5G on Earth


As digitalization spirals out of control in an ever-expanding web of technology gone rogue, perhaps it’s time to consider whether the harms outweigh the hoped for and hyped about benefits.

Will millions of wireless antennas on earth, tens of thousands of satellites filling our skies, an ocean teeming with technology, the internet of things, internet of underwater things, internet of bodies, internet of Dental Things, internet of animals, Metaverse, smart dust, and billions of sensors, cameras and internet-connected things squeezing from our world every “byte” of data imaginable, provide overall benefit or harm to our infinitely fine-tuned web of life?

Below is a brief overview of why people around the world are sounding the alarm about 5G and calling for safer wired technology.

NB: Please see Microwaving Our Planet for a more in-depth discussion of satellites and Smart Ocean: Impacts of technology on marine life for more on Oceans.

5G is a massive biological experiment inflicted on the public without informed consent, with no prior safety testing, and with credible scientific evidence indicating this technology will prove harmful to health and potentially fatal to some.

Once 4G/5G antennas are densely installed in communities around the globe and interacting with tens of thousands of satellites polluting our skies, no one will be able to escape continuous, involuntary exposure to non-ionizing radiation. The unborn child, young children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses, microwave sickness, or compromised immune systems will be particularly vulnerable.

The 2015 International EMF Scientist Appeal. signed by more than 240 scientists with published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of wireless radiation states:

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

Our children depend on us and on government leaders around the globe to protect health and safety and to place these above all else.

Resources on health:
Clear Evidence of the Risks to Children from Non-Ionizing Radio Frequency Radiation
We Have No Reason To Believe 5G Is Safe
Physicians for Safe Technology
EH Trust Science
Scientific Studies: Biological effects of RF radiation
LEGAL OPINION on whether it would be in contravention of human rights and environmental law to establish the 5G-system in Denmark

Many animals and plants depend on Earth’s magnetic field for navigation, breeding, food, migration and indeed survival. Recently reported research shows current levels of artificial radiation are already interfering with these biological processes.

“Biologists have discovered that wireless electromagnetic radiation disturbs internal magneto-receptors used for navigation, as well as disrupting other complex cellular and biologic processes in mammals, birds, fish, insects, trees, plants, seeds and bacteria with profound impacts on the natural environment” Cindy Russell, Physicians For Safe Technology.

Radiation has also been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder. The shorter millimeter wave frequencies that will be used for 5G will be yet more perilous than 2G, 3G, and 4G, as insects are millimeter-sized creatures and will selectively absorb and amplify these frequencies.

We interfere with nature at our own peril.

Resources on Wildlife
Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 1. Rising ambient EMF levels in the environmentAnthropogenic radiofrequency
electromagnetic fields as an emerging threat to wildlife orientation. Part 2 | Part 3.
Environment and Wildlife Effects
Electromagnetic radiation as an emerging driver factor for the decline of insects
Published Research on the Adverse Effect of Wireless Technology and Electromagnetic Radiation on Bees
Electromagnetic Pollution Risks to Bees
Letter from Dr. Devra Davis re Telecommunications Infrastructure Plan at Grand Teton National Park
Science: Plant and Animal Electromagnetic Sensitivity
Electromagnetic Fields, Tree & Plant Growth
Review – Biological effects of electromagnetic fields on insects Biological effects of electromagnetic fields on insects
A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF)
Review: Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants
5G-The Digital Killing Fields-EMF/EMR

Enabled by millions of new 4G/5G antennas, the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Cities, and Smart Regions will generate an extraordinary amount of data. As Surveillance Capitalism expert Sue Halpern explains,

“5G will catalogue exactly where someone has come from, where they are going, and what they are doing.” Sue Halpern | The New Yorker. The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network.

Our data will be collected, mined, analyzed, and stored indefinitely in data centers. It will be sold and used for targeted marketing (aka surveillance capitalism), surveillance, law enforcement, research, smart cities systems, and more as the IoT evolves. In fact, a whole interconnected system is being built as data from one application provides fodder for another.

Data of course will also be used by hackers for their purposes as wireless systems are far more easily hacked than wired connections.

Our data is extraordinarily valuable and can be used for research, profit, surveillance, and control. Data is one of the main driving forces behind 5G and an all-things-connected world.

