What is stick-to-itivness?

Matt sits down with Erin Brockovich (yes, that Erin Brockovich) to discuss Erin’s environmental activism, her thoughts on the climate crisis and how she became a household name.

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Matt Roberts, Amdocs

S4 E1

08 Mar 2022

What is stick-to-itivness?

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"My mom taught me that life will require us to have stick-to-itivness. This definition is a propensity to follow through in a determined manner, dogged persistence born of obligation and stubbornness."

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Erin Brockovich

Environmental Activist, Author

Mar 08, 2022
What is stick-to-itivness?

On this episode of the Great Indoors, Matt sits down with Erin Brockovich (yes, that Erin Brockovich). They discuss Erin’s journey with environmental activism, her thoughts on the climate crisis and how she became a household name following the 2000 film featuring Julia Roberts.

Erin explains how she first realized there was something wrong with the groundwater in Hinkley, California and how she exposed the widespread contamination. She also offers advice for how people can ensure their voices are heard when it comes to speaking out about environmental issues. Finally, Erin shares more information about her latest book, “Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis,” and other projects she has on the horizon.

    Transcript

    Opening clip "Second of all, these people don't dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they'll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of 20, like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours. Or have their spine deteriorate like Stan Blume, another client of ours. So before you come back here with another lame ass offer, I want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker. Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Miss Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by 100. Anything less than that is a waste of our time."

    Matt Welcome to The Great Indoors, a podcast where we look at the technological implications brought about by the next industrial revolution and how this can potentially help solve the bigger problems facing humanity. I'm your host, Matthew Roberts and joining me as ever is my copilot and producer Larisa Yee. Now, in that timeless opening clip that you heard the actress Julia Roberts, no relation, depicting an American legal clerk, consumer advocate and environmental activist known as Erin Brockovich in the movie of the same name. Now, Julia won an Oscar for her role in the movie, despite being 20 years old, believe it or not, is a classic one that feels more relevant today than ever before. Now, without creating any spoilers for you, this true story is about a young mother twice divorced with no legal qualifications who takes up this momentous legal battle over the huge corporate entity that is basically poisoning the water supply for the inhabitants of Hinkley, California. Erin does not conform to the stereotypical image of a legal professional. She has to juggle this intensive fight with her responsibilities as a single mother, and she also has to overcome a degree of sexism, misogyny and condescension. The beauty of this story is that Erin's personal ability, charisma, intelligence and sticktoitiveness overpower these dated prejudices and misconceptions. What is sticktoitiveness? I hear you cry? Well, that's what we'll discover today. Now, as this is the first episode of season four, I'm so pleased, excited and unbelievably honored to introduce our guest, Erin Brockovich herself. Now, the first time I met Erin, I was completely struck by her passion, charm and fortitude. Erin's own mother said her greatest asset was her sticktoitiveness. This means dogged perseverance, fortitude and persistence. It's always nice to learn new words, particularly English ones that originated in America. If you really want to understand what sticktoitiveness means, then just listen to this episode with Erin, because this incredible quality shines through and in these difficult times, it's one we can all learn from. Now, since the story of Hinkley, California, Erin has gone on to continue her activism around the world to the present day and has also written several books. The latest one being Superman's Not Coming, which is released in August of 2020. So it's my pleasure to welcome the one and only Erin Brockovich to TGI today. 

    Matt So this is the season opener, season four of The Great Indoors, and I really don't think we could have started with a better guest than we have today. So I'd like to welcome for this first episode of the season, Erin Brockovich. Erin, welcome to The Great Indoors. 

    Erin Hello. And it's great to be here with you in The Great Indoors. Thanks for having me. 

    Matt Well, thank you for being here. Thank you for being here. And where are you enjoying The Great Indoors today, Erin? Where are you in the world? 

    Erin So will I do. I'm just getting back home. I've been out. I was in Utah and Vegas, back home and Agoura Hills, California, and I spent a lot of the last eight days in the great indoors because the great outdoors has been way too cold. I'm not a cold weather person. 

