Ted Danson Joins Jane Fonda at Climate Crisis Protest. Both Are Arrested
First, Jane Fonda's Gracie and Frankie co-star Sam Waterson joined her. Then, Ted Danson accompanied her on the step of Capitol Hill for her weekly Fire Drill Fridays protest. The duo was arrested Friday demanding congressional action to address the climate crisis, as CBS News reported.
This is the third week in a row that Fonda, an 81-year-old, has been arrested in a red coat outside the capitol. The actress and political activist said she moved to DC "to be near the epicenter of the fight for our climate," on her website. "Every Friday through January, I will be leading weekly demonstrations on Capitol Hill to demand that action by our political leaders be taken to address the climate emergency we are in. We can't afford to wait."
So far, she has been true to her word. She and Danson were arrested with 30 other people for "unlawfully demonstrating in the intersection of East Capitol and First Streets" and were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, according to US Capitol Police, as CNN reported.
Each week's protest has a theme. This week's was "Ocean's Can't Wait." But, in a cruel twist, the police confirmed to a Washington Post journalist, that the zip ties used to cuff protestors are single-use plastics, as Variety reported.
Danson and Fonda chanted alongside demonstrators, "The oceans are rising and so are we!"
Danson smiled as he was arrested. The 71-year-old actor said he had planned to take it easy when he turned 70, but "then I met Jane Fonda, who had her foot on the gas pedal and was not only 80, but was going 80 miles per hour at all times," he said, as the Los Angeles Times reported.
"She's astounding, she became my mentor, and here I am about to get arrested ... It focuses your brain a little bit," he added.
Fire Drill Fridays tweeted ".@TedDanson was just arrested for the first time. This is an inconvenient crisis so we must get uncomfortable and put our bodies on the line to demand action on climate and protection of our oceans. #firedrillfriday."
. @TedDanson was just arrested for the first time. This is an inconvenient crisis so we must get uncomfortable and put our bodies on the line to demand action on climate and protection of our oceans. #firedrillfriday pic.twitter.com/5R3QOyGYEb— Fire Drill Fridays (@FireDrillFriday) October 25, 2019
This upcoming Friday's protest is themed, "Women Can't Wait," according to CNN. It is geared toward "increasing women and girls' education, advancing reproductive justice and centering women and girls in climate solutions works," according to the Fire Drill Friday website, as CBS News reported.
The following week will focus war and the military, according to the Fire Drill Friday website. "Just one percent of the 2019 military budget of $716 billion would be enough to fund 128,879 green infrastructure jobs instead, and it would take just 11 percent — or $80 billion — to produce enough wind and solar energy to power every household in the United States," the site reads.
The Friday protests, which are inspired by Greta Thunberg's Fridays For Climate school strikes, will continue through January.
"I can no longer stand by and let our elected officials ignore — and even worse — empower — the industries that are destroying our planet for profit. We can not continue to stand for this," Fonda wrote on Firedrillfridays.com.
Fire Drill Friday does say which other celebrities will lend their star power to the cause and join her in DC.
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By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
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"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."
'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
#climatefires Started in Australia<p>Governor Inslee this month invoked the phrase climate fires for arguably the first time in the U.S., according to Ricketts.</p><p>But the term was also used as fires burnt out of control in Australia in late 2019. In the face of a 2000km (more than 1,200 miles) fire front, and government officials and media who <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/trump-climate-change-denial-emissions-environment-germany-fake-heartland-seibt/a-52688933" target="_blank">played down the link to climate change</a>, Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a friend decided that reference to bushfires was inadequate. </p><p>"We both just said, we've got to start calling them climate fires, that's what they are," the Australian Senator told DW.</p><p>Hanson-Young says scientists have been warning for decades that these would be the effects of global heating. "We've been told these kinds of extreme weather events and destruction is what climate change would look like, and it's right here on our doorstep," she said from her home state of South Australia — where by early September fire warnings had already been issued.</p><p>"Calling them climate fires was making it absolutely crystal clear. It is essential that there's no ambiguity," she said </p><p>Having deliberately invoked the term, Hanson-Young soon started to push it on social media via a #climatefires hashtag. </p>
How to Talk About the Urgency of Global Heating<p>The need to use more explicit language when talking about extreme weather events linked to climate change is part of a broader push to express the urgency of global heating. In 2019, activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that the term "climate change" did not reflect the seriousness of the situation. </p><p>"Can we all now please stop saying 'climate change' and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?" she wrote. </p><p>"Climate change has for a long time been talked about as something that is a danger in the future," said Hansen-Young. "But the consequences are already here. When people hear the word crisis, they understand that something has to happen, that action has to be taken."</p><p><span></span>Some terms are now used in public policy, with state and national governments, and indeed the EU Parliament, declaring an official climate emergency in the last year. </p>
Words That Reflect the Science<p>But while the West Coast governors all fervently link the fires to an unfolding climate crisis, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to avoid any reference to climate. In a briefing about the fires, he responded to overtures by Wade Crowfoot, California's Natural Resources Secretary, to work with the states on the climate crisis by stating: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch." Crowfoot replied by saying that scientists disagreed. Trump rejoined with "I don't think science knows, actually." </p><p>It was reminiscent of the anti-science approach to the coronavirus pandemic within the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-admits-playing-down-coronavirus-risks/a-54874350" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least publicly</a>. Fossil fuel companies are also benefiting from his disavowal of climate science, with the Trump administration having <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-trumps-paris-climate-accord-exit-isnt-really-a-problem/a-51124958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pulled out of the Paris Agreement</a> and reopened fossil fuel infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. </p><p>But the science community has responded, with Scientific American magazine endorsing Trump's Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, the first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history. </p><p>Hanson-Young says the use of explicit language like climate fires has also been important in Australia due to the climate denialism of politicians and the press, especially in publications owned by Rupert Murdoch. As fires burnt out much of Australia's southeast coast, they were commonly blamed on arson — a tactic also recently used in the U.S.</p>
Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
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