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11/10/16 By Hannah Davis
Nearly 1,000 people gathered in Keppel Auditorium November 7 to hear famed consumer advocate Erin Brockovich. The Center for the Environment orchestrated the event, which garnered a larger audience than any other event the Center has hosted.
Since many people in the audience knew Erin Brockovich because of her self-titled movie, her talk began with a showcase of the progress that she and society have made in environmental advocacy since the movie’s release. It has been almost 17 years since the movie Erin Brockovich came out; almost 25 years since Brockovich began to take on Pacific Gas and Electric Company based on her discoveries of hexavalent chromium in Hinkley, California; and almost 40 years since PG&E began contaminating water in Hinkley.
However, Brockovich claims that our country is “worse today than it was yesterday.” She believes that to get past this stalemate of letting companies get away with polluting our environment, “we have to become our own hero,” because “superman is not coming and I always think we think he is.”
Therefore, instead of focusing on explaining the environmental issues that are currently developing throughout our nation and why they may pose a problem to our overall health, Brockovich focused on inspiring the audience to be advocates for change. She believes that change can come only through inspiration and a word her mom used called “stick-to-itiveness,” which, much to Brockovich’s surprise as a child, was actually a word in the dictionary. For a person to have stick-to-itiveness, they must have unrelenting perseverance when it comes to a task, or they must “persevere even when it is far easier to give up,” Brockovich said.
This perseverance and empowerment to make a change, for Brockovich, comes from what she likes to call her “4 L’s.” Logic: going with your common sense and trusting it to lead you in the right direction. Leverage: bringing people together in the hope of fighting for change through unity. Loyalty: respecting each other and keeping to your stick-to-itiveness. And finally, Love: “because it is what gets you up in the morning” and what keeps you going and “it is the only thing that conquers hate.”
Brockovich wanted to inspire her audience to follow in her footsteps and take companies head on. She told her audience, “You are the change. You are the factor.” Making other people aware of environmental problems is the “key to making a change.”
To end her inspirational speech, Brockovich told her audience, “Don’t be afraid to be your own hero.”