    Matt Now we're going to start. We always ask sort of typical questions that we do each week, and we're going to start this new chapter while this new season, Erin with a new question that we'll ask all our guests. So you'll be the first person to answer this, and it's very open ended. But as we bring you on, as we introduce you, what would be your intro music? What would be the music that you would like to come on to that you think defines you in some way? 

    Erin Well, oh gosh. That's a hard question. It could be a lot of things. It would depend on my mood. You know what, just like suddenly struck me, I don't know why I was in that moment. Gosh, what's that old song from Helen Reddy? “I am woman. Hear me roar”. I could think of so many other songs. It just weird it pops in my head. 

    Matt So it's a perfect beginning, a perfect intro. Now look, you're a household name in many respects, Erin. Everybody knows your story and admires everything you've done. But just for our guests that don't know, how did you get involved with the with the whole environmental activism? Because I think when you when you got involved with it, it wasn't quite as should I say, fashionable as today. 

    Erin Well, if you've seen the film in the beginning, Julia Roberts was in a car accident. You know her outcome for that in a jury trial didn't go well, and so she needed a job. And that's really exactly what happened to me as well. I had been in a car wreck up in Reno, Nevada, where I lived, ended up moving here, had to have a C5 C6 discectomy, was in a neck brace for like nine months. And when I got down here to California, that's where I met the famous biker dude, George. George knew that I had had the car wreck. I didn't have a car because it had been totaled and he had had a slip and fall and had used the law firm Masry & Vititoe and he thought that I should meet with them, certainly to try to help get a settlement for my car so I could get another car. When I got recovered went to Reno, Nevada, for a trial. I had a jury trial and we lost. The jurors just said I was young and healthy and go get a job. So when I came back to California, I needed a job. And you saw in the film, Julia Roberts begging at. You know, the way I begged at or coerced. Whatever I had to do to get a job. I could be a great assistant. I'm a great typist. I love to snoop and research. So after maybe some begging and hired me. And when I first started with him, I worked with a lot of clients he had that had worker's comp injuries and came into the office one day with an archive box. And that was the file of Roberta Walker that started the Hinkley case. And as in the film, you saw me snooping through those records. The last thing Ed wanted to do was hire me because he thought I would be trouble. If he were still alive today, he would tell you she ended up being good trouble. But I don't always take no for an answer. I'm very instinctual. I don't think people know that about me. I'm connected and grounded in a funny way with the environment. And when I went out to Hinckley, there was a whole lot of things happening for me that felt very unusual. So I grew up as a dyslexic. And I was often could see and observe things in a different way but because it wasn't like the status quo, if you will, or didn't fit in that nice, neat little box that everyone understands. I was told that I was weird or different. And that just hound me and further into being connected in different ways. People would tell you that work with me, I'm spook them in ways that I can sit in an office with archive boxes and I can just feel it. And I go to the right box where the information is that I need. All of these things that felt so odd to me or would be my downfall of my life were my gift. And I didn't realize that until I stepped foot in Hinkley, California. I looked around and I'm like, why are all the trees dead? You know, you're up in this beautiful desert area. Why does the energy feel so unhappy? I can clearly see that the green water was not normal. I could clearly tell you I thought the two headed frogs was absolutely weird. And I just had this sense, oh my gosh, I've been here before. My mom would always tell me to find my sticktoitiveness. And boy, how did I need that when I started my work in Hinkley. And sticktoitiveness definition is a propensity to follow through in a determined manner, dogged persistence, born of obligation and stubbornness. My mom taught me that life will require us to have sticktoitiveness. So I'm thinking, Oh my gosh, I'm going to have to start using that. My father came to my mind because I got in trouble when I was a kid for lying. And I could feel the lie happening out there. I'm like, somebody knows something. Somebody is not saying something. And it felt like this perfect storm was beginning to brew. Just through that I can feel something's wrong. I can see that something's wrong. And every time I would say something, people would go, Oh, that's ridiculous. Or I could feel that like, standard of conformity on me. I don't want you to know what's going on out here, and I never like to be put in a box that way, so I will always punch through. So I started just punching through that. I'm like, Oh, come on, people, this is B.S. This two headed frog and green water situation is not normal. Don't tell me that. So that was just where everything broke out, and I look back on it all the time. You know, I learned again so much through this pandemic. We're always so busy, you know, worrying about something that we did yesterday or what's going to happen tomorrow. Are we ever really present? And in Hinkley, I was present. I was with it. And that gave me the opportunity to stop and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow, but to look around and go. What the hell is going on? And that's how the case began for me. I think they did a really good job kind of showing you that in the film. 

