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Helen Caldicott

  • We are the curators of life on earth; we hold it in the palms of our hands.

  • ... as a physician I examine the dying planet as I do a dying patient. The earth has a natural system of interacting homeostatic mechanisms similar to the human body's. If one system is diseased, like the ozone layer, then other systems develop abnormalities in function — the crops will die, the plankton will be damaged, and the eyes of all creatures on the planet will become diseased and vision impaired.

  • ... in terms of the biology of the planet, development is a euphemism for destruction.

  • Trees are more than just havens for animals, birds, insects, and humans; they are also the lungs of the earth. Just as we breathe oxygen into our lungs and exhale carbon dioxide, so trees breathe carbon dioxide into their leaves and exhale oxygen. Trees are really upside-down lungs: their trunks are equivalent to the trachea, their branches to the right and left main bronchi, and all their branching twigs and leaves to small bronchi and alveoli, or air sacs, where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. Tree trunks and branches may appear solid, but they are really rigid channels that transmit water and nutrients to the leaves, the way the trachea and air passages transmit air to the alveoli.

  • I have witnessed the takeover of my world by plastic.

  • The U.S. population, a mere four or five percent of the world total, creates half the world's toxic waste.

  • The problem with addicted people, communities, corporations, or countries is that they tend to lie, cheat, or steal to get their 'fix.' Corporations are addicted to profit and governments to power ...

  • Politics is not really politics any more. It is run, for the most part, by Madison Avenue advertising firms, who sell politicians to the public the way they sell bars of soap or cans of beer.

  • The whole world is being 'deculturalized' into a uniform 'Coca-Cola society,' wanting and needing an American way of life.

  • Terrorists do not actually need nuclear weapons. They have been conveniently supplied with 103 nuclear power plants scattered throughout the United States (438 of these deadly facilities exist throughout the world). A planned meltdown at one of these facilities would make the World Trade Center attacks seem like child's play. The massive concrete containers protecting the reactors are not strong enough to withstand the impact of a jumbo jet.

  • As a physician, I see the earth as a patient in the intensive care unit. We have an acute clinical crisis on our hands and must take urgent action. My prescription for survival is that the American people rise up as they did in the 1980s, when 80 percent of Americans supported the nuclear weapons freeze.

    • Helen Caldicott,
    • "Ending the Nuclear Crisis," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Stop the Next War Now ()
  • The massive quantities of radiation that would be released in a war fought with nuclear weapons might, over time, cause such great changes in the human gene pool that following generations might not be recognizable as human beings.

    • Helen Caldicott

Helen Caldicott, Australian physician, writer, anti-nuclear activist

(1938)