If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Archive for October, 2008

Dr. Caldicott speaks about the most important election in history and the three major threats facing humanity

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Helen Caldicott, M.D. on her fall 2008 lecture tour. Photo: Jasmin Williams

Dr. Caldicott spoke October 12 at First Congregational Church in Long Beach, California. In this lecture, she discusses the urgent nature of the November presidential election, which she says will determine the fate of the earth. She outlines the three major threats facing humanity - global warming, nuclear war, and nuclear power - and provides a plan for solving each of these problems. During the lecture, Dr. Caldicott refers to a map given to lecture attendees showing the extent of radioactive contamination in Europe from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. A similar map can be found here. She also mentions her book, Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, and says the report Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Policy is an essential roadmap for addressing global warming.

Veteran journalist Helen Thomas on the 2008 election, how the post-9/11 media “bow and scrape” before George W. Bush, and the “many slips” that could have led to nuclear catastrophe

Monday, October 20th, 2008

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Helen Thomas is a respected journalist who served for 57 years as a correspondent and later, as White House bureau chief for United Press International. In 2000, Helen Thomas became a columnist at the Hearst News Service, where she still works. Read her latest columns here. She has written four books including Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public.

In 2007, she laid the blame on President Bush for launching the Iraq War as his “war of choice” and lamented that the “gutless-wonder Congress doesn’t have the courage to do what it needs to do” to end the war.

In this frank discussion with Dr. Caldicott, Thomas recalls all the presidents she has covered from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, and talks about the current political climate in the United States. She conveys her admiration of Barack Obama and her fears about Sarah Palin, whom she describes as “to the right of McCain”. She spells out why the U.S. media have backed down from confronting the administration since September 11, and recounts the many times she has seen the world close to nuclear catastrophe.

The last quarter of the show is an excerpt of Dr. Caldicott’s October 2008 presentation to Canadian medical professionals about nuclear power and the effects of global warming, in which she outlines how a “prescription for survival” for the planet must include following the downloadable report Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free, A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).

Global plan to “recycle” nuclear waste can’t work and will poison the environment and human health

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The contamination caused by nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons production has created some of the most toxic places on earth. Ever-more-dangerous radioactive waste and epidemics of cancer may be in store if the Bush administration’s agenda for worldwide nuclear-waste “recycling” is implemented in the years to come. What exactly is the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), introduced by George W. Bush in 2006? What is involved in the reprocessing of nuclear materials, and what are the far-reaching medical and public health ramifications of this process? These are some of the questions Dr. Caldicott puts to Robert Alvarez in this revealing interview.

Alvarez is Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and a national award winning writer. Between 1993 and 1999, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and Environmental Policy and was the Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Alvarez has recently authored an in-depth analytical report on the GNEP. Read Alvarez’s articles Magical Thinking About Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Recycling Fails the Test. Also see Reframing reprocessing: Miracle of recycling, or nightmare of proliferation?

Alvarez and Dr. Caldicott also examine how the Bush administration has reignited the Cold War with Russia, how U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are pressing to resume lucrative bomb production with the mentality of a cargo cult, and why nuclear disarmament could still be achieved with sufficient political will.

After a music break, the show concludes with a clip from a presentation by Tom Rosenstiel, Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, at a Washington, DC symposium organized by the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in 2004. Rosenstiel explains how the information revolution is leaving the public less informed about critical issues.

Richard Heinberg on the crisis and opportunity of peak oil and peak coal

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Photo Credit : ballona.org, wilshirecenter.com

Richard Heinberg is the Director of the Post Carbon Institute, a non-profit organization in California that conducts research, educates the public, and organizes leaders to help communities around the world understand and respond to the challenges of fossil fuel depletion and climate change. In this engrossing discussion with Dr. Caldicott, Heinberg explains the situation of Peak Oil, and reminds us just how reliant our society is on the finite resources of oil, coal and gas. We are reaching a state where the depletion of these fossil fuels will force us to undergo a major transition to low-energy and re-localized societies with food grown and products made close to home. Heinberg describes how transportation will need to change - currently oil is responsible for 95% of transportation technologies in the United States. Heinberg is the author of Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century Of Declines, Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World and other books. He is featured in the documentary films The End of Suburbia and The 11th Hour. Read his articles The View From Oil’s Peak and What Will We Eat as the Oil Runs Out. This program is a startling conversation about the energy crisis with one of the clearest thinking environmental commentators today. The show concludes with a clip of a speech by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist James Sterngold, who contends there is insufficient media coverage of nuclear threats. Read Sterngold’s 2008 article in Mother Jones about nuclear weapons here.