    Matt Yeah, it's a timeless movie. I must tell you, Erin. I showed my kids this week. My oldest daughter is 12, and I said I was meeting you and I played her the movie and she was fascinated. She was blown away. And you know, she's what do they call it now? Generation Alpha, a digital native. But she loved it. I hope some of that sticktoitiveness. If I got that right, we'll stick with her and my daughter. But it is such a great story. A wonderful story. 

    Erin Well, you know, we all have sticktoitiveness. And you know, my mom used to always tell me, you have to learn and you can learn that at a first try you don't give up and go away and find that sticktoitiveness. So it's not something we're born with, but it is a skill that you can absolutely develop and not be defeated. There was more times that we could have been defeated, but what I do when I get like that is I kept myself a break. And instead of just keep hitting my head against the wall, I back away from it for a minute. Even if it's a day, I may need to lay down on the floor and cry for an hour. I just need to get it out so I can come back in with a clear mind and go at it again. There is an interesting little story not everyone knows about how the film came to be. When I was doing my work in Hinkley, I was seeing a craniologist and a chiropractor because I was still having ongoing issues after the car wreck and that big neck surgery. Whenever I went in to get a treatment, Pam Dumont would be working on me and that's who I was seeing, always asked me, you know, why do you have mud on your stilettos or where have you been in a short mini skirt with mud on your stilettos? And why do you have an ice chest in the back of your car full of two headed frogs? So I started sharing stories with her when she was doing my cranial work about Hinkley and chrome-6 and what was going on and the people, et cetera. What I didn't know was that she was also treating a woman whose husband was Danny DeVito's partner at Jersey Films. So she was intrigued with the stories. So one day Pam brought it up. Would you like to meet this woman? And I'm like, you've been sharing these stories with her? I'm like, Oh my gosh. So I met Carla. And the thing was for her and for Jersey Films, the idea that somebody that certainly doesn't have the expertise to uncover a toxic case that is running around in stilettos, collecting hazardous waste and mouthing off to people in a corporation. They were like, who is this person? 

    Matt But I love the way you say that you had a moment of presence. You were aware of everything that was going around you. Almost a sixth sense, something that needed to be investigated. Have you heard that again, Erin, and any other scenario in any other environment where you thought, you know, following the Hinkley case where you thought there's something not right here as well? 

    Erin Oh, absolutely. Almost everywhere I go in these situations, it happens for me. It doesn't always happen when you think it's going to happen. I usually have to be there. But while we were finishing Hinkley, the exact same thing was happening in Kettleman City, California, against Pacific Gas and Electric for another chromium-6 contamination that settled in 2005. And Ed once again was like, Erin you causing trouble. And I create what's called a hot doc book, so I will get all my information and I will take their documents and actually end up using them against them because I work backwards so I can find out 20 years ago. Wait a minute, the levels were this high. You know, when we get into these contaminated cases, the level of contaminant didn't just show up yesterday. It's a lower number of a higher number back in time. So I'm on that hunt. So I create these hot doc books. And even when I did, Ed was like, there's not a case here, let it go now. I can't do that. So I went behind his back to Walter Lack, who was his partner, and Walter took the case and it was an identical Hinkley. They had just done it again. You know, we are water, you know, and when I'm lost, I go back to my source and that's oftentimes water. And you can feel water. There's a presence. And so when my feet on the ground, boots on the ground, I can feel it and I will find a water. Well, I was up in New Hampshire a couple of years ago, and we're up there in that northeast quadrant right now because this PFOA, which is Teflon and the PFOS, which is the flame retardant materials and the AFFF, the firefighting foam, it's very heavy in that area and it's the largest contaminant. I think we're going to see in the history of this country, if not the world. But even before I embarked upon that, walking the rivers in the woods up there, it's dark. You can feel it. It's almost like the water is telling you, I'm in pain. I get such pushback on that. But every single time I'm on the money there, if you will. So I feel so bizarre sometimes saying this, but it's real. It's true. And I and you know, science has got my back on this one. You know, your second brain is your gut. And I will tell you, moms in particular are really tuned in to that. They know when their kids are lying, they feel it in their gut. They know when something's going on but more often they're not. We don't speak up and we don't speak out because someone's going to tell you that's ridiculous. Or if that's true, you shouldn't say anything. You damage our property values. Or they hear exactly what I used to hear. You're not a doctor, you're not a lawyer, you're not a scientist. You're skirt's too short. Your hair's too blonde. Why are you wearing those shoes? You couldn't possibly understand that. And then we retreat back into ourselves with all the labels and judgments and perceptions and ideas, and we stop talking. Because we stopped believing in what it is that we just can't let go of, it is residing in our gut. It's another voice telling you something's wrong. And I just don't move away from that. 

