If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Archive for December, 2009

Best of 2008/2009: Richard Heinberg on the crisis and opportunity of peak oil and peak coal

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Photo Credit : ballona.org, wilshirecenter.com

If You Love This Planet is replaying some of our most popular programs through February 2010, as well as offering some new episodes. In March 2010, If You Love This Planet will start a whole new season of programs. Here is Dr. Caldicott’s October 6, 2008 interview with Richard Heinberg, the Director of the Post Carbon Institute, on the topics of peak oil and peak coal. Heinberg’s institute is 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 impending crisis 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, he says, 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.

Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg

The impending decline in coal, at a time when coal burning is rapidly increasing, is also discussed, and will be the subject of Heinberg’s next book. New research suggests that world coal supplies will be gone in 20 years or less, with China’s coal supply depleted much sooner. Heinberg also draws our attention to the industrialization of food: only 2% of the population in the USA grow food for the rest of the country, and
most food has traveled 1,500 miles from farm to plate.

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.

Best of 2008/2009: Dr. David Suzuki on putting the “eco” back in economics

Monday, December 21st, 2009


From now through February 2010, we are replaying some of our most popular shows as well as presenting new episodes. In March 2010, If You
Love This Planet will launch a whole new season of programs. Here is
Dr. Caldicott’s January 5, 2009 interview with David T. Suzuki, Ph.D, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning geneticist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He has hosted the Canadian television show, The Nature of Things, which airs in 50 countries, since 1979. He is well known in Canada and Australia, but not in the United States.

Dr. Suzuki has received consistently high acclaim for his 30 years of award-winning work in broadcasting, explaining the complexities of science in a compelling, easily understood way. In this fascinating interview with
Dr. Caldicott, he talks about the relationship between human beings and planet earth, and urges policy makers and members of society to become more scientifically literate so we can make informed decisions and leave a safer and healthier environment to future generations.

Dr. David Suzuki

Dr. David Suzuki

Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Caldicott cover many topics, including the preposterous plans to build four nuclear reactors on an earthquake fault in Canada to extract tar-sand oil as a source of energy for California; the mental barriers which prevent leaders and the public from taking action on global warming (skeptics said Denmark could get only 2% of its energy from wind, but they are now up to 19.7% and on the road to 50%); deforestation and the urgent need to preserve all old-growth forests to reduce global warming; and the many exciting breakthroughs and new technologies that more forward-thinking countries like Germany are introducing to become sustainable. Science, Dr. Suzuki stresses, is the most powerful force affecting our future.

Dr. Suzuki relates how corporate think tanks began to proselytize the public to worship at the altar of consumption in the middle of the 20th Century, which has led to a notion that the world has infinite resources. To survive, humanity must use its unique gift of foresight and planning for the future for saving the planet, not more growth, development and consumption. He recommends listeners watch a speech on environmentalism given by his daughter, Severn Suzuki, in 1992, when she was 12.

Best of 2008/2009: Sally Henderson on saving African wildlife and her encounters with animals

Monday, December 14th, 2009


Sally Henderson (ABC.com.au)

Sally Henderson (ABC.com.au)

This week and through February 2010, we are replaying some of our most popular shows as well as presenting new episodes. In March 2010, If You Love This Planet will launch a whole new season of programs. Here is Dr. Caldicott’s interview with Australian author and wildlife conservationist Sally Henderson, first aired July 27, 2009. Henderson is an Australian whose passion is conserving endangered African wildlife - particularly elephants. In 1990 she joined the elephant research project in Zimbabwe, which inspired her memoir Silent Footsteps, published by Pan Macmillan in 2007. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa, studying many aspects of conservation and a diverse array of African cultures. Henderson’s new book is Ivory Moon, a memoir set in Namibia (also published by Pan Macmillan). In this deeply moving interview, Henderson shares with Dr. Caldicott her many powerful experiences being around elephants, lions, leopards and other animals in Africa, as she worked to save them and learned to understand them.

Dr. Caldicott asks Henderson how she first became interested in visiting Africa, and Henderson recounts how her rewarding childhood experiences surrounded by Australian animals inspired her lifelong interest in wildlife conservation. Henderson speaks about her many close-up encounters with African elephants, including the terrifying time when an elephant saved her life. She tells Dr. Caldicott about the many ways elephants communicate, sometimes telepathically, and their great intelligence and sensitivity.


