Dr. Helen Caldicott was born on August 7th in Melbourne, Australia. She was raised in Australia most of her life. She went to school and studied to be a physician. She devoted herself to the treatment of children with cystic fibrosis. She is a wife and a mother of three children. She was an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, specializing in cystic fibrosis. She was also on the staff of the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She tells an interesting story about herself which gives us insight into her beliefs and value system. When she was nineteen she read a book that changed her life. It was called On the Beach. An Australian writer wrote it. It is the story of the final months in the lives of five people living in a world that had been hit by a nuclear bomb. It took place in the city where she grew up. She knew personally the places described in the book. It really frightened her. She had already decided to become a doctor, but after reading this book it really confirmed it. She said, "I just couldn't go through medical school and settle into a nice, cozy, well-paid niche somewhere, as doctors in Australia were apt to do. I wanted a husband and a family, certainly, but somewhere in me was a conviction that I had other work to do as well. When I read that book, I started to realize what that work might be."
She was a woman of great accomplishment. She has accomplished in a few short years, what all of us put together could never do in a lifetime. She has devoted the last 25 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. 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 union to educate members about nuclear testing. Also in 1975, she founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Adelaide Children's Hospital. In 1978, while living in the United States, she founded the Physicians Social Responsibility. This is an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and nuclear war. In 1980, she founded the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. She returned to Australia in 1987, where she ran for Federal Parliament, as an independent. She defeated the leader of the national party, but lost the overall election by 600 votes. She currently resides in Long Island, New York.
Dr. Caldicott has also won many honors, prizes, and awards for her work. She has been a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a winner of the Peace Medal Award, Integrity Award, Peace Award, SANE Award, Ghandi Peace Prize, the Norman Cousins Award for Peace-making, and the Margaret Mead Award.
She has also written several books. Some of them include Nuclear Madness, If You Love This Planet, and A Desperate Passion. She has also been the subject of several films, including, Eight Minutes to Midnight, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1982, and If You Love This Planet, which won an academy award in 1983 for best documentary.
We would like to share a few quotes from addresses she has given that give a little insight on what she believes. "If World War II were fought today, Europe would become uninhabitable for the rest of time. Why? Because all the nuclear reactors would melt down. It only takes a very tiny explosive to destroy them."
"Your tax dollars should be used for you and your children-and not to build bombs to blow up the Earth."
"One chlorine atom eats up about 100,000 molecules of ozone over time. If the space program goes on as planned over the next 10 years, it could indeed destroy 10% of the ozone layer in Australia. Malignant melanoma has doubled in the last ten years. Each 1% decrease in ozone is a 5% increase in skin cancer. Therefore, we've got to stop destroying the ozone."
"The Pentagon is obsolete. There is no enemy. The Cold War is over. All America needs to protect itself is the Coast Guard so the Pentagon can be disbanded. A lot of the expertise can be transferred to the United Nations."
Internet source: http://www.nonradiation.org/caldicott/bio.html
Book source: A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography
Author: Helen Caldicott