    Matt I think that's what makes your story, like I said, it was timeless before. But it is that, and we spoke about this when we first met Erin. It's the notion of conformity. Right. And it's the notion of having to conform to people's prejudice or pre ideas in order to do something. And I think you smashed through that, you know, that conformity barrier, if such, if such a thing exists. And I think in many respects, it's made it easier for people today to pursue what feels right to them without having to conform to existing ideals. Do you think it's and I've made an assumption that, but do you think it's it was harder for you when you are tackling the situation in Hinkley with conformity? Do you think it's easier today for people to act outside of what typically people would typically expect? 

    Erin Great question. I would tell you that I found it was easier back then and smarter today. Look, we're all going through this. There is a lot of tension, there is a lot of push back. There is a lot of pressure. There is there is a lot of that going on and people are pushing back on all kinds of different ways. So I think that I did the work, I stayed present. I uncovered information, I came back with facts and reports so people could have something tangible to look at and to read. And even when they did, there was a pushback on me because they didn't want to believe it. I had to respect that they had a different possible idea or opinion. And I would respect that and I would let them sit with that. And I will tell you 10 times out of 10, when given the space and the time and not pressure on them, they would come to a conclusion based on what they read, what they are experiencing, what they learned, and they will come back so that the push and pull has always been in my life. And what happens when one side is just pulling and pulling and pulling and the other side's just like, boom, they're let go. Well, the other side will just fall. And for me, that's this moment where we're locking his like rams. Look, we're not going to get anywhere. We'll probably never all at once agree on the same thing. But I do believe and I have learned over and over again. If you can step back and be confident in what you've know and what you've shared and give that information to someone else and give them that time to process what they need to, they'll come back. You'll be able to have a greater conversation. 

    Matt When you were investigating what was happening in Hinkley, Erin, this predated the internet, right, this you had to go through archaic paper files to pull that information out, right? And when I watched the movie again, when my kids, I was amazed because it was just the beginning of mobile phones and you'd got this sort of brick cellular device. If we look at where we are with technology now, with access to information, with scanners, with electric PDFs, the question first comes to my mind is would it have been easier with all that technology to do what you uncovered 20 years ago? That would be my first question. But the problem with the internet now is that information may be spurious or questionable. So it could take you into 100 different directions. But I think, you know, with social media, with the internet, how do you think that would have affected how you investigated and pursued the Hinkley case? 

    Erin I don't know that it would have had the same outcome. And for me, the difference is you don't get to be present if social media and technology is there. I mean, you are not standing on the ground. You're not there feeling the dirt underneath your feet. You're not there feeling the pain of somebody who has cancer or their child, and they don't know why. All of that, I think, is critical. I think the social media, the internet is a double edged sword and I don't rely on it for everything. It actually has its purpose. But I will still, things change when you hear a voice and its inflections. Things really change when you're in person and you can see if they're upset or if someone's not going to look at you. I'll go in a room and just sit and I can find that whistleblower, if you will. They might not want to address you. You can feel the fear or the anxiety, the anger, the frustration. You can see it. You can experience it. And sometimes I feel like we hide behind the internet and social media, and we become disconnected in a way because of that. I have to be with the community. I have to be out there and see it and feel it otherwise, you will miss it. 

