Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Electronic Silent Spring - January, 2016Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring - January, 2016Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring  
January, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer

Check out this coffee shop's sign (left). 

Dr. Al Manville, retired biologist, US Fish and Wildlife, consultant with Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Solutions, has written a comprehensive paper, "Impacts to Birds and Bats Due to Collisions and Electrocutions from Some Tall Structures in the United States: Wires, Towers, Turbines, and Solar Arrays--State of the Art in Addressing the Problems."The paper is included in Problematic Wildlife, edited by F.M. Angelici, published by Springer Intern'l, 2016. Here's a brief excerpt: "Tall structures such as communication towers, power transmission lines, commercial wind turbines, solar power towers and buildings extend into the airspace, in some cases to great heights...some digital television communication towers...can have deleterious direct effects and impacts to flying wildlife, not to mention indirect effects caused by air and facility disturbance from infra-sound noise and lighting, barriers, and fragmented habitats. The overall goal for developers of tall structures and the agencies that regulate them should be to do no harm to protected wildlife species and minimize impacts to their habitats such as the U.S. Interior Department's 'smart from the start' initiative (2011)."
          Dr. Manville's paper is posted on for non-commercial use only, with a focus on professional/scientific development.

Cell tower plans die
1) near an Oregon school: Even after signing a contract with the Hazleton Area School Board, Verizon withdrew its request to build a cell tower 440 feet from an elementary/middle school because "Verizon does not want to make enemies."
2) in Lafayett, CO: Citizens claimed that approving a cell tower that would lead to $750,000 in rental income for the city would betray them.
          Perhaps the best recourse for municipalities that do not want to protest cell towers one-by-one is to pass ordinances (ASAP) that protect rights to determine cell tower placement and zoning. Find sample zoning regs and more in Blake Levitt's book, Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? Proceedings of the Cell Towers Forum, State of the Science, State of the Law (SafeGoods/New Century edition, 2001; iUniverse ed., 2007). As Levitt explains, a tower can be placed in a residential zone that has restrictions for commercial use "unless the town's regulations expressly forbid it."
          US Fish & Wildlife Service's guidelines designed to protect migratory and endangered bird species may also help prevent installation of cell towers.

Questioning the intelligence of "smart" meters...and our energy use 
1) In British Columbia, Hydro One admits that rural "smart" meters do not work, and decides to pull out 36,000 of them. Also, BC Hydro announces plans to remove 88,000 meters suspected of failure.
2) The NY Times reports on the failures of "smart" thermostats, and the benefits of mechanical ones.
3) Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court decided on January 25, 2016 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to remove barriers to "demand response" programs (including "smart" meters), which compensate consumers for reducing their power use at certain times to help balance supply and demand on the power grid. Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council supported FERC's rule, because "demand response saves Americans hundreds of billions of dollars each year, eases the burden on the power grid, reduces climate change pollution and helps bring more clean energy online."
          Call this a battle between energy efficiency (so we can keep using electronics?) and health. Call it a divide betwen the uninformed (about the biological effects of transmitters like wireless utility meters) and the informed (who increasingly see going off-grid as their only option).
          Meanwhile, blogger John Michael Greer ( writes that "The modern electrical power grid is a creation of the age of fossil fuels. It can't be maintained in the absence of vast amounts of cheap, abundant, highly concentrated energy--which you can't get from solar, wind, or any other renewable source except hydro. Nor can you get enough from hydro to power a modern society, since there aren't enough places for dams on the planet. We're all going to have to use a lot less electricity, and a lot less of the products of electricity, than we're used to."
          Greer also recommends that solar water heaters could replace "something like 10% of all energy use in the U.S."
          And, he says, "At the moment, people are obssessed with their electronic toys. We've got a ways to go before times get harsh enough that they figure out that those aren't as important as they think."  

Before buying new technology, school districts might consider: 
European educators report that school tech has raised "too many false hopes," and that the lack of computers may be a blessing, since intense computer use in class is linked "to significantly poorer student performance."Forbes Magazine also now warns of Wi-Fi's health risks.
          Further, besides collecting billions of dollars for hardware and software when they sell new tech to school districts, corporations like Apple and Pearson collect "data-mined profiles" of every child for lifelong marketing tools.
          Imagine if schools had millions of dollars to increase teachers' salaries and educational development; hire art, music, dance and theater artist/teachers; hire contractors, farmers and chefs to help students build greenhouses and chicken coops and grow and cook their cafeteria's food.

GUARDS (Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space, and other groups have launched a campaign to stop global Wi-Fi. For more info, visit To sign their campaign and to get onto their list regarding announcements, write

WILA Bonn, the German consumer protective organization, finds that none of the RF meters under ₤500 that it tested met manufacturers' performance specifications or advertising claims. The report's author cautions maintaining "a healthy skepticism toward offers that promies an amazing performance at extremely favorable prices" and remembering "that professional testing equipment never combines RF and ELF measurement probes in one single meter or fits an RF antenna into the meter casing." 
          EMFields Solutions, which manufacturers Acoustimeters, "disagrees" with WILA's conclusionsand asserted that Acoustimeters are "affordable, easy to use, and sufficiently accurate to enable (the general public) to make informed choices about what they want to expose themselves to in their living and working environments."

Want to read An Electronic Silent Spring?  Despite claims, the book is in print.
          If you'd like ten or more copies, I can pass on the discount that my publisher extends to me. Depending on your locale, this translates to a 30 - 35% discount in the cover price ($18), including shipping. Please contact me directly to order a box of books: katie  @  katiesinger.  com 

Thanks to everyone who's using electronics as safely as possible, reducing electronics usage and EMR-emmissions.
          If you find this newsletter helpful, please help keep it going.
          To healthier ecosystems and communities,
          Katie Singer

PO Box 6574
Santa Fe NM 87502

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