News / USA

Environmental Activist Encourages Students

Environmental Activist Encourages Studentsi
X
February 08, 2014 2:28 PM
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.
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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid