The Boomer List - Erin Brockovich Is Not Waiting for Superman

Baby boomer Erin Brockovich (b. 1960) is an advocate for communities and people whose health is adversely affected by environmental pollution, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Although she herself is a famous advocate, in this film outtake she warns that there is no single-person solution to environmental health issues: “Superman is not coming.” (Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as the problem-solving superhero, ran from 1952 to 1958, making it one of the first boomer generation television series.)

Today Brockovich is tracking environmental health issues in thousands of communities. She is best known for her research that led to a lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which was dramatized in the film Erin Brockovich (2000). The 1996 settlement, $333 million, was awarded to families in Hinkley, CA, who suffered illnesses due to groundwater contamination from PG&E’s cooling towers. It was the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in the United States.

Learn more about Brockovich’s research and advocacy in the PG&E case on Makers.com, a PBS initiative.

American Masters: The Boomer List, premiering nationwide Tuesday, September 23, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), tells the story of this influential generation through the lives of 19 iconic boomers—one born each year of the baby boom.