Updated: Feb 8, 2020
The power of individuals and small groups of people to make a difference. You can, too!
Erin Brockovich, the legal clerk whose gusto, grace, and commitment to truth and justice helped her bring a case against Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993 circled back into my world this morning just when I needed to be reminded of the power in small numbers of individuals. I last knew of Brockovich through Julia's Robert's portrayal of her in the 2000 film, Erin Brockovich. However, she has not slowed down in the years since the film's release. In fact, today Brockovich continues as an environmental activist and consumer advocate who helps empower people to "make a difference in their own backyard."
“ We stand up for people who have been harmed...and are fighting back...That's where you find your voice and that's where you will come alive. And when it becomes, one, ten, a hundred and a thousand, that's where that collective voice becomes heard." Erin Brockovich
Interviewed through the Goop podcast, Chief Content Officer Elise Loehnen sits down with Brockovich to give us all some bad news: "Superman's not coming." Instead, Brockovich challenges us to not discount the power of small groups of individuals acting on the local level. Check out the interview beginning at 15 minutes into the podcast for the powerful story of a small group of concerned women in Hannibal, Missouri. As the hometown of Mark Twain, Hannibal seems to be quintessential small town America. However, Brockovich shares the reality that Hannibal had struggled with water lead levels as high as in Flint, Michigan. Faced with the reality of dangerous drinking water, a small group of women who wanted to protect their families' safety and health became educated and mobilized to take action. After researching, reaching out in collaboration, and going door-to-door to raise awareness, these women, encouraged by Brockovich, became involved on their local city council. Brockovich explains to Loehnen, "Because that's where a lot of these things begin. I think we think they come from this federal oversight, but a lot a lot of this stuff happen right in your own city council." Sometimes we are already standing in our circle of influence and don't even recognize it.
"Superman's not coming, so tag, you, we are it." Erin Brockovich
So as I drove to and from work today, I am reminded of the importance of individuals. While there is truth to the idea of power in numbers and movements created by individuals joined together, one individual moving is still powerful. Sometimes, that is the exact power that is needed. This weekend, during yet another snow storm, I will revisit Julia's Robert's Erin Brockovich film, smile at her spunky gusto-and-grace-filled power, and begin to envision how I,too, can "make a difference in my own backyard." Once I can find it, of course.