Elephants as well as rhinos are now endangered. Henderson talks about the poaching of the rhino population for products used in Asia and elsewhere. Poachers kill many elephants, and Henderson has aided efforts to keep them in protected areas, and to educate Africans to save the elephants, at least until old age. Elephant populations have fallen drastically from their original millions to endangered levels today. Read the April 9 Scientific American article Are Elephant Populations Stable These Days?

Henderson vividly describes her experiences in Namibia, more of a pristine wilderness than other parts of Africa. Dr. Caldicott says that Namibia is a major source of uranium, used to make nuclear weapons, and diamonds. Over the course of the program, Henderson also imparts her electrifying experiences with big African cats on several trips and longer stays. She provides many insights into wild feline behavior, including the surprising difference between the leopard and other cats such as lions.


Dr. Caldicott and Henderson also touch on the quality of life for poor Africans, and the hardships and disease they often face. Henderson lauds the work
Bill and Melissa Gates are doing through their foundation in the area of malaria prevention, on
a continent where the vast majority of people cannot afford anti-malarial medications because of the greed of pharmaceutical companies (who would rather market and profit from drugs for depression and low libido, available
to affluent people). The hunting-and-killing mentality of sport hunters is another topic of this episode. Henderson and Dr. Caldicott agree about the peculiarity of hunters who boast about slaughtering wild animals. They concur that humans are the worst predators on the planet. Erich Fromm’s book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness inquires into why some men enjoy violence, including hunting animals.

After the formal conversation with Henderson ends, there is a three-minute music break, after which Dr. Caldicott comes back on the air to describe her experience attending a conference that included Robert Mugabe, the murderous president of Zimbabwe. During the dialogue with Henderson,
Dr. Caldicott had mentioned encountering Mugabe in the context of whether or not African leaders care about endangered animals.

For more information about saving African wildlife, visit the websites of Save the Elephants, World Wildlife Fund, The African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Rhino and Wildlife Direct. Also visit the web pages of PETA’s Save Wild Elephants campaign and actress Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Reserve, which saves big cats which were abused as illegal exotic pets.
Read the articles African Safaris - Elephants Must Be Saved From Extinction, Extinction Crisis Emerges for World Mammals: One in Four Species at Serious Risk, Will Central Africa’s Forest Wildlife Be Eaten into Extinction?, Elephants Slaughtered to Feed Soldiers in Zimbabwe, Satellite’s-Eye View of an Africa Despoiled [35-image slide show], and The Saddest Show on Earth, about the terrible plight of elephants in circuses.

Best of 2008/2009: Dr. Vini Khurana on the potent health hazards of cell phones and electromagnetic radiation

Monday, December 7th, 2009


child-with-phone2 Starting this week and through February 2010, we will replay some of our most popular shows as well as presenting new episodes. In March 2010, If You Love This Planet will launch a whole new season of programs. Here again is
Dr. Caldicott’s riveting discussion about the dangers of cell phones. Since this program aired October 5, there have been new reports on the health threat posed by cell phones. A joint U.S.-Korean team reviewed 13 past studies and published their results in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in mid-October. This meta-analysis found that 10 or more years of cell phone usage causes a 20-25% increase in tumors. The forthcoming Interphone study by the World Health Organization, some late-October news articles state, may also indicate higher brain cancer risks from using cell phones. Read Long-term use of mobile phones ‘may be linked to cancer’.

If you’ve ever wondered how the body is affected by cell phone radiation, you won’t want to miss this show. Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana is a senior staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital in Australia, and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Australian National University Medical School. Dr. Khurana has exhaustively studied the medical research on electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. After graduating with medical and research degrees in Australia in 1995, Dr. Khurana moved to the USA for advanced training at the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He returned to Australia after ten years of specialist training. Dr. Khurana has received 17 national and international awards, and has written over 35 peer-reviewed articles as well as two books: Brain Surgery, and The Brain Aneurysm. See his webpage about cell phone dangers which includes his report Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors – A Public Health Concern. As background for this show, read the Independent/UK article, Mobile Phones ‘More Dangerous Than Smoking.’

Billions of people now use cell phones worldwide, Dr. Caldicott says near the start of the program. She starts off the interview by asking Dr. Khurana how he became interested in studying the medical effects of cell phone usage and electromagnetic radiation, also known as electromagnetic fields (EMF).
Dr. Khurana explains why the death of doctor and professor Chris O’Brien, a surgeon and close friend of Dr. Khurana’s, provided one impetus for his studies of cell phone hazards.

