If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Archive for September, 2008

Professor Hugh Gusterson on the psychology of nuclear weapons designers, and U.S. nuclear hypocrisy

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Photo Credit: Department of Energy (courtesy Natural Resources Defense Council)

In this fascinating conversation, respected anthropologist, author and lecturer Professor Hugh Gusterson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology delves into the psychology of nuclear weapons scientists and designers. Drawing on his extensive field research at U.S. weapons laboratories Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos, Prof. Gusterson discusses with Dr. Caldicott the moral and emotional approach of the weapons designers; the terminology used among the scientists which is not only thick with metaphors of birth and fertility, but also denies death (weapons victims would be “carbonized,” not incinerated); and the present recruitment by the Department of Energy of anthropologists to be involved in counterinsurgency. His books include Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War, People of the Bomb: Portraits of America’s Nuclear Complex and Why America’s Top Pundits are Wrong.

Dr. James Hansen on stopping coal emissions to reduce global warming; John Johnson on mountaintop-removal coal mining’s effect on Appalachia

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

As Dr. Caldicott says during this show, the risk of unabated global warming is now “beyond serious.” The burning of coal, which is rapidly increasing in China and elsewhere, is the single largest factor set to increase emissions and the Greenhouse Effect. How are melting ice caps and mountaintop coal removal related? This program’s two segments provide the answer.

The world’s leading - and most politically outspoken - climate researcher, Dr. James Hansen from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies is a meteorologist, physicist, and university professor who has led the charge for over 20 years to take global warming seriously. Dr. Hansen and Dr. Caldicott discuss the critical environmental problems facing the planet due to the effects of global warming, and how the most catastrophic warming effects can be averted by stopping all coal emissions now.

Next, Dr. Caldicott speaks with John Johnson, an activist based in Knoxville, Tennessee, whose organization Katuah Earth First! fights the increasingly widespread mountaintop coal removal practices which have devastated over 1 million acres in southern Appalachia, where entire landscapes are obliterated and local culture is destroyed, leaving only barren moonscapes. Johnson has written that mountaintop removal is “. . .an extreme form of coal mining that involves blasting the tops off of ancient mountains, burying freshwater streams with rubble and flattening the world’s most biologically diverse temperate forest.” For more information, see the websites of Mountain Justice and I Love Mountains (on this site, enter your zip code under “What’s Your Connection to Mountaintop Removal?” to see if your local power is derived from leveling mountains).

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What is religion’s role in saving the earth?

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Australian Catholic author and historian Paul Collins resigned from the active priestly ministry of the Catholic Church in 2002 following a doctrinal dispute with the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith about his book, Papal Power. In this interview, Collins talks with Dr. Caldicott about his “environmental conversion,” and his experience living and working in Michigan. Collins, who has a Masters degree in theology from Harvard University, is also the author of God’s Earth: Religion as if Matter Really Mattered (1995), and he writes regularly for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Collins ponders the link between capitalism and environmental degradation, describes the Catholic Church’s attitude toward environmental issues, and explains how the church came to be so opposed to contraception.

Lily Tomlin on the “Distressing” State of America and the Sport of War

Monday, September 8th, 2008

One of America’s most loved writers, comediennes and actresses, Lily Tomlin talks with her long-time friend Dr. Caldicott about the current political climate in the U.S. and her sense of desperation about the direction the U.S. administration is taking. Tomlin reminisces about her experiences in the peace movement after meeting Dr. Caldicott, and describes her childhood and early creative influences in Detroit, Michigan. Tomlin is one of the featured commentators / bloggers on The Women on the Web, “A New Way for Women to Talk Culture, Politics & Gossip.”

Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power in Britain

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Sellafield nuclear plant in England

Long time peace activist and Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the United Kingdom, Dr. Kate Hudson talks to Dr. Caldicott about the nuclear energy industry in England, weapons proliferation, and her new book CND - Now More than Ever: The Story of a Peace Movement. This episode also features an excerpt from a speech given by Joseph Cirincione, then Senior Director, Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Table 1:
US Nuclear Weapons in Europe 2008

Derived from more extensive table. Click table or here to download the full table.
[June 26 update: weapons removed from UK]