Helen Mary Caldicott, MD, One Of My Personal heroes.

Helen Mary Caldicott MD, one of my personal heroes
TimesUnion.com August 22, 2009  by
August seems like an excellent month to celebrate Helen Caldicott’s 71st birthday along with 35 years of educational, organizational, inspirational, and scientific work as an antinuclear activist, who opposes both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Almost 30 years ago, during her first prolonged stay in the United States I had the chance to attend a talk by this very real, down to earth, charismatic and brilliant woman. It was a life changing experience, intensifying my own level of commitment and activism. She was impossible to resist when she thoroughly detailed the dangers of radiation to the future of human beings and then asked each of us what we were going to do about it……………..

Born on August 7, 1938 [a date that was bracketed by the two nuclear bombings in 1945] Helen Caldicott was a pediatrician educated and working originally in Australia. Her healing specialty was Cystic Fibrosis. It was her knowledge about the genetic sensitivity of children to the effects of radiation and her own role as the mother of three children that caused her to take responsibility for counteracting what she had learned about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the fuel production cycle and utilization of nuclear power.

Her first major successful radiation-related campaign was the public exposure (in 1971) of the effects from the fallout of five years of illegal French nuclear testing in the South Pacific on the food chain and water supplies of Australia and New Zealand. Her media campaign and speeches caused a major Australian political and boycott movement and brought about a change in the Australian government and an end to French atmospheric testing.

She also organized a campaign against the mining and commercial use of uranium in Australia, which has rich deposits of uranium and was exporting it to many different countries. She brought about union backing for her idea of an export ban by educating workers about the damaging effects of radiation exposure on sperm cells leading to increases in birth defects. The Australian Council of Trade Unions passed a resolution against the mining, transport and sale of uranium in 1975 and the government then imposed an export ban. Intense international pressure led to the lifting of the ban in 1982………

………Dr. Caldicott headed Physicians for Social Responsibility .during that time when it exposed the risks of the nuclear industry, expanded research on the results of nuclear war and worked politically and educationally for nuclear disarmament. In 1980, Helen Caldicott gave up her medical practice to take on full-time leadership of Physicians for Social Responsibility . ….. both she and they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. The award was given to the international umbrella organization, International Physicians For The Prevention Of Nuclear War, Boston, MA, USA…………..

The most recent organization that she’s founded and led is the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI). Located in Washington DC, NPRI works to facilitate effective, ongoing public education campaigns in the mainstream media about the still-underestimated dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs. NPRI has now merged with another organization called Beyond Nuclear and together they work to educate people about the huge health and environmental dangers of nuclear production and development.

Helen Mary Caldicott, MD, One Of My Personal Sheroes. – Waging Peace – Peace, justice and nonviolence – Women Against War – timesunion.com – Albany NY

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