Breaking Green

Fusion Dreams 90 Seconds to Midnight with Dr. Helen Caldicott

February 02, 2023 Global Justice Ecology Project / Host Steve Taylor Season 3 Episode 2
Breaking Green
Fusion Dreams 90 Seconds to Midnight with Dr. Helen Caldicott
Show Notes Chapter Markers

It is 90 seconds to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. In large part due to developments in the war in Ukraine, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists  moved the hands of the infamous timepiece forward.

Just weeks earlier the Department of Energy announced the first reported controlled fusion reaction that was touted as a breakthrough for national defense and the future of clean energy.

Given the history of The Lawrence Livermore lab that conducted the experiment, there is reason for skepticism.

In this episode of Breaking Green we will talk with Dr. Helen Caldicott.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 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 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.

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 played a major role in re-invigorating as President,    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. On trips abroad she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries. The international umbrella group (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. 

Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, including the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and twenty one  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.

Video of Caldicott's description the effects of Nuclear War.

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Breaking Green Introduction
Episode Introduction
Caldicott Introduction
Caldicott's Book If You Love This Planet
Current Threat 90 Seconds to Midnight
Inured to the threat
Description of a Nuclear Attack
The World Generally Apathetic
Evolution will be Destroyed / Fermi Paradox
Similarity to Cuban Missile Crises
DOE's Announcement of Fusion Breakthrough
History of Lawrence Livermoore Labs
On the Beach
People Are Not Getting the information
Nuclear Protests of the 1970s
Nuclear Energy Industry Ties to Nuclear Weapons
Can you save the planet?