Resources for Privacy
Shoshana Zuboff on Surveillance Capitalism (VPRO documentary)
The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network
How much info is Google getting from your phone? [VIDEO]
Smile, Your City Is Watching You
Security and Privacy in the World-Sized Web
A New Satellite Can Peer Inside Some Buildings, Day or Night But don’t worry — the company says it can’t see inside your home
O.K., Google: How Much Money Have I Made for You Today…
Report: Without safeguards, Internet and IoT may create surveillance states in near future

Armed with an astronomical amount of data generated from the 5G-enabled Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Cities, and Smart Regions, industry claims we will be better equipped to save energy. But what they fail to include in their analyses is the mega energy footprint of all these internet-connected things humming and buzzing 24/7. It is not at all clear that the IoT will ever succeed in offsetting its own fast growing and unbounded energy footprint.

Not considered are:

  1. The energy consumed by all the constantly-communicating “things” machines, applications, sensors, surveillance cameras, etc.
  2. The astronomical amount of energy needed to manufacture all these IoT things, devices and accompanying infrastructure (embodied energy).
  3. The CO2 released into the atmosphere from the energy used to power the proliferating wireless sources. Most of this energy is generated from fossil fuels.
  4. The energy required to power enormously energy consumptive data centers.
  5. The excess energy needed to move data wirelessly through the air rather than more efficiently and effectively through fiber or cable.
  6. The energy required for global travel to assemble devices (c.500,000 miles for one iPhone)

An all-things-connected world is not the answer to saving energy.

Resources on Energy
Letters about nature and technology
An avalanche of green reports won’t cool the climate
Who can trust industry claims about 5G’s sustainability?

How green is 5G?With data centres set to have a bigger carbon footprint than the whole aviation industry, smart technology’s benefits need urgent re-examination.
Radiation Analysis in a Gradual 5G Network Deployment Strategy
French study finds 5G increases risk to climate. Deployment of the new mobile internet technology is likely to cause a ‘significant increase’ in greenhouse gas emissions, an independent climate council has foundWhat Will 5G Mean for the Environment?
Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations
Energy Consumption in Wired and Wireless Access Networks
5G base stations use a lot more energy than 4G base stations: MTN
Turn Off That Camera During Virtual Meetings Environmental Study Says
Proposing Cradle-to-Grave Evaluations for ALL New Vehicles
Your iPhone’s 500,000-Mile Journey to Your Pocket

Research shows technology has profound psycho-social effects. Suicide, loneliness, and depression are reaching epidemic proportions. Professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University says “Young people are on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades.”

Tech-addiction is on the rise. Gaming Disorder is now included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases. Teenagers are showing signs of addiction from watching screens nine hours per day, while being exposed to non-ionizing radiation from Wi-Fi and devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that doctors prescribe “creative unplugged play-time” for children. The need for such a recommendation is a sad commentary on the current state of affairs.

Our kids need more time with one another and in nature, and less with technology and screens. 5G will worsen the problem of dependence on, and addiction to technology.

We have allowed industry to define who we are, what we do, and where we are headed as a species. We and our children deserve better. We don’t need more internet-connectivity, we need more connection.

Resources on Brains and Humanity
Tech Overuse & Addiction – “Books and Other Resources”
Eliminating the Human
I asked my students to turn in their cell phones and write about living without them. Here’s what they had to say.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), household items such as washing machines, mattresses, tea kettles, plant-waterers etc. join the ranks of e-waste. Will recycling be enough, and will Earth be able to “digest” this fast-growing volume of e-waste?

In a Business World article, Nurit Kanti explains: “With lack of proper barriers to prevent this leakage [of toxic substances], and the high concentration of these toxic substances, the impact of the e-waste on the ecosystem is extremely long-lasting, irreversible and dangerous to the sustainability of everyone around that eco-system.”

E-waste from discarded products is only part of the problem. A far more significant contributor to e-waste is the release of toxins from mining and manufacturing electronics. In an article in The Conversation, author Josh Lepawsky explains, “No amount of post-consumer recycling can recoup the waste generated before consumers purchase their devices.”

A Swedish study by Avfall Sverige explained that the “invisible waste” from a smartphone and laptop is about 86 and 1,200 kilograms respectively, compared to 1 kilogram of beef and a pair of cotton trousers, which generate 4 and 25 kilograms respectively.

