I believe


by Helen Caldicott

I believe that women have the fate of the Earth in the palm of their hands. Some 53 per cent of us are women and we really are pretty wimpish. We don’t step up to the plate – and it’s time we took over. I think men have had their turn and we’re in a profound mess.

I believe that money is the root of all evil. When people start believing that materialism will produce ultimate, lasting happiness, it is a sure sign that they will be intensely unhappy. One third of Americans are on anti-depressants. Instead, what they should be doing is lifting their souls, not their faces.

I believe in the sanctity of nature. I believe we can save the planet. We are smart enough to do that, but we must act with a sense of dire emergency.

I believe that the media are controlling and determining the face of the Earth. As Thomas Jefferson said, an informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion.

I believe in the beauty of classical music. I must have it; it feeds my soul.

I believe in the goodness in every person’s soul even though it’s sometimes hard to see. I treat a lot of patients where either their children are dying or they are dying. Even though sometimes it’s heavily obscured, in extremes this goodness will emerge.

I don’t believe in a god. I have helped many people to die and believe that it’s ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

I believe that heaven and hell are present every day.

I believe that life is an absolute gift to be treasured accordingly. We are very privileged to even have been conceived.

I believe that we are here to serve. We are not here to make ourselves happy, to be self-indulgent or to be hedonistic. The happiest state that I achieve is when I work in my clinic helping my children with cystic fibrosis to face death and help to treat them and look after their siblings. I’m utterly exhausted at the end of the day, but deeply, deeply fulfilled.

I believe in the beauty of my garden. I’ve got two and a half acres and I’m never more in touch with the power of the universe than when I’m in my garden on a warm, sunny day tending to my flowers and my trees, with the pelicans circling overhead.

I believe that there are far too many people on the planet. In the year 1900 there were one billion of us in the world. Now there are 6.5 billion and the predictions are that within a few decades there will be 14 billion.

I believe that the greatest terror in the world is not a few terrorists hitting the World Trade Center. It’s the fact that half the world’s people still live in dire poverty and 30,000 to 40,000 children die every day from malnutrition and starvation, while the rich nations continue to get richer and richer.

I believe that the most important job in the world is parenting. Women need to be financially supported for it. Their job is far more important than that of chief executive officers at the head of huge corporations.

I believe the secret of happiness is a) serving our fellow human beings and loving and caring for everyone. I don’t mean crappy Californian

love; I mean really deep caring for each other; b) to understand our own psychology in a profound way, so we can be a more constructive human being; and c) to care for this incredible planet of ours.

The Australian paediatrician was named by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the most influential women in the world. ‘Nuclear Power is Not the Answer’ by Helen Caldicott is published by The New Press at £13.99

Copyright © 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Today I gave a Climate Change Presentation in Orange …. I got the boys ready for school, drove very slowly for 2 1/2 hours to get to Orange, slowly for 2 1/2 hours to get back, and picked up the boys for their piano lesson. I do not want this beautiful place to be destroyed.

Two young guys in a very very big truck in the middle of Orange honked, and honked and honked, giving me the biggest smile* …. they are also someone’s children and they care about the planet too.

* In response to the sign on my car which says “I’m driving slower to lower my carbon emissions 20%. Honk if you care about the planet too.”

10 thoughts on “I believe

  1. susan

    I believe in ‘trying’not to be wasteful. Not just reuse/recycle but by in using every thing as many times as possible before it leaves my property. For me this includes possible food sources from my own garden or gleaned from the street.
    I had a great time last month with Chestnuts and I am trialling acorns at the moment. All those non-indigenous oak trees out there dropping their nut and seedling popping up all over. Acorns need to be leached in water and shelled so they are not a convienence food by any means.
    I have made acorn bread and acorn pancacks and acorn muffins, but today I am making Chilli con Acorn. This may not seem like a way of saving the planet but since the weather is lovely and wet I am letting nature tend the garden and will acept this as my personal action for today.I am still thinking on my political one…

  2. Helen

    Hi Susan, wow, how is the acorn bread, sounds delicious,…all this rain is wonderful isn’t it, my plants will be singing! When I am stuck trying to figure out a political act, I just take a pen and write down the most frustrating thing that is currently happening in politics then fashion it into a letter for whatever victim I choose…at the moment Howard deserves to cop a lot of letters!!

