Environmentalist and motivational speaker Erin Brockovich came to Tech Tuesday night to talk about her story, as well as spread a message of self-empowerment. Brockovich spoke about fighting for yourself and what is right in her motivational speech.
“You cannot look to anyone to tell you what’s right,” Brockovich said. “You have to check in with your gut and your moral compass, and make a decision for yourself what you believe is worth fighting for.”
Brockovich was one of the driving forces behind the 1996 Pacific Gas and Electric case, in which residents of Hinkley, Calif. were exposed to water contaminated with chromium. The case was settled for $333 million, which remains the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit. The case was the center of the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich”, which featured an Academy Award winning performance from Julia Roberts.
Today, Brockovich travels to different universities around the world to talk with students.
“Public speaking is one of the greatest pleasures I have,” Brockovich said. “I love talking to university students, and bringing a different perspective to them. I love to teach them that it isn’t just what happens in the classroom, but what goes on in real life, and that hands-on experience is a great learning experience.”
During the hour-long talk, Brockovich shared many stories from her childhood and took the audience on a tour of her newly remodeled website, showing them how they can get in touch with her.
Brockovich is also a consultant for two law firms in the United States, as well as one in Australia. Recently, she has become involved with politics and the media to help her fight for her causes.
“I find myself getting more involved with TV shows as part of a panel discussing environment issues,” Brockovich said. “I also find myself getting involved more with the political side of how we can change certain laws to make the environment better.”
Recently, Brockovich flew down to Bayou Corne, La., to meet with residents affected by a large sinkhole. The sinkhole is growing due to underground waste storage from Texas Brine Inc., the largest brine producer in the United States.
Brockovich said it is not easy to juggle touring the world to speak to students and still finding time to fight for her biggest passion, the environment.
“The balance is difficult,” she said. “But it’s like my mom said, ‘you can rest when you’re dead, Erin.'”