After three months of protests and five arrests in Washington D.C., actress Jane Fonda is bringing her climate change demonstrations to California.
“We have to act like our house is on fire because it is,” Fonda said Friday, referencing teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, before a crowd of protestors outside Los Angeles City Hall in the first Fire Drill Friday rally on the West Coast.
The Oscar-winning actress, clad in her usual red coat, commended young people who took to the streets to call attention to the climate crisis, and called for public officials to follow in their footsteps as the crowds cheered.
Fonda called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to put an end to the issuing of new oil-drilling permits in California.
“We’re not saying to stop all fossil fuels immediately. We’re saying no new wells. No new fracking— especially within in a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer zone from communities.” Fonda told KTLA.
Hundreds attended the rally, gathering in front of City Hall at 11 a.m. and then raising up signs and marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Also in attendance were actors Joaquin Phoenix and Rainn Wilson.
A young activist, Nalleli Cobo, announced that she is now battling cancer.
Cobo said she became a climate activist at 9 years old, when she and her mother started protesting an Allenco Energy oil site near their home in the University Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles.
Caroline Henderson of Greenpeace told KTLA the protestors want California to phase out fossil fuel production.
“We are in a climate crisis and that is indisputable and we all already feeling the effects,” Henderson said, highlighting California’s damaging wildfires and recent power shutoffs by utilities. “The time for debate is over and the time for action is now.”
Fonda’s protests will take place the first Friday of every month throughout California and other towns across the country.
California’s Fire Drill Fridays will call for a Green New Deal, an end to new fossil fuels and a transition to a renewable energy economy, the group said in a news release.
“The science is clear — we need to stop burning fossil fuels and invest aggressively in a transition to clean, safe, renewable energy,” Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard said in a written statement, calling California an “environmental pace-setter for the nation.”
Friday’s rally ended at the Paul Hastings tower, where activists sat in the lobby, singing and blocking the elevators to protest Maverick Natural Resources, an oil and gas company.
Protestors poured into the building before security guards closed the door, blocking others from entering, including Fonda.
“We are all calling on California’s leaders to lead that transition off fossil fuels so we’re gonna be here as long as it takes,” Leonard said as she stood in the lobby with the protestors.
The next Fire Drill Fridays rally is scheduled to take place in Wilmington in the first Friday in March.