    Matt But I think you're one of these people, Erin, and we've met lots and lots of people when we've been doing this podcast. But you have this person ability that comes across with the Hinkley story, your ability to engage with people and really empathize with them, the empathy and understanding. And you're right, while social media can give you a platform, it takes away that human element completely. As we move into, you know, we're going to talk about the pandemic a little bit because you take that during the pandemic when you lost that ability to interact with people personally. Do you think that was an overreliance on technology or do you think it helped us get through the pandemic? And how did it help you personally? Because, like I said, you're a personable person. You have an amazing charisma and an aura about you. When, when, when that is taken away because you're stuck at home, how did technology help you? 

    Erin So what technology does help? And again, like I said, it's a double-edged sword, and I think it's up to us how we learn to use it. I mean, it's so hard to decipher through all the bits of information out there, but I can get it quicker than I did back in the day where I had to walk into an agency and go through, you know, nine hundred thousand different documents. But I enjoy that because it's a game for me. It's a challenge for me. And I'm not leave until I have what I really know is in there. So I was going to share with you, there's nothing like, you know, when you're out in the field and yet you meet that the bad corporate entity, right? There is so much more fun in person to go, Oh, are you for real? Words is beyond me. I think this is just it's so worth it. So I think we have to learn how to use this magnificent tool. So when COVID first hit, I was terrified. I mean, all my work, all of our work, it just stopped. And I found myself in this situation. Oh my gosh, you know? Oh, how long is this going to go on? When does the income stream come back? What am I going to do? I was scared and I learned that I became present again in my own life, going outside and listening to the silence again. And it was a place where I could kind of hear myself thinking again or even recognize that I've been running around like a crazy person for 20 years that I had missed all the birds that were nesting in my backyard and all the babies that were being born and just smelling spring in the air and the warmth of the sunshine. I was like, Oh my gosh, where I'm usually one who always is of mind that I am present had a moment where had I really not been present? So I really spent the next six months at home looking around. Where have I been? I wasn't even too worried about the future. I was glad that I was healthy. I was glad I wasn't sick. I was appreciative that I was safe. Gratitude, humbleness, all of those things really captured me again. 

    Matt And how do you feel now, now we're coming out of it? Do you feel that you've had a respite that you have an enthusiasm, a zeal for your next project? 

    Erin Yes, but I've been moving around quite a bit. So in August 2020, when I released my book, “Superman's Not Coming, Our National Water Crisis” and what we the people can do about it. Which I was like, I'm not sure how well this is going to go. It was right in the middle of the Democratic and Republican conventions with our current President Biden and former President Donald Trump and the middle of a pandemic. I might I'm not sure how this is going to affect. And that is where technology really kicked in for me, which is something that I've always utilized. I was really never one to be on Facebook or social media because I was out. I like to be out. And I thought my brain in the beginning was going to break doing this technology. I was just like, I just I just don't think I can possibly do this because I had all these book tours that were now Zoom and these book clubs that were now Zoom. And I hired someone to help me get a Logitech camera that I'm on now and get some lighting set up. I and I enjoyed it. I saw a lot of benefits to it and it wasn't the same, but it wasn't awful. I thought that it was a great bridge, if you will, from what we had been to getting through this pandemic in a way to see each other and still interact with each other and be able to satellite in to do an interview, if you will. That was a giant leap of a learning curve for me and greater appreciation for this technology that had maybe been underused. But I do think how we use it is really important. So now I find it a nice hybrid, if you will, between being out on the ground and with people, which I can still do. But there might be times where you can't, but I can still be there. 

    Matt One of the things I was thinking about, I don't know. You may have been asked this question before, Erin, but I think we're in this world of sequels and prequels and things always coming back and different forms. And you know, when you look at your, you know, since the Hinkley, you've done a whole ton of really interesting stuff as far as the work you've done. Do you think there's a chance of an Erin Brockovich 2 movie? 

