Interview by Paul Salfen
Click on Video Below For Interview
Erin Brockovich is a true American hero — most famous for being the activist who helped get justice for consumers in a California community where the water was polluted by a large corporation. Her efforts were immortalized by Julia Roberts in the Oscar-winning movie ERIN BROCKOVICH, and since then Brockovich has become even more famous for supporting important environmental causes worldwide.
Brockovich has teamed up with Brita, the world’s #1 brand of water filtration to bring attention to a critical national problem. The EPA estimates that lead pipes continue to serve an estimated 400,000 schools and childcare centers. New EPA rules also require that all schools and childcare facilities in the U.S. be tested for lead in drinking water starting in 2024. While this is major progress for the future, these changes are still a few years away and continue to put our children at risk for lead poisoning and exposure.
Brokovich’s icon status fuels her determination to expose injustice and lend her voice to those who do not have one. She has requests for her help in ground water contamination complaints in every state of the US, Australia, and other international hot spots. As President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, she is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide. You can read more about many of the communities Erin has released a new book: Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis & What We The People Can Do About It.
People ask me all the time what I think and what my opinion is. Well, here are a few of my thoughts and beliefs:
Everyone believes, because of the movie, that I am an environmental activist. I am often referred to as the environmentalist with cleavage. I do care a great deal about the environment but my real work and my greatest challenge is trying to overcome deceits that end up jeopardizing public health and safety.
I am an advocate for awareness, the truth, and a person’s right to know. I believe that in the absence of the truth, all of us stand helpless to defend ourselves, our families and our health, which is the greatest gift we have. As with everything, some people always go too far, too far to the right, too far to the left, and this is true of environmentalism and now, in many instances, our issues fall on a deaf ear.
“Often times we don’t think about or worry about or understand what is happening to another until it happens to us. Deceits have no boundaries. Disease doesn’t recognize the color of our skin or our political parties affiliation. When it comes to cover-ups and destruction of our environment, we are all up for grabs.””
A lot of times I am motivated or become very inspired by a cliché. They make me think and more often than not can be true. For example, “an informed citizen is the only true repository of the American will” – Thomas Jefferson. Oh how right he was. I believe that our perception of things become our reality. It is how you choose to see yourself, your character, that can actually determine your fate.
Most people don’t know that my favorite movie is not “Erin Brockovich” but “Pay It Forward”. All of us should pay it forward but not with the expectation of seeing a reward, that is not why we do it. Pay if forward because it is the right thing to do, reward or not.
If you follow your heart, if you listen to your gut, and if you extend your hand to help another, not for any agenda, but for the sake of humanity, you are going to find the truth
“Erin Brockovich is living proof that an ordinary person can change the world. As a Southern California law clerk, she spearheaded a successful lawsuit against a major company on behalf of hundreds of people who had unknowingly been exposed to toxic waste. Her efforts inspired the Oscar-winning feature film that bears her name, and led her to a successful career as an environmental activist and public speaker. In this episode, Erin Brockovich talks about taking on the corporate powers that be, and reveals what it’s like to be played on screen by Julia Roberts.”
Universal Studios made a film titled, “Erin Brockovich”, which stars Julia Roberts. Julia won an Academy Award® for her portrayal of me. People ask me all the time, is the movie true and accurate? YES, the movie was true and probably 98% accurate. They took very few creative licenses.
Yes, I did dress that way. I was actually taken back by the response of many people regarding my wardrobe. I just dressed that way because it was fun and I liked it. I was taught never to judge a book by its cover. My clothing was nothing more than a cover and I have never thought that anyone was smart or stupid or anything else by the way they chose to dress.
Yes, I had a potty mouth in the movie and I still do.
On a couple of occasions I have caught the headline that I am a trash talking crusader. If you are referring to my potty mouth then I am the trash talker. No, I am not trash from the other side of the tracks. I come from quite an educated family. My dad is an industrial engineer and my mom is an English major specializing in journalism.
Yes, I was a three time divorcee with three children.So what ?.People don’t realize that I started my work in the Hinkley case in 1991 when Elizabeth was only one year old. Katie was then six years old and Matthew was seven years old.
The Hinkley case settled in 1996 and I was approached about the movie and giving up my rights in 1995. It wasn’t until late 1997 or 1998 that they really started gearing up for the movie, finding writer Susannah Grant and the director Steven Soderberg and eventually Julia Roberts. The movie came out in May of 2000 and the kids were then 17, 16 and 9. 12 years have now passed since the first film and the kids are now 30, 28 and 22. I could not be prouder.
What PG&E did was real. Don’t be fooled by other things that you have read. As early as 1965 this company knew that the facility in Hinkley, California was contaminating the ground water with high levels of hexavalent chromium and they chose to cover it up.
“The movie had its positive and its negative effects on my life. I didn’t aspire for this to happen. All I was doing was what was in my heart to do and that was to extend my hand of friendship, understanding and compassion towards another. Had my intentions been anything other than pure, this case, this movie and my life, as it is today would not exist.””