Jane Fonda brings her story of climate activism to USC

USC Annenberg Dean Willow Bay, left, and Jane Fonda, center, are introduced by Allison Agsten, director of USC Annenberg’s Center for Climate Journalism and Communication. (USC Photo/Alan Mittelstaedt)

Jane Fonda knew that the best way to draw in a standing room only audience to discuss climate change was by telling stories and speaking from the heart.

“This is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing: talking to young people like you all because you can make the difference,” Fonda said to the crowd of mostly students gathered inside the Wallis Annenberg Hall Forum on Thursday afternoon.

Fonda peppered in anecdotes about her work as a climate activist throughout an engaging 70-minute conversation with Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The actress and activist was the star attraction at the USC Annenberg Center for Climate Journalism and Communication “Temperature Check” event that drew a crowd of about 200 people.

“You have a profound ability to bring people together,” Bay said to Fonda. “We are so fortunate to have you here today, and even more fortunate to have you as our climate champion.”

Fonda’s appearance was followed by a panel discussion on key environmental issues in Los Angeles and beyond moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter Faith Pinho and featuring Times climate columnist Sammy Roth and Director Allison Agsten of USC Annenberg’s Center for Climate Journalism and Communication. Panelists shared with attendees the kinds of stories they are currently following most closely and offered tips for communicating about the changing climate.

“One great thing about programs like this with big audiences is we have the opportunity to introduce people to Annenberg who maybe have never even been in the building before,” Agsten said as she welcomed the crowd.

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