11. Erin Brockovich, anti-pollution crusader
Made famous by Julia Roberts in the 2000 movie "Erin Brockovich," this single mom made a name for herself in 1991. While working as a law clerk, Brokovich discovered a link between chromium 6 released into groundwater by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and illnesses in Hinkley, California.
The case against PG&E ended with a settlement of $333 million paid to the residents of Hinkley, the largest direct action settlement in U.S. history. Brokovich has continued as an environmental crusader, bringing attention to allegations of industrial contamination across the country.