  3. Brigitte G.

    Waow !! what a beautiful, awesome video !! Love it !
    and feel soo inspired by the words you’ve written. and yes, i believe we, women might not necessarily be strong physically but mentally and psychologically we are stronger !

  4. Gail

    There are so many wonderful things in this world to believe in. A very good reason to keep the world happy and healthy.

  5. Beth

    Some recent actions that I have done (my focus has very much been on reducing paper use lately):

    *Rang up charities that I have made donations to and asked them to stop sending me promotional material in between donations (they’ve just got somewhere in their database to tick off)

    *I am preparing a report at work, and by removing all the blank pages in between sections/chapters, I reduced each report by 4 pieces of paper. I am printing 600 copies, so that adds up to almost 5 reams of paper!

    *Emailed the NRMA to ask them to stop sending me their publication – Open Road. I never have time to read it anyway, and this wasn’t a problem for them to do it.

    *I also emailed my alumni association and asked to be removed, as well as asked them to consider using email or the web for communicating with alumni.

    *Went to a meeting recently at a hotel/convention centre and was shocked to walk in and find plastic bottles on all of the tables. I first went to the bar and asked for a carafe of water and told them it was because I didn’t want to waste the plastic. Then I stood up and asked everyone to please request carafes rather than using plastic bottles. Then I asked the organiser of the meeting (who had pre-empted me) to replace all the plastic bottles with carafes. There were around 40 people there for a full day meeting, so it made a bit of a difference. I now plan to ring the hotel to ask them to change their catering policy, to always serve water in carafes rather than bottles.

    *And I turned my fridge off! I recently downgraded from a normal-sized fridge to a bar fridge. Now with winter here my house is an ice-box, so I figured I don’t need a fridge. I don’t eat a lot of meat (just buy it on the day I want to cook it) and have very little dairy, so I decided there was no need to have the fridge on. I feel a bit radical having done it. When it gets warmer, I’m sure I’ll turn it back on.

    I’m keen to hear from others about what you’ve done recently.

  6. Lis

    Thought I should just clarify that the words here are Helen Caldicott’s not mine and that I’m not trying to suggest, by quoting her, that women are better than men (the bit where she says women should take over) I do agree with Helen that if 53% of us are women … if we’re more than half of the population, then it’s astonishing how few women are involved in stopping global warming in the political arena …. I guess I responded more to the challenge of women being wimpish than anything being wrong with men. Maybe we’re in a profound mess, not because men are bad per se but because women have been almost absent (for whatever reasons) in the decision making – there just seems to be a lack of balance.

    I think what I was trying to get across in the whole blog was that there has been this incredible feminine gentleness (as seen in the images of the women in art) that has gone through generations (a gentleness that men have as well … especially the ones that made these beautiful paintings … unfortunately artists very rarely influence politics) … but the “feminine” part also needs to lead to some sort of action …. you can’t abdicate all responsibility for politics to men …the situation has become so urgent that the debate has to go political as well or we won’t get the action needed in time … it’s not enough just to change lightbulbs

  7. Lis

    Beth your actions have been incredible … a perfect example too of making the personal political by doing more than just your drink bottle! Very inspiring.

  8. Tracy

    I have found all these comments and the beautiful video so inspiring it has almost brought me to tears. I’ve recently suffered mild depression and in recent conversations with old girlfriends, spread far and wide, have realised the strength women give each other and how important it is to maintain the links no matter how far apart we are.
    since meeting Lis at one of her presentations I have at times been overwhelmed by this problem we face in saving our planet… maybe the links women have can be something positive that makes a difference.

  9. Lis

    Tracy I get so much out of everyone who participates in this blog … it is almost as though we can feel each other through the ether and our strength grows … we know we’re all out there caring and trying and loving for all we’re worth …. I can’t think of a stronger force

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