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EMF/RF/5G: Amelia’s Cell Tower, Avatar, Water, and a Board of Health Inspired Speech (Let’s Listen to a 14-year old)

By Patricia Burke of Safe Tech International

In April of 2021, Natural Blaze published “5G Earth Day Countdown: Children — Amelia’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Cell Tower Days” by 13-year-old Amelia Gilardi of “Shacktown” in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

She wrote, “My name is Amelia and I am 13 years old. A Verizon cell tower blindsided my Pittsfield, Massachusetts neighborhood and made us sick. This is my story.”

The article was translated into several languages, and other young people from the U.S. and beyond who have experienced harm have reached out to the family.

The Pittsfield community and the Gilardi family have been very involved in outreach, education, and advocacy for the EMF/RF issue. (Here is Amelia testifying for New Hampshire’s House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee 01/18/22).

Many communities are now becoming increasingly involved as their towns face infrastructure encroachment.

ProPublica Investigative Report: Peter Elkind

The Pittsfield tower story was featured in a November article by investigative journalist Peter Elkind of Propublica. “How the FCC Shields Cellphone Companies From Safety Concerns.”

How the FCC Shields Wireless Providers From Safety Concerns — ProPublica

“The wireless industry is rolling out thousands of new transmitters amid a growing body of research that calls cellphone safety into question. Federal regulators say there’s nothing to worry about — even as they rely on standards established in 1996.”

For nearly 1000 days, the Gilardi sisters have been hoping to return to the home that became uninhabitable after the Verizon tower was activated.  Another Christmas has passed and the family remains displaced.

Safety Standards Not Updated Since 1996

Many communities across the country are learning belatedly that FCC guidelines haven’t been updated since 1996.

They are also learning belatedly that the FCC ignored 2000 comments including testimony of harm submitted between 2013 and 2019 indicating that guidelines are inadequate for current uses and juxtapositions of exposures.

 A federal court ruled that the FCC’s decision to not to review is exposure guidelines ,was arbitrary, capricious, and not evidence-based.  In response to the lawsuit by the Environmental Health Trust and Children’s Health Defense, ”The court sent the issue back to the FCC, for either a fresh review of its 26-year-old standard or better explanations to justify it.

In the 15 months since, the FCC, now led by Rosenworcel, who was elevated by President Joe Biden, has taken no formal action.”Peter Elkind

At the same time, communities are receiving applications for new infrastructure, and finding that their zoning and municipal codes are outdated, and do not include sufficient protections for small cells and 5G.

Engaged, informed citizens have been reaching out in a multitude of ways to help bring the issues into focus for the public.

Beacon Theatre’s “Berkshire Water Celebration”

On January 26, the Beacon Theater in Pittsfield hosted the Berkshire Water Celebration.

As MA4SafeTechnology noted, the fundraising event included  performances, foods from local chefs, a water-inspired art show by Kate Knapp, poetry readings, guest speakers, an awards presentation, and local makers, artisans and vendors, and a private screening of James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Avatar: The Way of Water Final Trailer (2022)

Amelia’s mom Courtney wrote, “I wanted to share Amelia’s speech from last night’s Water Celebration event held at the Beacon Theater in Pittsfield to educate on environmental justice issues from PCBs to RF/EMF. Amelia was given the challenge of writing a speech that tied the cell tower issue into the new Avatar movie and connected it to environmental issues regarding technology and our oceans.

Thank you to our Massachusetts Boards of Health and local Pittsfield and Lenox health departments for inspiring this talk. Thank you for not turning a blind eye. Thank you for all you do in taking action in protecting us from environmental toxins and emissions and fighting for us to be safe in our homes.“

And thank you to everyone who is reading about this, sharing, and paying attention to this issue.

Amelia: “As wonderful as technology is- it has unintended effects that we can no longer ignore.”

“My Name is Amelia, I am 14 years old and l am honored to be speaking here tonight.

Movie director James Cameron said that “Avatar asks us to see that everything is connected, all beings to each other, and us to the Earth.”

As the Na’vi, say- “I see you.”

I see you here tonight because you care. You are a protector. You have taken time out of your evening to learn and to most importantly to take action. I am here tonight because over 900 days ago, I was injured by an environmental toxin that I never knew could create so much harm to my family, my neighbors and my neighborhood. I share my story of being injured from radio frequency radiation from a cell tower to raise awareness and to prevent this from happening to others. Everything is connected. Cause and effect. All beings to each other and us to the Earth.

