An Electronic Silent Spring
April, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer
I end with good news.
Children & Schools
The Environmental Health Trust has compiled a spectacular, international list of schools, unions and PTAs that have taken steps to ensure healthier school environments. http://ehtrust.org/policy/schools-unions-and-pta-actions
PBS’ Education Week reported on problems with students’ privacy and security when education is digitalized. Hundreds of childrens’ Social Security Number have been stolen. School-issued computers can collect info about a child’s food preferences, friends’ names, grades, discipline records and more. Corporations can use this info to create “data-mined profiles.” There’s very little, if any, regulation of the data collected by school-issued computers. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/why-digital-education-could-be-a-double-edged-sword/
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, explains that Pearson (a multi-national corporation that writes software for school curricula and testing) “is becoming toxic because it promotes bad policy that puts profit over what’s good for students.” She urges parents and teachers to pressure Pearson to change course. http://www.texasaft.org/tell-pearson-its-time-to-change-course-and-end-its-ruinous-commitment-to-high-stakes-testing/
“10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12” by occupational therapist Cris Rowan has received more than two million hits. Essentially, Rowan suggests balancing tech time with time spent outdoors, cooking, talking person-to-person, etc.–and thus, tech time is reduced. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html. See more about Balanced Tech Management at www.zonein.ca
Preserve Proven Landlines
Californians now push back from aggressive lobbying to eliminate copper legacy landlines. Legislation to this effect may already have passed in 20 states. California Democrat Evan Low recently introduced AB2395, “Telecommunications: Replacement of Public Switched Telephone Network.” AB2395 has passed one committee in the California House. It needs to pass another committee, then move to the California Senate before it’s voted on.
Three out of five households still have a legacy copper landline.
“Replacement phones” include Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIPs) such as Magic Jack, U-Verse and Skype (which require a computer with Internet access)–or a router/modem that provides phone, Internet and cable access–or a cell phone.
What’s the problem? During a power outage, cell-phone and VoIP-dependent people can’t reach 911.
Anyone who wants a secure (less hackable) transmission of data via a fax–i.e. a physician, patient, banker, realtor, accountant, retailer, credit-card or Social Security Number user–would want landlines maintained.
Anyone who wants less exposure to electromagnetic radiation would want landlines maintained. Many people cannot afford and/or tolerate a computer. Router/modems apparently generate tremendous dirty power. Replacing the these “black boxes'” switch-mode power supplies with analog power supplies is tricky, even for experienced engineers; and there’s no universal recipe for doing so. Pregnant women, children, people with medical implants and EHS should not use cell phones.
So why would telecom corporations lobby to eliminate copper legacy landlines? Copper legacy landlines are heavily regulated (i.e. taxed). Voice Over Internet Protocols are much less regulated. They provide telecom corporations with much more profitability.
After a major power outage in March, 2016, the Anchorage Police Chief advised Alaskans, “Don’t cut the cord.” http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/att-outage-left-cell-phonedependent-alaskans-unable-to-call-911/38685790
In 2013, B. Blake Levitt wrote a telling assessment about “kissing landlines goodbye” in Connecticut. http://emfrefugee.blogspot.com/2013/06/kiss-your-landline-goodbye.html
60 Minutes recently showed how strangers can hack the phone in your pocket: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-overtime-how-strangers-can-hack-the-phone-in-your-pocket
Meanwhile, a new law will require drivers involved in an accident to give their phone to officers for analysis of texting-while driving. http://www.electronicproducts.com/Mobile/Devices/Law_will_require_drivers_involved_in_an_accident_to_hand_over_phone_to_officers_for_analysis_of_texting_while_driving.aspx
We all resist changing our lifestyles and reducing our energy use.
Steven Gorelick’s review of “This Changes Everything,” Avi Lewis’s documentary based on his wife, Naomi Klein’s book of the same title, questions environmentalists’ enthusiasm for renewables like solar and wind power. http://www.localfutures.org/changing-everything
For an introduction to installing solar power more safely: http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/safer-solar-power
For reports about how electronics and the Internet contribute to climate change: http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/primers/energy-cell-phones-wi-fi-internet/
Insurance companies may soon not pay for fire damage caused by a malfunctioning “smart” meter. http://www.examiner.com/article/changes-are-coming-to-your-insurance-policy
In Ohio, American Electric Power must prove that “smart” meters save customers’ money before it charges to opt out. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2016/04/27/aep-must-prove-smart-meters-save-customers-money-before-charging-to-opt-out.html
New Mexico’s largest electric utility, PNM, has laid out its plans to install smart meters.
For more info about proposed “smart” meters in NM, including a showing of Josh del Sol’s “Take Back Your Power” in Santa Fe, May 15: http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/pnm/
Good News: Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies has presented a bill, “Minimum Prevention and Control of Electromagnetic Pollution.” It aims to provide a regulatory framework “to radio infrastructure with radiant systems, antennas and all installations capable of generating electromagnetic radiation” in order to “ensure the protection of public health” considering “both thermal effects (and) biological.” The bill would prohibit infrastructure that radiates or generates electromagnetic fields within and less than 100 meters of green spaces, health, educational, sporting and cultural institutions with public access. http://buildingbiologyblog.com/2016/04/06/argentina-seeks-a-national-law-against-electromagnetic-pollution/
Want to read An Electronic Silent Spring? Despite amazon.com claims, the book is in print. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938685083/?tag=%20anelesilspr-20
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.
Please contribute to keep this newsletter going! http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/donate/
To healthier ecosystems and communities,