“Nature-lovers are being hoodwinked by the notion that smart tech and Internet of Things are the next green revolution,” writes NO5GNI for Digital Survivor.
When it comes to planet-saving potential and their claims for water and fuel efficiency to farming and agriculture, and a cure for climate change, 5G profiteers are conveniently overlooking some fairly fundamental points.
Cutting down the trees
The past few years have seen an alarming increase in extreme urban lumberjacking.
While strategies, technical bods and broadband providers openly admit that trees interfere with 5G signal (the preferred term for a tree in 5G-speak is “obstruction”), nobody is prepared to admit that the tree-felling is anything to do with 5G.
It is rather brazen even to attempt suggesting that any technology that involves chopping down perfectly healthy mature trees in areas which need them most is “green”.
What about the air cleansing, the flood prevention, and the creatures who call it home?
This seems to be mostly an urban problem, but if trees are such a problem for 5G, and the plan is to have 5G everywhere, what proportion of our trees will survive in the long term?
Trillions of new gadgets
An Internet of Things (IoT) will require everyone to get rid of their inanimate, olden-days, household objects and buy “smart” replacements.
Obviously you’re not going to chuck out your phone, cooker, fridge, kettle, toaster, washing machine, bin, dishwasher, TV and toaster all in one go. But for many people they will suddenly start to look a bit old, no longer good enough, not worth fixing when they break.
The IoT will turn previously once-or-twice in a lifetime items into gadgets repeatedly in need of upgrades; all destined from moment of purchase for rapid descent into obsolescence so as to provide more fodder for an already insatiable consumer economy.
And where will the raw materials for all this stuff come from? Where is all that waste going to go?
Even the smartest bin in the world will never be capable of recycling the amount of rubbish 5G is about to produce.
Trillions of new transmitters
We are talking countless hundreds of thousands of new masts, ranging from massive 25m high towers for rural coverage to medium-sized small cells on lampposts, on buildings and under man-hole covers.
Add too the millions of tiny micro-transmitters about to be embedded in common domestic objects.
These transmitters contain rare and precious metals including gold, copper, silver and lithium – all of which have to be mined.
Mining is the second most polluting industry in the world, with the product manufacturing sector being another top-10 culprit.
Making a mockery of efficiency
“Our new appliances will be better for the environment,” we are told, because they will be “more efficient”.
Combined with having a nifty smart meter installed, so we are more efficient in our use of our next generation of gadgets, it’s beginning to sound like the only responsible thing to do!
Just don’t think about the sheer quantities of fuel, water and raw materials required to manufacture all these gadgets and power those masts and servers supporting them!
It’s easy to see how this will provide a very efficient way of making money, and an equally efficient way of gathering vast amounts of information about things that are frankly none of anybody’s business.
But it does seem like a pretty useless way of helping the planet.
Electromagnetic radiation has been proven to disrupt the migration and orientation of birds, insects and marine animals.
Even at existing levels of pollution, birds are losing their way on long-established migration routes.
A world blanketed by 5G coverage could permanently destroy the delicate and finely tuned internal navigation systems of countless species across air, land and sea, with knock-on effects of unfathomable magnitude.
Meddling with the unknown
An article in the Lancet notes that:
“The potential effects of these anthropogenic electromagnetic fields on natural electromagnetic fields, such as the Schumann Resonance that controls the weather and climate, have not been properly studied. Similarly, we do not adequately understand the effects of anthropogenic radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation on other natural and man-made atmospheric components or the ionosphere.”
Now, if 5G is going to be rolled out as an apparent cure for climate change, it seems a rather basic first step to check what type of effect it might have on the world’s weather and climate patterns.
Farming in a biological desert
Smart agriculture will turn farmers into digital data monitors.
Massive open-air factories using automatic irrigation systems, and drones to check on livestock, probably won’t need any pollinators as self-fertilising genetically modified crops become our staple diet in this new world.
That’s just as well because 5G saturation will have killed off all the insects, along with those cute and fluffy things we like to think of as being our native wildlife. It defeats the purpose of caring at all about the environment.
To be able to say “ah but at least it wasn’t the fossil fuels that did it” will be cold comfort on a hot, dead planet .
And as a glyphosate ban is at last on the horizon, what will it matter to bees if we poison or microwave them?
Furthermore, is there any point in clearing our oceans of plastic if they are emptied of everything else as well?
So far there has been a perplexing reluctance among environmental groups to get to grips 5G. But there are signs that it is moving in the right direction.
The California Branch of the US heavyweight environmental organisation The Sierra Club recently passed a resolution opposing 5G, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is openly (if not yet officially) dubious about 5G.
Even so, we need to do better than “unofficially dubious”, and we need to do it on this side of the Atlantic as well.
This is no niche interest. Everyone who cares about nature – from bees to trees, bluebottles to blue whales – must stand up.
“NO 5G!” may be the elephant in the room when it comes to environmental groups, but frankly, elephants are the least of our worries when it comes to 5G.