If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Journalist Frank Rich on the Bush-era media and Obama; Senator Bob Brown on logging and global warming


Australian eucalyptus forest

Australian eucalyptus forest

In this episode of If You Love This Planet, Dr. Caldicott speaks with two guests, Frank Rich, author and New York Times columnist; and Australian politician and environmental activist, Senator Bob Brown.

Frank Rich’s latest book is titled The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina, published by Penguin Press in 2006. Dr. Caldicott introduces him as one of the few mainstream media writers in the U.S. who were willing to challenge George W. Bush’s policies from the beginning. In this interview, Rich reflects on the tumultuous eight years of Bush, whose administration manipulated the public through its clever and “theatrical” use of the major media. The 2003 Iraq War, which may have killed 1,000,000 civilians, is the most egregious example of how the media colluded to support the Bush White House.

Dr. Caldicott asks Rich about the influence of the Project for the New American Century (founded in 1997), whose members include Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. [In 2000, the Project released Rebuilding America’s Defenses, a document which calls for the U.S. to dominate the world militarily and which included Iraq in an “axis of evil” while calling for “regime change” in that country. In describing how the U.S. might achieve military omnipotence, the blueprint states that such a "process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."] Rich also comments on the major problems that need to be addressed by the Obama administration.

Senator Bob Brown of Tasmania is the current leader of the Australian Greens, the country’s third largest political party. Brown, a medical doctor like Dr. Caldicott, has been warning about the effects of global warming for years. He explores with Dr. Caldicott the damaging practices still underway such as forest logging, and how we can turn our global environmental habits around for the sake of a safe future. Australia is a major coal producer, and coal is a leading source of greenhouse gases. Australia also provides timber for the paper industry (in Japan and elsewhere), and this program addresses the critical role of trees in abating global warming worldwide. Brown and
Dr. Caldicott also discuss plastic (Brown says that there are on average 40,000 pieces of plastic per square mile on earth) and how imperative it is to elect environmentally conscious politicians.

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