Monday, March 14, 2011

Women's History Month - Helen Caldicott

A personal mission to literally “save the world”
from nuclear destruction.

Earlier this month I mentioned that during Women’s History Month I would be writing about some women that I admire. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Helen Caldicott, a woman who has dedicated her life to working for peace. Her list of achievements is incredible. She is the most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crisis. The Smithsonian Institute has named her as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.

"During the early portion of the twenty-first century, space power will also evolve into a separate and equal medium of warfare ... The emerging synergy of space superiority with land, sea, and air superiority will lead to Full Spectrum Dominance." - from U.S. Space Command Vision for 2020

When most of us think about the potential of outer space for future generations, we think of world communications, satellite navigation, and scientific exploration. U.S. Space Command, however, thinks about weapons. Believing that conflict in space and wars fought from space are inevitable, former President Bush called on the agency to weaponize outer space and thus provoke an arms race that could cost the United States trillions of dollars and could lead to the demise of the human race.

Helen Caldicott is recognized in every corner of the globe as the most visible advocate for peace in the world. In association with physicians and scientists, Dr. Caldicott and Bill Caldicott played a major role to educate the people of New Zealand and Australia about the vast dangers to health of nuclear production and development. Physician, humanist, impassioned advocate for nuclear disarmament and a true woman of peace is Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Helen Caldicott.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Peace Medal Award – U. N. Association of Australia- shared with her husband Bill Caldicott
Integrity Award (John-Roger Foundation), which she shared with Bishop Desmond Tutu
Peace Award (American Association of University Women)
SANE Peace Award
Gandhi Peace Prize

She is the author of the following books:
- Nuclear Madness
- Missile Envy,
- A Desperate Passion- An Autobiography
- If You Love This Planet
- Nuclear Madness
- The New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial Complex (2001)
- Nuclear Power is Not the Answer (2006)
- War In Heaven (March 2007).

(In War in Heaven, Caldicott and Eisendrath show that the United States itself is today the principal obstruction to passage of an international treaty banning weapons from outer space.)

She has developed dozens of video tapes and films, written scores of articles which have appeared in nearly every major newspaper and magazine; spoken at major universities throughout the world and has met with heads of state everywhere.

Dr Caldicott, has devoted the last 36 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, August 7, 1938, Dr Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961. She founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Adelaide Children's Hospital and devoted herself to the treatment of children afflicted with cystic fibrosis until 1975 and subsequently was an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and on the staff of the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston, Mass., until 1980 when she resigned to work full time on the prevention of nuclear war.

In 1971, Dr Caldicott played a major role in Australia's opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific; in 1975 she worked with the Australian trade unions to educate their members about the medical dangers of the nuclear fuel cycle, with particular reference to uranium mining.

While living in the United States from 1977 to 1986, she co-founded the Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. The international umbrella group (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the US in 1980.
Both PSR and WAND have been at the forefront of the nuclear-freeze movement ever since. International PSR received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. For more than two decades she has tirelessly and eloquently spoken to groups around the world on behalf of nuclear disarmament.
She moved back to the United States in 1995, lecturing at the New School for Social Research on the Media, Global Politics and the Environment, hosting a weekly radio talk show on WBAI (Pacifica), and becoming the Founding President of the STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) Foundation.

Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, most recently the Lannan Foundation's 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom, 19 honorary doctoral degrees.
She also has been the subject of several films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight, nominated for an Academy Award in 1981, 'If You Love This Planet', which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982, and 'Helen’s War: portrait of a dissident', recipient of the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction (Documentary) 2004, and the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award for Best Documentary in 2004.

Dr Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the US where she lectures widely. She is also the Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), headquartered in Washington DC. NPRI’s mission is to facilitate a far-reaching, effective, ongoing public education campaign in the mainstream media about the often-underestimated dangers of nuclear weapons and power programs and policies.

I really admire Dr. Caldicott who has dedicated her life's work to global peace and
I feel safer knowing that she currently makes it a full time mission to prevent nuclear war.

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