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How to Fix a Threatened Planet

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Helen Caldicott, M.D.

President of The Helen Caldicott Foundation/

Terrestrial life is under threat from three major insults:

  1. Global warming. This can be interrupted and remedied by massive government investment in alternative renewable energy sources, carbon tax and massive conservation of wasted energy as an example to the rest of the world
  2. Nuclear power. Future accidents like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, and the problem of massive quantities of radioactive waste which must be isolated from the ecosphere for one million years, which will inevitable leak and concentrate in food chains inducing epidemics of cancer, leukemia, genetic diseases and congenital abnormalities for the rest of time. Solution: Close down all nuclear reactors as a matter of urgent priority and put all nuclear scientists to work researching answers to radioactive waste storage
  3. Nuclear war. The ever-present and largely ignored threat of nuclear war. The US and Russia presently own 97% of the 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Nuclear war would create nuclear winter and the final epidemic of the human race. Answer:  Support, urge and insist that  President Obama negotiate with Russia for urgent abolition of nuclear weapons.


The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr. Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 38 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.

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 in 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.

Dr. Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, including the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and 21 honorary doctoral degrees. She was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling--himself a Nobel Laureate. The Smithsonian has named Dr. Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century. She has written for numerous publications and has authored seven books, Nuclear MadnessMissile EnvyIf You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (updated in 2009), A Desperate Passion: An AutobiographyThe New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial ComplexNuclear Power is Not the Answer, and War In Heaven.

Dr. Caldicott  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 founded the US-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which evolved into Beyond Nuclear. Currently, Dr. Caldicott is President of The Helen Caldicott Foundation/, an educational outreach project that informs people of the dangers of nuclear power and weapons. The mission of the Foundation is education to action, and the promotion of a nuclear energy and weapons free, renewable energy powered, world.

Assigned Reading

Helen Caldicott, Loving This Planet: Leading Thinkers Talk About How to Make a Better World (New Press, 2012)


A reception will be held at 5:00 pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4435

6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public