Vanessa Vadim and her mother, Jane Fonda, share memories of Vanessa's California childhood and the people and experiences that contributed to her passion for the environment. 

Looking for advice on how to green your scene? Check out Vanessa's Ask Vanessa column and send her your questions.



Jane: What exactly do you do?

Vanessa: I get to be a know-it-all.

Jane: You're the Know-It-All? Well, I'm telling you, that suits you very well. Because you know more about environmental things...

Vanessa: Have a question, you ask. If I don't know, I'll find out. And if I can't find out, I will pretend like I know.... No!

Jane: Well, that's good.

Vanessa: I'm the columnist, advice columnist for Mother Nature Network.

Jane: And you answer letters that people write in? Questions they have? Can I write you questions?

Vanessa: Absolutely.

Jane: OK. So, how many days a week do you bathe?


Vanessa: You know, you know that I told you, I took a shower for your seventieth birthday, I did! And just because you are going to be seventy-one in seven days... Does not...

Jane: Doesn't mean you are going to have to take a shower.

Vanessa: You know...

Jane: Well you kind of grew up that way. Remember all of those plants we always had?

Vanessa: Well, and I grew up in California, with, even in the early-70s, it was...

Jane: When you were growing up, Jerry Brown was the governor of California and my then husband, your step father, Tom Hayden and I, were, at the behest of Gerry Brown talking solar. Going around talking about how weatherization and solarization of homes provided jobs and saved money. And we knew it all back then...

Vanessa: Yes.

Jane: Know-It-All!

Vanessa: For me, people ask, where does it come from? How do you end up like this? And it is such a... I mean, there is no moment. I can think back to the fact that my grandfather - your father - was an avid organic farmer...

Jane: That would be Henry Fonda.

Vanessa: Yes. An avid organic farmer who kept chickens in the middle of....

Jane: Bel Air.

Vanessa: He was one of the first subscribers to Rodale Press, to organic gardening. My dad, not only an amazing cook, but he grew a lot of what we ended up eating, even just outside whatever little space he had out front.

And, I suppose somewhere along the line, you grow up touring with Willie Nelson for no nukes campaigns, it just seems normal. 

Jane: Somehow it rubs off.

Jane: I think this MNN is a great idea. It really is. 

Vanessa: Why?
Jane: Because we need an environmental web site that is user-friendly, and that covers all the bases, you know, that answers everybody's questions and deals with every aspect of the environment. It's a win-win, I think. I think it is a great idea. I am proud of you.


A mother-daughter conversation about the environment, MNN
Vanessa Vadim and her mother, Jane Fonda, talk about Vanessa's childhood in California and the people and experiences that sparked her passion for the environme