    Erin Well that has already come up. So there was a few years ago on the Beverly Hills High School oil well situation. And so we signed a deal for a second movie. And I remember at the time then and I wouldn't know how Steven Soderbergh would feel about it today. But he said, you know, sometimes you have to be careful doing the sequel because if it doesn't go the way you want or something happens, people will remember that and not necessarily the first. So he was a little hesitant, but we were scheduled to do it. And then the case settled and the decision was made. We wouldn't, wouldn't do another one. When the film first came out, I have to say this and I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again. Erin Brockovich was not about me. It never was. Erin Brockovich is about all of us. All of us that rely on our water and each other and our health. There is just no question. And I was glad that the movie gave us a platform to reach out to others. I'm glad that so many women I work with and moms in these situations who have sick children and their water is polluted or their air is polluted, I can say I'm going to I'm going to find that Erin Brockovich. I'm so proud of that. But we're all it and we all have that opportunity. So the film just gave us a great platform to continue to reach out and educate and work with getting other people's stories told and seeing them rise has been fabulous. But it wasn't about me. It was about corporate greed. This was about something horribly gone wrong with the environment, our water and how that poisons us and what these people went through and to lose their health or a child. So this is about all of us. 

    Matt But I think you were a source and you continue to be a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world. There's absolutely no doubt about that. But who was your biggest source of inspiration, Erin? 

    Erin Three people in my early life, my mom, my dad and one of my schoolteachers. And my source of inspiration is even coming out in this current day environmental issues that we have and the plight that other families and women have that have risen up and changed it or have become an enormous source of inspiration to me. And I find them amazing and fascinating, and I'm their biggest cheerleader and they've become a huge source of inspiration to me. 

    Matt Now, and I mentioned it right at the beginning, the environment, there's a lot of issues in the world right now. I mean, we touched on it before. I mean, what's happening this week depresses me immensely in Europe. And obviously the environment and climate change right now is the top of any agenda of world issues. What do you think people can do now? How can their voices be heard? What advice or even indeed, what are you doing now with this, the sort of macro climatic existential disaster we have on the horizon? 

    Erin Oh, it's so difficult. And I feel like everyone else would. It's so hard to get your story, your work, your voice, you know, an environmental issue out there when there's so many other ones hitting. And when I get to that place well I have learned and I practice it right now, I will exhaust myself just pushing and pushing and pushing against the tide right now that there is such other things taking precedent that I have to turn to myself. And that's where I worry that we get lost and give up and go away. And I get very quiet and become very present and I have a program, I talk about RAAM, realize, assess accountability and motivate. And boy, I thought we were spinning out of control when COVID happened. One of the last things I said was, the world is spinning faster and faster. There is more and more information, data, stories, tragedy, trauma, family issues, finances just bombarding every one of us. And I'm like, we're going to end up being like this great computer system we have with all this data coming in and when it can't process that, we all watch that little blue dot spin around and around and around and around. That's us. And if we can't process, we're going to go down. I didn't bring Covid, but we went down. And here we are again. You got to know. You've got to own you. You've got to believe in you. You've got to embrace in you. You've got to have hope in you because it can be dark all the way around us. And there might not always be someone there to help inspire us or inspire you or lift you up. But you have you. And I will go very quiet into myself. And I will find that space where it's dark now. It won't be tomorrow. There is hope to disconnect for a moment from the noise. That's social media, that's the TV. Let me tell you what, I've got a couple of remotes that ended up at my pool. And there's a moment where I thought, You know, my daughter even answered the phone. Yeah, no, Zoom, just start right out the car window. Disconnect. You have to disconnect to reconnect. We are being inundated. And if we can be quiet and still, I believe this. Every one of us has an energy source, that's something that we all can pick up and feel. And we are so strong together in that hope, in that determination. We may be in a bad moment, but we will not be here forever. We know that. History has taught us that. And how we become strong is when we are strong within ourselves. When you take a beat, take a breath. Disconnect, rethink. Be still. Go back outside. You know, appreciate spring coming, the flowers blooming. Life is always around us.  If we can just stop to take the time and notice. That's where you'll find your inspiration again and that's coming from your own voice and being there for yourself. The hope that we have and how we can collectively start getting in a cadence together. And I believe that we will, we always have, but don't lose sight of the light when you're in the dark and just turn inward and find that voice and find that hope. You know fear one of the acronyms I think we talked to, I talked to you earlier about that was false expectations appearing real. And I think that we get in our minds, there are so many thoughts and confusion and fears, and they're just that their thoughts. We don't have to let ourselves spin out of control. 

