News / USA

Environmental Activist Encourages Students

Environmental Activist Encourages Studentsi
X
February 08, 2014
The activist Erin Brockovich was the subject of a film starring Julia Roberts about a town that rallied against a power company for leaking a chemical into their drinking water. Mike O’Sullivan reports the environmental crusader remains an activist and is using her personal story to inspire students.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mike O'Sullivan
— The activist Erin Brockovich was the subject of a film starring Julia Roberts about a town that rallied against a power company for leaking a chemical into their drinking water.  The environmental crusader remains an activist and is using her personal story to inspire students.

Standing at the front of a lecture hall, Erin Brockovich told students she had no science background and only learned about law while working for a lawyer.  The story was recounted in this film from 2000 called Erin Brockovich.  Julia Roberts won an Oscar for the title role as the single mother who went to work for a law firm.

In 1996, Brockovich helped win a $333-million settlement with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for leaking the chemical hexavalent chromium into the drinking water of the town of Hinkley, California.

Today, the environmental campaigner still pursues reports of pollution and problems with medical devices, which some believe are linked to their health problems.  She is not without critics, who question her use of data, but even they say she is a force to be reckoned with.  Brockovich explained her work to several hundred high school students, who were visiting the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, to learn more about science.

“It was difficult for me growing up because I have a learning disability.  I was very often told that I couldn’t do this and I couldn’t be that.  And I bought everyone’s party line.  It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that, by seeing myself, trusting myself, believing in myself, that that became the real game-changer,” she said.

For 15-year-old student Samantha Magallanes, the story of pollution struck close to home.

“In our community, it was kind of the same, what she’s talking about.  Our soil was kind of poisoned as well,” she said.

Some of these kids hope for careers in science or related fields, like Seleni Rivas, who wants to become a midwife and help deliver babies.

“Right now, I’m taking chemistry and I already took biology.  So hopefully next year, I’ll take more science classes,” said Rivas.

Computer science teacher Steve Scanlan wanted the students to hear from Brockovich, who has made an impact on her community.

“Somebody who is so important in pushing environmental issues, and really kind of a common person that brought herself up by her boot straps, a real inspiration for the kids.  So it’s a very good story,” he said.

The message inspired student Jerome Caco. “Do what you like to do best, and one person can make a difference,” he said.

Brockovich said she was also suggesting that students ask difficult questions and look for the answers themselves.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid