Jane Fonda Climate PAC got me thinking: what if the ‘one day’ it referenced was today? How would Fonda’s personal lifestyle today stack up to her rhetoric and lecturing others about the climate crisis and the need to stop using fossil fuels?
That’s where the interview came into play. In it, Fonda happily discusses in detail much of her daily routine and interests.
When one considers the carbon footprint and fossil fuel inputs that come with a day in the life of Jane Fonda, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for the Code Red crowd. Here’s a brief inventory:
- Fonda says the first thing she does in the morning is play online games. Let’s assume the games2 are played on a smart phone, smart tablet, or computer. All those electronic products carry massive carbon footprints on a life cycle basis, and all need fossil fuels as a necessary input to the manufacturing process. Worse yet, many links of their production chains carry egregious ecological damage and human rights violations in the developing world.
- Something had to charge those electronic devices to power them. That something would be electricity, which carries a significant carbon footprint and will rely on fossil fuels at some point on a life cycle basis, most often directly. If Fonda plugs in her devices in California, she should know wind and solar power generation require substantial fossil fuel inputs and backup. Plus, California’s grid to this day (and into the future unless blackouts are desired) relies on fossil fuel generation for much of the time and year.
Alright, Fonda is off to a not-so-sustainable start to her day, committing serious climate sin before lunch. But maybe there’s time left in the day to repent and get back on a zero-carbon path to redemption.
However, things on the climate action front go from bad to worse.
- Fonda works out to stay in shape, which is great. She has a personal trainer who travels to and from Fonda’s home to assist in her workouts. How does that trainer travel to her home? Uh oh. If one assumes the trainer uses a car, that’s going to require fossil fuels.3 If the car is an EV, the fossil fuel inputs and carbon footprint may be worse than a gasoline powered car, because EVs have monster carbon footprints when one breaks down each step of their manufacturing process. And when the trainer charges the EV, it uses the same power generation sources that the smart devises used, which inevitably have carbon footprints and rely on fossil fuels.
- Fonda says part of her workout regimen includes weights and resistance bands. If the weights are metal, there was surely a carbon footprint and fossil fuel use attached to making them; if the dumbbells are of the plastic or urethane finish style, the carbon footprint is worse, since plastics and polymers require natural gas and petroleum products as feedstocks. And the resistance bands? Goodness, those are typically latex, a chemical! That requires fossil fuels as an input to manufacture.
The carbon math is starting to stack up against Fonda’s preaching. But there is still time to make up lost ground. Let’s see if Fonda’s fashion habits can get her back on track to keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
- Fonda says her closet is big. Which means the large size had a large carbon footprint to construct. And usually, large closets are parts of large residences, another fossil fuel hog when building. The closet (and residence) must be heated, cooled, and lighted. Those things require energy and inevitably fossil fuel-derived and/or -powered energy.
- Fonda mentions many of her clothes are shiny. Often shiny in clothing equates to materials and coatings that are petroleum sourced. Should’ve stuck with neutral colors and boring materials if looking to save the planet.
- Fonda’s go-to everyday clothing item is yoga pants. Such apparel is typically made from blends of Lycra spandex, nylon, polyester, or similar light and stretchy synthetic material. All those materials cannot be manufactured without fossil fuels.
- Fonda, like most of us, has a favorite pair of shoes. For her they are of a fake alligator skin variety. That’s great for the alligators, but ‘fake’ is code for synthetic, as in petroleum based. Does she realize she is walking around with crude oil strapped to her feet?
- Fonda’s top jewelry item is a pair of gold earrings. Did she understand the unbelievable carbon footprint that gold jewelry demands? Not to mention the murky supply chain of gold and what it means to human rights. They make look great on the ears, but those shiny trinkets increased atmospheric CO2 and might have done much worse to laborers in Africa or China.
- Fonda has a favorite perfume and uses makeup. The perfume is nothing but a mixture of chemicals, each of which must be painstakingly industrially processed and carries a carbon footprint (along with its distribution and packaging). The cosmetics industry is one of the most carbon-intensive industries, particularly on a per unit basis.
Well, Fonda wanting to feel and look good is more environmentally destructive than we had hoped. Things are starting to look ecologically dire for Fonda’s personal choices. But there is still time to change the highway to climate hell she is on.4 Maybe her dietary choices will save the day…for Fonda and the planet. Let’s see.
- Fonda adores pizza, especially truffle pizza. Like many, she has a preferred pizzeria. A quick review of the LA establishment’s website shows it is a Neapolitan pizzeria, which means it utilizes a brick/ceramic oven to make the pizzas.5 Guess what those ovens are typically fired with? That’s right, the fossil fuels of wood and/or natural gas. Yikes! And not to mention the fossil fuels burned to get to and from the eatery, to build the restaurant, and to power it.
- Fonda admits to a guilty pleasure: kosher hotdogs. Oh no. Meat products are the worst when it comes to carbon footprint. It’s hard to believe that someone as passionate about the climate is not vegan.
- Fonda likes ice cream, and who doesn’t? She particularly is a fan of packaged ice cream bars. Unfortunately, ice cream carries a horrendous carbon footprint in its processing, transport, and refrigeration. Packaged ice cream bars are worse. Really bad choice there when assessing environmental credibility.
- From time to time, Fonda enjoys an alcohol beverage. Nothing wrong with that. Except her favorite, vodka, cannot be produced or bottled without mining, drilling, and flowing fossil fuels. If one desires a zero-carbon lifestyle, alcohol is verboten.
This is getting ugly. Time for a Hail Mary attempt to salvage Fonda’s lifestyle. How about her travel habits?
- Fonda’s favorite hotel from past travels is the Ritz in Paris. The feel of the place was magical to her; the sheets, service, food, etc. The Ritz in Paris, and all the over-the-top luxury that embodies it, is one of the most energy intensive service locations in the world. All its excess piles up the carbon emissions and fossil fuel use, especially on a life cycle basis. The establishment must shut down immediately if one believes global fossil fuel use must be cut in half and eventually eradicated.
- Fonda’s wish list for future travel is to Finland.6 I’m not sure where Fonda calls home(s) these days, I’m guessing she may need to fly to and from Finland. And unless she is spry enough to snowshoe and cross-country ski to the wilderness locations in Finland she wants to visit, her logistics would include ground/snow/ice transport powered by fossil fuels. The best thing for the climate is for Fonda to stay home and skip any travel.
Contrasting the Preaching and the Doing of Climateers
Members of the Code Red crowd who are reading this should be in panic mode by now. It turns out, by Fonda’s own admission, she lives a life that is egregiously carbon intensive and relies extensively on fossil fuels.
I mean, WTF JF.
This individual is a passionate advocate for climate action and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. She says it is the most important thing she will do in her life!
Yet Fonda can’t demonstrate a lifestyle that practices what she preaches. And all of it is arrogantly on full display across national media. Hypocrisy hiding in plain sight, yet a collaborative media refuses to expose the obvious.
The moxie these days of elites such as Jane Fonda. But that moxie provides opportunity to highlight unprecedented hypocrisy when it comes to much of the radical environmental movement these days.
Environmentalism has morphed into a virulent religion of rigid ideology. If the high priests of the movement refuse to practice what they preach, it is up to the rational and logical to call them out.
This commentary is dedicated to those who served in Vietnam.