What could go wrong: 50,000 low-altitude 5G satellites


Published: 1/23/2020 9:33:07 AM

This Saturday, Jan. 25 there will be more than 205 events in 195 cities and 32 countries protesting the deployment of 5G wireless technology on earth and from space. You might be wondering why you haven’t heard about the issue if there is such widespread opposition. If you are a regular reader of the Recorder, you might have seen one of Mary Shaffer’s My Turn pieces on the subject. Or perhaps you came to Hilltown Health’s screening of “Generation Zapped,” a documentary about the impacts of wireless radiation on children, at the library. But balanced coverage of the health, environmental and climate impacts of the 5G rollout by corporate media outlets is, as you might imagine, close to non-existent.

5G is being hailed as the successor to 4G, which enabled video streaming on smartphones. 5G enables faster download speeds, in case you felt like you needed to download an entire movie very quickly as opposed to streaming it. But it is, according to former Federal Communication Commission Chair Tom Wheeler, “very infrastructure intensive” and “will touch all corners of this country.” 5G will require a “small cell” antenna hanging from lightposts about every two blocks. If the unlucky lightpost happens to be 20 feet from your child’s bedroom window, you might wonder – is that safe? And if not, do I have anything to say about the placement of that antenna?

If you read the National Toxicology Program’s 10-year, $25 million rat study on cell phone radiation and cancer (they found “clear evidence” that it caused cancer) you might conclude, no, that doesn’t sound safe. There are more than 25,000 studies dating back to the Navy’s work in the 1970’s that link EMF impacts to increased rates of miscarriage, attention/behavior issues, sleep disturbance, thyroid cancer, depression/anxiety, and pollinator decline. If you request the antenna go “somewhere else,” or at least respect the 500-foot requirement that many towns have set for cell towers from residences, well . . . the FCC, a “federal agency” run by Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has been busy trying to strip local zoning rights. Hilltown Health worked with Shelburne’s Planning Board on a telecom bylaw update a couple of years ago which increased the minimum setback for cellular infrastructure from 500 to 1500 feet, the largest in Massachusetts. It turns out the highest spike in health impacts occurs in the first 1500 feet. A sample 5G bylaw can be found at 5Gcrisis.com and Hilltown Health is available to make a presentation to town officials.

But what about that “space” part . . . ? Well, in case you felt like a small cell in close proximity to your home (cell towers have been shown to bring property value down 15-20 percent – yo realtors!) wasn’t quite enough to connect your baby’s new wireless diapers that text when wet, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has received FCC approval to launch 12,000 low-altitude satellites beaming 5G over every inch of the planet. Other companies with satellite plans include Amazon, Facebook and OneWeb. Once everyone has all their satellites up there, the total will be about 50,000, each with a life expectancy of about five years.

Climate scientists expect all the rocket launches needed to create what irate astronomers have described as a “dystopian night sky” to significantly accelerate climate change and deplete the ozone layer. Our global digital system currently accounts for 4% of total greenhouse emissions and digital energy consumption is rising 9% annually according to Jean-Marc Jancovici, member of the French High Climate Council.

How will 50,000 5G low orbit satellites impact the planet? This is a biological experiment, and we are involuntary participants being involuntarily exposed. Join Hilltown Health on the Common and make your voice heard Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10-11 a.m., and for a 5G teach-in plus a measure your device session, with snacks, upstairs at Green Fields Market, 144 Main St. from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can sign the international appeal being delivered to governments around the globe at 5Gspaceappeal.org and sign-up for updates at hilltownhealth.org

Piti Theatre’s Jonathan Mirin’s latest solo show is “Canary in the Gold Mine or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 5G.” He is a co-founder of Hilltown Health.


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