If You Love This Planet
|If You Love This Planet|
|Directed by||Terre Nash|
|Produced by||Edward Le Lorrain|
|Music by||Karl du Plessis|
|Distributed by||National Film Board of Canada (NFB)|
If You Love This Planet is a 1982 short documentary film recording a lecture given to SUNY Plattsburgh students by physician and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott about the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. The movie was directed by Terre Nash and produced by Edward Le Lorrain for Studio D, the women's studio of the National Film Board of Canada. Studio D head Kathleen Shannon was executive producer.
Released during the term of the Reagan administration and at the height of Cold War nuclear tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, If You Love This Planet was officially designated as "foreign political propaganda" by the U.S. Department of Justice and suppressed in the United States. The subsequent uproar over that action gave the film a publicity boost ; it went on to win the 1982 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). CBC initially refused to air the film, claiming it was biased. It appears that the first cinema showing of the film in Britain did not occur until April 2008, when it was screened by the London Socialist Film Co-op.
The film goes into depth describing in easy-to-understand language the scientific and medical consequences of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect, deforestation, toxic chemical pollution, species extinction, food contamination, nuclear waste, and the constant threat of nuclear warfare. A physician by training, Caldicott prescribes a cure and cause for hope. She suggests we organize politically (voting be compulsory), learn energy efficiency, and make corporations and governments accountable for what they do. She argues our love for the Earth itself should be our greatest strength in our fight for the planet. The film inspired Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s World Peace Tour to reduce nuclear arms. The film was loved and reviewed by newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, East Bay Express, and the Seattle Times. The film also received praise from activist/filmmaker Naomi Klein, and actress Meryl Streep has said that “Helen Caldicott has been my inspiration to speak out.”
Helen Caldicott, M.D., later wrote a book of the same name, If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992). A new edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton in September 2009.
Dr. Caldicott hosted a weekly radio program called If You Love This Planet. From July 2008 to November 2012, it ran to 216 editions. The program was first aired by Pacifica Radio station KPFT-FM in Houston and played weekly on dozens of U.S., Canadian, and Australian stations. Episodes are archived on www.ifyoulovethisplanet.org and at radio4all.net. The series focused on the threats to human survival posed by nuclear weapons, nuclear power, global warming, pollution, deforestation, and other public health issues.
- Eight Minutes to Midnight: A Portrait of Dr. Helen Caldicott, a 1981 feature-length documentary film
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