Resources on E-waste
Letters about Technology and NatureThe invisible waste behind our laptops and smartphones
Almost everything you know about e-waste is wrong
Our Tech Addiction Is Creating a ‘Toxic Soup’
What Will 5G Mean for the Environment?
Defining “carbon neutrality” before enacting new policies
The dirty side of the digital age: know where your old PC will end up

“They’re digging in trenches and laboring in lakes, hunting for treasure in a playground from Hell. Hard enough for an adult man. Unthinkable for a child.” CBS News finds children mining cobalt for batteries in the Congo.

The production of our electronic technologies has fueled war, murder, rape, and child labor in the Congo. According to World Without Genocide at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, approximately 6 million people have died as a result conflicts fueled by the pursuit of rare earth minerals needed for our electronics.

Children and women also suffer. Unicef estimated that in 2016, there were about 40,000 children working in mines across the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped and sold back to villages for ransom. Casualties of a war financed primarily by the electronics industry.

5G and the Internet of Things will likely bring more hardship, child labor, and deaths as the industry driven push for an all-things-connected world consumes and ravages us and Earth.

Resources on Conflict Minerals
As incremental efforts to end child labour by 2025 persist, Congo’s child miners – exhausted and exploited – ask the world to “pray for us”
Open letter to anyone who uses a smartphone, drives an electric car, or flies on a plane
CBS News finds children mining cobalt for batteries in the Congo
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tesla and Dell sued over child-mined cobalt from Africa
Special report : Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children

The World Global Research Report ranked cyber security as the third greatest global risk in 2018 topped only by natural disasters and extreme weather events. With the arrival of the IoT and billions of new internet-connected machines, appliances, sensors, things, robots, devices, etc. – all enabled and supported by 5G – cyber-attacks have become virtually inevitable. Furthermore, a wireless system is far more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than a wired system.

Cyber security expert, Bruce Schneier states:
“With the advent of the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems in general, we’ve given the Internet hands and feet: the ability to directly affect the physical world. What used to be attacks against data and information have become attacks against flesh, steel, and concrete.”

“Give the Internet hands and feet, and it will have the ability to punch and kick.

Resources on Cyber Attacks
Cyberattacks ranked THIRD greatest global risk in 2018
Report: Without safeguards, Internet and IoT may create surveillance states in near future
Hacking Germany computers, cyberattacks and the future | DW Documentary [VIDEO]
Cybercrime to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021 reveals Cybersecurity Ventures 2017 Report [VIDEO]

Cell towers fail to hold up under disaster conditions. They failed in the fires in California as well as in the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Texas.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “Wireless networks along the Texas coast suffered outages as a result of Hurricane Harvey, federal regulators said, leaving customers in some counties with limited or no cellphone service.”

Wired technologies such as copper, coaxial and fiber are vastly more resilient than cell towers.

Resources on Resilience
Presently, Over 86% of Cell Sites in Puerto Rico Are Still Not Operating in Aftermath of Hurricane Maria
Cell Networks Suffer Outages in Harvey’s Wake Customers have limited or no cellphone service; three Texas counties are hardest hit

Telecoms admit they do not know if their wireless technology is safe. They warn shareholders that revenues could be negatively impacted by health claims. Neither will insurance companies insure telecoms against liability for exposure-related health claims.

Who will be held liable in the event of harm from a wireless “small cell” facility? Who will assume financial responsibility for future injury, fire, loss of health, property devaluation etc. due to close proximity of cell antennas to homes, workplaces, and schools?

Resources on Liability
Environmental Health Trust on Liability
Cell Phones Wireless Companies Warn Shareholders About Future Financial Risks From Electromagnetic Radiation

There Is a Safer Alternative

Thankfully, there is a safer, more reliable, tried and true solution that we have had for well over 20 years -fiber/wired technology. If we used wired connections for the vast majority of internet and telecommunications needs, reserving wireless for an ancillary service — we could enjoy the benefits of technology while minimizing the harms.

Wired technologies such as fiber or coaxial cable are faster, more reliable, resilient, energy-efficient, and more easily defended from cyber attacks. Above all, wired technologies are significantly less hazardous to our health and would better ensure the survival of other life forms with whom we share this planet.

Resources on Wired Technology
Re-Inventing Wires:The Future of Landlines and Networks 
Connected Communities
The drive to widen the digital divide
Wired vs Wireless Network