Dr. Khurana’s study of existing reports on cell phones and cell phone masts, and their electromagnetic radiation was followed by a peer-reviewed publication, Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data. Children’s brains are more vulnerable to cell phone emissions. See this diagram from Spain’s Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute of how much cell phone radiation is absorbed in a child’s brain.
Dr. Khurana mentions the work of Professor Leonard Hardell of Sweden, discussed in the article Mobile phone use ‘raises children’s risk of brain cancer fivefold’. Read his research paper Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for greater than 10 years.

Dr. Vini Khurana

Dr. Vini Khurana

Dr. Khurana explains how the cell phone signal powerfully tracks the user with a constant stream of radiation.
Dr. Khurana then illuminates the truth about plug-in microphones, wired earpieces, and other variable equipment that can or cannot reduce the radiation from cell phones. To reduce, but not block, cell phone radiation, Dr. Khurana recommends an earpiece with an air tube that provides more distance from the user’s head as it transmits the audio. A device that uses this technology is the Blue Tube advanced Aircom2. To learn more about the Blue Tube and have the option to buy one, see “Does a Cell Phone’s Radiation Effect Stop When the Call Ends?” which includes a seven-minute video commentary by osteopathic physician Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Dr. Caldicott asks Dr. Khurana how scientists think that cell phone radiation and EMF can induce cancer. He describes the various types of electromagnetic radiation and where cell phones fit into the spectrum. See a diagram of radiation frequencies. At one point, Dr. Caldicott refers to measuring devices which check the fields of electromagnetic radiation. Some meters also measure cell phones. Check out the Trifield gauss meter from AlphaLab, Inc. This appliance has an electric & magnetic setting to measure EMF, and a radio/microwave setting which can also measure cell phone radiation.

Dr. Khurana mentions a new study on human sperm and cell phone radiation, Mobile Phone Radiation Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production and DNA Damage in Human Spermatozoa In Vitro. Other topics of this program include where cancers from cell phone use might develop in humans, the drastic increase in brain tumor incidence in the last 10 years, and how children are being affected by mobile phones. Dr. Caldicott is quite shocked to hear that Ireland and England have declared cell phones safe for children.
Dr. Khurana talks about the Bioinitiative Report, in which several scientists weigh in on “A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)” and the potential for an epidemic of brain tumors and leukemia.

Are cell phones worth the risk of a brain tumor?

Are cell phones worth the risk of brain tumors?

Another recent study found a very high incidence of brain tumors among offspring of women who work with electric sewing machines, Dr. Khurana says. Read an abstract of Maternal occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and the risk of brain cancer in the offspring. Dr. Khurana talks about the hazards of laptop computers, before exploring the paradigm shift about understanding the dangers of electromagnetic radiation which might be occurring, noting that the U.S. Senate and European Parliament have both pledged to study the health effects of cell phones. Dr. Khurana provides more safety recommendations throughout the end of the program.

For more information, watch Dr. Khurana’s appearances on Larry King Live and on 60 Minutes on his website’s Media page. Read Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked To Cancer, Study Suggests which mentions the work of Israeli scientist Dr. Siegal Sadetzki. See Dr. Sadetzki’s study Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Benign and Malignant Parotid Gland Tumors—A Nationwide Case-Control Study. See the article Pittsburgh cancer center warns of risk from cell phone use and the related report Tumors and Cell Phone Use: What the Science Says. And read Cellphone use potentially risky for kids, teens: health agency. See the webpage Cell Phones Linked to Brain Cancer which has several television segments and diagrams showing how cell phone radiation damages the body. Read 14 die of cancer in seven years living next to phone mast with highest radiation levels in UK. For general information on EMF hazards, visit the website of Microwave News.

Wireless internet (Wi-Fi) is considered by some to be another major health risk. Read Germany warns citizens to avoid using Wi-Fi and WiFi Radiation - Is WiFi Technology Bad For Your Health?. Other forms of life may be strongly affected by electromagnetic radiation and cell phone transmissions. Read Electronic smog ‘is disrupting nature on a massive scale’: New study blames mobile phone masts and power lines for collapse of bee colonies and decline in sparrows. Check out the Q-link pendant developed by university scientists and extensively studied which helps protect the body from the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation. Cell phone manufacture requires the use of the mineral coltan, and mining coltan is creating terrible conflicts in Africa. Read We’re All Raping the Congo, One Cell Phone Call at a Time and Can You Hear Congo Now? Cell Phones, Conflict Minerals, and the Worst Sexual Violence in the World. Read the October 22 article Stop Texting, to Save Lives in Africa. Also see the article The Radiation Poisoning Of America for more about cell phone tower and microwave transmissions.