Dr. Helen Caldicott Reflects on Working Toward Peace

The only cure is love. I had just walked around my garden. It is a sunny, fall day, and white fleecy clouds are scudding across a clear, blue sky. The air is fresh and clear with no taint of chemical smells, and the mountains in the distance are ringed by shining silver clouds. I have just picked a pan full of ripe cherry guavas to make jam, and the house is filling with the delicate aroma of simmering guavas. Figs are ripening on the trees and developing that gorgeous deep red glow at the apex of the fruit. Huge orange-colored lemons hang from the citrus trees, and lettuces, beetroots, and cabbages are growing in the vegetable garden. The fruit and vegetables are organically grown, and it feels wonderful to eat food that is free of man-made chemicals and poisons.

It is clear to me that unless we connect directly with the earth, we will not have the faintest clue why we should save it. We need to have dirt under our fingernails and to experience that deep, aching sense of physical tiredness after a day's labor in the garden to really understand nature. To feel the pulse of life, we need to spend days hiking in forests surrounded by millions of invisible insects and thousands of birds and the wonder of evolution. Of course, I realize that I am very fortunate indeed to be able to experience the fullness of nature so directly-literally in my own backyard. For many people-especially those living in urban areas who are unable to travel out of them regularly-such an experience is difficult to come by. Still, I urge all to try in some way to make a difficult connection with the natural world.

Only if we understand the beauty of nature will we love it, and only if we become alerted to learn about the planet's disease processes can we decide to live our lives with a proper sense of ecological responsibility. And finally, only if we love nature, learn about its ills, and live accordingly will we be inspired to participate in needed legislative activities to save the earth. So my prescription for action to save the planet is, Love, learn, live, and legislate.



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