imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Dr. Helen Caldicott Speaks in San Diego

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 at 9:50 PM (619) 688-1886 P.O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Dr. Helen Caldicott, a powerful international activist against nuclear weapons and nuclear power for over a quarter-century, spoke at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego October 23 and painted a picture of global warming as an imminent apocalypse that requires immediate action to develop alternative energy sources and stop using fossil fuels. She also denounced the public-relations campaigns aimed at convincing people that global warming isn't a threat, and said climate-change deniers like Rush Limbaugh directly threaten the survival of the earth and therefore should not be allowed to broadcast.

Dr. Helen Caldicott ...
caldicott.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x709

Dr. Helen Caldicott Speaks in San Diego

Says Global Warming Is an Emergency Requiring Drastic Measures


Copyright © 2009 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

It’s been over a quarter of a century since pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott emerged from her native Australia to become one of the most eloquent spokespeople against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. She said back then she was engaging in “preventive pediatrics” by warning against the potentially cataclysmic effects of nuclear energy even in its so-called “peaceful” form. Today she’s past her peak as a media phenomenon — her October 23 speech at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest drew less than 150 people in a room that can hold over 600, and the only media covering it were Pacifica Radio, Free Speech TV and Zenger’s — but her message was, if anything, even more fiery and emphatic than ever. She said that global warming will make it impossible for earth to sustain human life — unless we start a nuclear war and destroy ourselves that way first — and only a worldwide mobilization to develop and use only renewable energy sources can save us.

“As I look at the climate bill in Congress, there are all those corporations with lobbyists swarming over it, and the Congressmembers aren’t representing us,” Dr. Caldicott said. She pointed out that the corporations opposing any action to deal with global warming are using the same public relations firms that for decades represented the tobacco industry in its attempts to cast doubt on the scientific link between smoking and cancer — and the P.R. companies are using the same strategies now that they did then, calling the science behind global warming “uncertain” and “unproven” and trying to persuade politicians that any serious action against global warming will be devastating to the world’s economy.

According to Dr. Caldicott, there are indeed doubts about global warming — but in the other direction from the corporate P.R. propaganda. If anything, she said, the situation is worse than the scientists have been telling us. “When the U.N. Panel on Climate Change wrote its recently released report, it was based on data from five years ago,” she explained. “Now a group in London says if we continue business as usual, the temperature will have risen four degrees by the end of this century. The Arctic ice cap is already almost gone, and the Greenland cap is melting. If it melts, the worst problem is the oceans will rise 15 meters (about 50 feet). One-third of the world’s population lives at sea level. If that happens, New York and Sydney will be gone. The glaciers in the Himalayas are receding — and they supply most of the fresh water for China and India.”

In a slashing and sometimes rambling talk — she asked for indulgence about the rambling by saying it was the last speech on her tour and she was feeling punchy — she attacked defense contractors, war in general, religion and the corporate media. She criticized the government of Australia for having kept out refugees fleeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and said “the Pentagon is elated” at the prospect of global warming because it will mean more conflicts between countries — and therefore a greater market for U.S. defense contractors like Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

“It fascinates me that in this society, if someone commits murder, it’s a crime — but this whole country is a killing machine and the soldiers are put on pedestals,” Dr. Caldicott said. “The kids who come back from war are traumatized, they drink and they beat their wives. As a woman and a physician, I don’t understand why men kill.” She called historical military leaders like Alexander the Great and Napoleon “psychopaths” and said part of the problem lay with her own gender: “Why did I fall in love with alpha males? So my babies would get really powerful sperm? The more I think of us, the more I think we are evolutionary aberrants, because we’re killing the planet.”

Dr. Caldicott said she’d recently returned from Alberta, Canada, “and I’ve never heard so many deniers of global warming. They are still chopping down trees — the lungs of the earth — like crazy. We’re chopping them down in Australia. Why do people like to kill? Why do they like to kill animals? We’re fishing the seas out.” At least part of the problem, she added, is the “exponential growth” of the human population from one billion 200 years ago to seven billion today. She compared the human race to bacteria grown in a laboratory, which reproduce relentlessly until they run out of nutrient in the culture medium — whereupon they die off en masse. “Are we going to destroy the world for money?” she said. “I think we are.”

As part of her presentation, Dr. Caldicott seized on two especially powerful motivators that make men fight wars: religion and sex. “Religion is a real bugbear,” she said. “I have to go back through history and look at the wars fought in the name of religion. There are mad people in the church, including 40 million people in this country praying for nuclear war. Why don’t the churches rise up and say we should stop killing people?” As for the war-sex connection, she said, “Why do men rape women when they conquer territory? I asked my dad, and he didn’t know. Why do they show men porno films before they go into war? The two things that get the limbic system to produce dopamine are sex and violence, and that fascinates me. As a physician, I want to find out why.”

