Darkish Waters lawyer who took on DuPont at Surrey’s Huge Inexperienced Competition

The ‘Dark Waters’ US lawyer who took on chemical giant DuPont is speaking at Surrey’s new Big Green Festival this week.

The free online festival is being launched by the North Surrey Green Party on Thursday (April 29), to raise environmental awareness, support people’s wellbeing and promote local businesses.

As portrayed in the 2019 film where he is played by Mark Ruffalo, Rob Bilott started out as a lawyer defending chemical companies.

But he ended up described by the New York Times as “the lawyer who became DuPont’s worst nightmare”, after exposing the corporation for a decades-long history of chemical pollution.

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He is joined on a Global water crisis panel on Saturday by Kye Gbangbola, who lost his seven-year-old son Zane and suffered paralysis caused by hydrogen cyanide after his Chertsey home was flooded in 2014.

Also speaking on the 7pm panel is BBC investigative journalist Leana Hosea, who directed the award-winning film Thirst for Justice.

Organiser Jan Doerfel, a Spelthorne borough councillor, said: “The pandemic has affected a lot of people and has left them feeling isolated and anxious.

“At the same time, the climate emergency is also continuing and requires urgent action.

“I set up this festival so people could have fun while raising awareness on crucial environmental issues such as green belt protection, water pollution and flood risks.

“We want this festival to bring people together and to empower them to do their bit to protect the environment.

“I want to thank all the generous individuals and small businesses who are offering fantastic free classes from yoga to drawing to dance, and wish everyone a great time.”

The real Robert Bilott

Vegan musical theatre and Mike and the Mechanics singer Tim Howar will be part of Thursday’s 6pm panel Living in better harmony with nature, covering how people can live more sustainably.

Friday’s 4.30pm panel on Green belt and green space under threat – what can we do? will include a specially recorded video message from wildlife expert and Springwatch presenter Chris Packham.

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The schedule is also jam-packed with fun classes including Thai Buddhist meditation, art, baking, yoga, pilates, dance and singing.

The festival ends at 5pm on Sunday with a mindfulness session run by the Mindful Ninja from Shepperton.

The event is being held remotely via Zoom from Thursday April 29 to Sunday May 2.

For a full schedule and to register for tickets, visit

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