    Matt Absolutely. Beautifully said. Now, Erin, what's happening for you next? What's the next big thing on your horizon that you're working towards right now? 

    Erin A lot of being able to teach others about that mindfulness. A lot of keynote addresses, and that's what I work on. That's what I teach. In my environmental work, it is going to be the PFOA, the PFOA and AFFF. This is a really dark situation on top of other bad news going on. But Houston, we have a problem and this isn't a one town in Hinkley. This chemical is in the water supply and in our aquifers, in every single state in America. We are mobilizing into Maine right now where they have some of the highest PFOA and PFOS, which again is the Teflon and scotch guard, all of that in the water. And this isn't just a contaminant in the water. This is called forever chemicals. It's almost impossible to remove it from the environment. The idea that this one chemical could destroy farming, it's in the food chain. And working in the state of Maine that you could be potentially looking in at entire swath of this state alone. And all the farming and organic farming is ruined. So my next journey and work will be to my retirement. This one chemical alone going state by state. Yes, sir it's going to be lawsuits, but we have got to start looking at a system failure within our agencies. And how did we get here when you were warned decades ago, there was going to be a problem and correcting it? We're not, we're not going to go forward into the future if we continue to use our practices of the past. You know, I started my work in Hinkley when I was a young girl. I was 30 and I started working out in Hinkley when I was 31. I'm now 61 and I'm still fighting the same battle and you have moments where you wait, a moments where you don't. But I kind to look beyond that. I have four grandchildren. What is the future for them? What will be the legacy that we leave? So I'm going to continue the fight and it will be this chemical and probably every state in America. And hope that we can bring everyone to the table. So that's the biggest ticket item I have that I can truly see me working on till I retire if I ever retire. I just can't imagine being 92 and running around out there in a short skirt and stilettos screaming at everybody. 

    Matt I don't know. I think I think you demonstrate that sticktoitiveness. Erin, I think you could still be going well into your 90s, for sure. And I hope you do, for all our sakes, because I think it's an incredible, noble, inspirational what you gave to society and to individuals.

    Erin Know you again. Be strong on what you've learned, what you know, because there's always going to be somebody that questions you. They're always going to be somebody that perceives you a different ways, like my mom taught me. You know what, Erin, just because others may choose to see you as a loser because you have a disability, you remember this, you don't have to choose to see yourself that way. You always have that power of choice, and that's where I see every single table turn. When that person is solid and what they know, what they've experienced, what they feel, what they found out and how to speak out and let those people take their shots at you. And remember, that's their insecurity and that's their negativity that they want to throw off on you. Don't let it stick. If you do, it'll sink your ship. Here's the other thing that has to happen on the other side that we've lost the ability to do. Listen. We don't like to listen to somebody else that may have a gripe or a beef, but listen, you might learn something about yourself. Hear what they're trying to say. I have learned over and over and over and over again in the community. What they really want, they just need you to hear them. And when you do, the anger levels go down. I know this sounds corny. I just I believe in those positive thoughts and they're going to be there with me and I got this and I'm going to go out and do it again. 

    Matt Perfect positivity, Erin. We're coming towards the end now, and we're just going to finish with something that Larisa and I just created, right now. We call it, Yeah, we call this TGI to go right. And it's 15 rapid questions, but you have a choice. All I'm going to do is give you two choices and you tell me which one is your preference. So let's start, if you're sitting comfortably, we'll start our first ever TGI to go. OK, here we go. I think I know the answer to this first one. Dogs or cats? 

    Erin Oh, dogs. 

    Matt Sun or snow? 

    Erin Sun. 

    Matt Los Angeles or New York? 

    Erin Oh, L.A. 

    Matt Coffee or tea? 

    Erin Coffee. 

    Matt Yeah. Here's a tech one. Apple or Samsung? 

    Erin Apple. 

    Matt Julia Roberts or Matthew Roberts? 

    Erin That's a trick question. Julia Roberts. 

    Matt My wife, my wife, would say the same thing, absolutely. The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? 

    Erin Oh, oh, oh. Both. Can I say both? 

    Matt You can say both. You can say both. 

    Erin Absolutely.

