Erin Brockovich Issues a Climate Change Wake-Up Call
From The Quarantine Tapes Podcast with Paul Holdengräber
Hosted by Paul Holdengräber, The Quarantine Tapes chronicle shifting paradigms in the age of social distancing. Each day, Paul calls a guest for a brief discussion about how they are experiencing the global pandemic.
On Episode 111 of The Quarantine Tapes, Paul Holdengräber speaks with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Erin has a new book, Superman’s Not Coming, that examines the ongoing water crisis and what we can do about it. Erin talks with Paul about how her father introduced her to the value of land and water and discusses what we need to do to really push back on the damage being done to our environment. Erin offers powerful words about everyone’s ability to get involved with science and the environment. She urges us to believe in our own voices and our experiences and to find ways to turn our anger into action as we work to fight climate change.
From the episode:
Paul Holdengraber: How have you been living these last five months of the quarantine?
Erin Brockovich: I’m at my house. I’m normally traveling and working, and that just came to a halt … I had an event in Canada on March 10th and that was where I said, I’m not certain what’s really happening, so I’m not going to go into another country. So I am home taking care of myself and keeping an eye on the family, trying to do work by home and just monitoring and watching and listening to everything that’s going on and being cautious and protecting myself and just trying to stay sane.
Paul Holdengraber: Trying is what we’re all doing to the best of our ability. It’s quite amazing that everybody I speak to when they mention a date, they always know when was the last time they were in public with others. In your case, it was March 10th. It’s always around March 7th, 8th, or 9th. I think these dates will stay in our mind forever.
In your new extraordinary book, Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It, I loved, of course, the epigraph which I’d love you to react to it. “Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” How do these words resonate for you at this particular juncture?
Erin Brockovich: So extremely strong, and it jumps out on the page at you for a lot of reasons. … Those words jumped out at me because of the chromium-6 contamination in the small desert town [of Hinkley, California], and we’re talking about this 20 years later. Did we not heed a warning to Flint, Michigan? That crisis was six years ago, and here we are still talking about it today. We are missing a message. It is very present.
What strikes me about what Rachel Carson said … [is that she says to] stop trying to master and control nature, but rather one self. That is what I’ve learned in the environment and in my community work. Nature will be fine. We won’t. But how we respond to it, how we master believing in ourselves that we can speak up, that we can help nature, that we can give back, that we can lift us up out of a crisis is precisely where we are.
It’s like the perfect storm. I thought the perfect storm happened in Hinkley. I really think the perfect storm, not only for America, but the world is truly here. How we respond and how we react and how we get prepared and stop trying to master and control a phenomenon that you never will, but rather our response to it, is the wake-up call and the message.
To listen to the episode, as well as the whole archive of The Quarantine Tapes, subscribe and listen on iTunes or wherever else you find your favorite podcasts.
Previous ArticleHeading North to Become