Our Massachusetts Board of Public Health tells us that “today we know more than ever that human health is tied to the health of the environment. They also tell us that “we ignore the threats to clean air and water at our peril.”

But why? Perhaps we ignore these threats because, unlike what Director James Cameron asks, we don’t see everything as connected. We don’t see environmental toxins. We don’t see radiofrequency radiation at all. But what we do see, if we don’t turn a blind eye to it, is the people suffering, sick and displaced from it. A cell tower is sited at the top of a residential neighborhood increases the ambient RF radiation by over 500,000% and 17 plus Shacktown neighbors get sick.

As wonderful as technology is- it has unintended effects that we can no longer ignore as it now extends to the land, the skies and the sea, and threatens the balance of nature.

An “all things wirelessly connected world” requires huge amounts of RF emitting antennas everywhere, which mean people who suffer health effects are being bombarded by involuntary exposure. With tower placement on or near our homes, we are running out of places to live and there will be no place for us to go if we cannot create setbacks and maintain our homes as places where we are protected.  In terms of our earth and oceans, Rare Earth Minerals that corporations mine are from deep within the earth and in the ocean floor are in high demand for their use in electronics. Due to corporate marketing and planned obsolesce- items we used to buy once every 20 to 30 years like a phone, or a TV- the demand for chip enabled smart phones, smart TVs, smart cars has resulted in the need for more electronic components. This has triggered an aggressive push to mine our land and seas, affecting the biodiversity in ways scientists say can destroy ecosystems and decimate entire species of both land and marine animals.

With over 50 million tons of electronic waste produced every year globally, and less than 20% of e-waste being recycled, metals from e-waste are now some of the leading contaminates of our air, soil and water.

We can make a difference by not buying and upgrading electronic products as often, and recognizing where the chip in them came from, and where they could go.

We can make a difference by using environmentally friendly and efficient hardwired connections.

We can realize “smart” is not always what is smartest for our planet.

The environmental impact of wireless, the one quintillion increase in ambient RF radiation over the last twenty years has been called one of the biggest threat to our health and environment- yet accountability of harm to people, pollinators and the planet has failed to be factored in.

As Safe Tech International says, “it is time to pivot from an ocean of technology to an ocean of consciousness focused on embracing our interdependence on one another and to all living beings in this intricate and awe filled sacred web of life.”

Let us all stand connected. Let us shine a light in the darkness and become protectors of the water, our planet, and of each other. Thank you” – Amelia Gilardi

Water-Related Issues

As MA4SafeTechnology summarized, water-related environmental issues from wireless technology include cell tower placement near or on water towers, e-waste, ocean drilling for rare earth minerals, and sonar affecting whales and other sea animals.

Learn more: Smart Ocean: Impacts of technology on marine life – Safe Tech International

Don’t Wait on the FCC – Act Locally

As many communities are recognizing, the FCC is not in the business of protecting human health and the environment, and as MA4SafeTechnology’s Cece Doucette notes, the cavalry isn’t coming to save us. It’s up to all of us, in our own communities.

In response to citizen concern, in Pittsfield the Board of Health took action.

Nearly a year ago, “on February 2, 2022, the Pittsfield, MA Board of Health unanimously voted to issue a cease and desist order to Verizon to shut down its tower located at 877 South Street. Families living in the neighborhood near the tower reported wireless radiation-related health issues soon after the tower became operational in 2020 and since then, have been working tirelessly to turn the transmissions off. This action is the first known cease and desist by a Board of Health in the United States.”

Pittsfield, MA Board of Health Unanimously Votes To Issue Cease and Desist For Verizon Cell Tower   – Environmental Health Trust (ehtrust.org)

Pittsfield Massachusetts Cell Tower Community Link 


The Pittsfield debacle continues.

As Amelia noted, quoting the MA Board of Health, “Today we know more than ever that human health is tied to the health of the environment. They also tell us that “we ignore the threats to clean air and water at our peril.”

Our actions need to include empowering local communities to protect their own, instead of federal regulatory gaps that protect industries causing harm. Listening to the youngest voices and to those most vulnerable is a good place to start. There is increasingly ‘no safe place.’

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