    Matt AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. Bit of a tech one there as well. And I've thrown in three. 

    Erin Well, I'm going to say AT&T, even though they've been frustrating me lately, so I might go to T-Mobile. 

    Matt We'll let them know. We'll let them know. I'm sure that they'll get it fixed.  

    Erin I shouldn't have said that. My phone might get cut off today. 

    Matt Miami or Malibu? 

    Erin Oh, I think two very different places. I'm going to have to go. But because if I'm crazier and I'm headed to Miami. If I'm chill being present, Erin, I'm down in Malibu.

    Matt Here's another one that's a bit of a British-American contrast. James Bond or Jason Bourne. 

    Erin You're hurting me. That's The Beatles Rolling Stones thing, Oh no. Oh both. But Jason Bourne, I got to tell you real cool. Oh very equal. 

    Matt Super cool. Paris or Rome? 

    Erin Oh, you are hurting me again. But I have to tell you, I might pick Rome. 

    Matt OK, good choice. Good choice. United or Delta? 

    Erin Delta. 

    Matt William Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling? 

    Erin Again, it kind of depends where I'm out of my thoughts or my energy or space where I'm at. I don't know. William Shakespeare. 

    Matt It's a good one. Superman or Batman? 

    Erin I don't believe them either. Did you think the title of my book is Superman's not coming? 

    Matt There you go. That's why we put that one in there. That's why we put that one in there. Maybe Batman is, I don't know, but probably not. 

    Erin No. Superman, Batman. I don't know what, I'm going to bank on you, the individual. 

    Matt And the final one. Reading or writing? 

    Erin OK. You do know you just ask a dyslexic, how much we enjoy reading. So I'm going to tell you writing, which I do a lot of. 

    Matt Exactly. Exactly. That's the perfect answer. The perfect answer. So, Erin, look, I've thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed our conversation on the first episode of season four. I want to thank you very much for joining us. And is there any closing comments you'd like to give to our listeners, just something for them to ponder on after they've listened to this episode? 

    Erin Well, thank you for having me, and I really enjoyed the conversation. And was I would just leave with anyone, I just I get it and I think we're all feeling the same thing. And what it could have should a finger pointing and blaming all day long. It's going to get none of us anywhere. If you find yourself in that situation, be mindful. Take a breath. Take a step back. Sometimes you got to let it go, but you can come back at it tomorrow. I just want to leave a message. I know it's overwhelming. I think that we are all in the same boat. I really absolutely believe we're going to be OK. And I believe even more that we're going to be OK. Look, in the greatest of all warriors knows when to lay down the sword. And there's just a moment where the fight lay it down. Let it down. Step away. Reconnect. Reboot. Believe in yourself. Believe in tomorrow. Believe in us. I do. And I absolutely believe we're going to come out the other side and we're going to have a conversation five years from now and look back on this. And Oh man, you know, we got through that by the seat of our pants. Maybe we did get by through the seat of our pants, but we will get through this. 

    Matt Well, that was quite an opening for season four and for 2022. I hope listening to Erin gave you the energy and inspiration that it gave us. I mean, her story is just incredible. Now, normally I would say, read the book to understand the full story. But in this instance, I'm going to say, if you haven't seen the movie, check it out and see if you can spot Erin herself in her cameo. Amazingly, playing a character by the name of Julia R. Oh, interesting. Now, in other news, related to 2022 and following our appearance last year in Los Angeles is the official podcast of MWC Americas, we will be the official podcast of Mobile World Congress 2022 as it moves to Las Vegas, Nevada. And if you attend, you might get a chance to meet Erin in person. So please subscribe to our podcast on all the usual podcast channels. Leave a review or rating if you feel so inclined, it certainly helps us. And check out two other Amdocs podcasts that are brilliant and available now. The Future of Tech with Avishai Sharlin and Points of View with our Chief Marketing Officer, Gil Rosen. Also visit our website Amdocs.com/podcasts/the-Great-Indoors to listen to all our other previous podcast episodes and videos and all other great assets on that. Now, we'll be back in two weeks for another edition of The Great Indoors. I'm Matt Roberts for Amdocs in Toronto. And have a great day wherever you are. 

     

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