While praising President Obama for wanting to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Dr. Caldicott acknowledged he’s “having a hell of a time” and said it’s largely due to the opposition of a Right-wing corporate media that, if she had her way, would be driven out of business. “I don’t believe Rush Limbaugh and these people should be allowed to talk on the radio,” she said. “When it comes to the future of the earth, I don’t believe in free speech. We’re important, but not as important as the 30 million other species with which we share the planet. The media companies and the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] need to address their responsibility for having people on the air who are threatening the survival of the earth.”

Dr. Caldicott said that, aside from Pacifica Radio and Amy Goodman’s syndicated broadcast Democracy Now, there are literally no U.S. media untainted by the corporations. “National Public Radio takes money from the nuclear power industry,” she said. “I want you to take on the corporations who are promoting global warming. Learn about it, go see your politicians and teach them. Senator Barbara Boxer is a good woman, but the energy bill is being corrupted by the nuclear power industry. They need to put me on TV to educate people about why nuclear power is not the answer to global warming.”

That last argument — the heavy-duty propaganda campaign by the nuclear power industry to promote its technology as “clean” and free of a carbon footprint — incenses Dr. Caldicott so much that she wrote an entire book about it and called it Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer. “Nuclear power is the bastard son of the nuclear-weapons industry,” she said. “A huge amount of fossil fuel is used to mine uranium. Milling uranium ore and treating it to produce yellowcake produces more CO2. Then to enrich it, you have to turn it into uranium hexafluoride gas and separate it into U-235 and U-238. They use coal-fired power plants to run the centrifuges that do this, and use CFC gas, which is otherwise banned worldwide, to keep it cool. CFC is not only an ozone depleter, it’s 20,000 times as effective a greenhouse gas as CO2.”

After the uranium is enriched to the 3 percent U-235 concentration needed to power a reactor, she explained, “it’s packed into fuel pellets, put into rods and taken to reactors like San Onofre, which is 30 years old. They pack 1 1/2 tons of uranium into a reactor, and they produce new elements which are all radioactive. The heat produced by the reactor boils water, which turns the steam turbines that generate the electricity. They started this because the scientists who invented the atomic bomb felt guilty and looked for a way to promote this technology for ‘peaceful’ use. Then it was propagandized as being ‘American’” — so effectively, she said, that to this day she gets criticized by people quoting the 1950’s playbook of the nuclear industry and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and telling her she’s being “un-American” for opposing nuclear power.

Dr. Caldicott also mentioned what happens to the U-238 — which can’t be fissioned like U-235 but still emits dangerous, highly radioactive alpha particles — after it’s separated out in the centrifuges. It’s turned into depleted uranium ammunition and used in warheads fired by American tanks. “America used 360 tons of depleted uranium in 1991 near Basra, Iraq,” she explained. “U-238 is very carcinogenic, and children are 100 times more sensitive to radiation than adults. Fetuses are 1,000 times more sensitive. The shells are pyrophoric (they start fires when they explode) and spread radioactivity in the air. My colleagues noted an increase in childhood cancers in Basra by 1995, and that’s now gone up 700 percent. Because of the sanctions and the war, doctors can’t treat patients. U.S. soldiers would into hospitals and shoot up both the doctors and the patients. The half-life of U-238 is 4 1/2 billion years. They’ve contaminated the cradle of civilization for the rest of time, and those children will be having those diseases until the end of time.”

While her main agenda was to address global warming, renewable energy and the evils of war and nuclear power, Dr. Caldicott couldn’t resist commenting on the U.S. health-care debate. “How did insurance companies get into medicine in the first place?” she said. “You should have free taxpayer-supported medical care like we have in Australia — ‘single-payer,’ the ‘public option,’ whatever you want to call it. Instead your tax money goes to the Pentagon to kill people.” Responding to the argument that under a taxpayer-funded, government-run health insurance system people couldn’t make enough money to make it worth their while to be doctors, Dr. Caldicott said, “Doctors shouldn’t be rich. I think teachers should make more than doctors because they’re doing more for the human race.”

As depressing as her presentation sometimes got, Dr. Caldicott stressed at the end that she’s an optimist and she believes the earth’s problems, though grave, can be fixed — and they can be fixed by the same human ingenuity that caused them. She said the solution to the energy problem is “a heterogeneous collection of solar power and wind,” and urged the U.S. to install solar panels on top of every building and parking lot. She also argued that the power grid needs to be improved, especially in the Midwest, to move this energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed. As evidence that the U.S. could pull this off if it had the political will to do so, she cited its history immediately after it entered World War II in December 1941.

“Within six months of Pearl Harbor, America converted every factory to war production because of the emergency,” Dr. Caldicott said. “There’s a much worse emergency now. The Earth is in the intensive care unit, acutely ill. We’re all physicians to a dying planet, and we can fix it.”

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy