This film takes audiences on a cinematic journey around the world, from the depths of the Amazon rainforests to the Taiwanese Mountains, the Mongolian desert, the US Dust Bowl, the Norwegian Fjords and the Scottish coastlines, telling the story of our planet through shocking testimonials, poignant accounts from indigenous people most affected by our ever-changing planet, globally renowned figures and leading scientists. This powerful documentary sends a simple but impactful message by uncovering hard truths and addressing, on the big screen, the most pressing issue of our generation – ecological collapse.
Confronting and entertaining, this documentary allows audiences to question their everyday choices, industry leaders and governments. Featuring a wealth of world-renowned contributors, including Sir Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, it has a message of hope that will empower audiences.
Native-American nation’s land was turned into a nuclear test site. Now, they suffer from illnesses.
‘The most nuclear bombed nation on the planet’ is the unwanted accolade claimed by the Shoshone Native American tribe. This has had devastating effects for the community, and RT spoke with one campaigner fighting for justice.
“They are occupying our country, they are stealing our opportunities and we are expected to die because of that. We are still trying to grapple with and understand what happened to us, and find ways to stop it, correct it and prevent it happening in the future.”
Ian Zabarte’s voice is angry but does not falter as he describes the stark fate of his people, Native Americans who for decades have been – by any measure – subjected to the most unimaginable horrors, all perpetrated by their government in Washington.
Zabarte, 57, is the Principal Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation and he is spearheading a campaign to expose what he describes as the “ethnic cleansing” of his tribe.
Shoshone land stretches from Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in eastern California to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. But in 1951 the US started nuclear weapons testing on Western Shoshone territory, at the Nevada Proving Grounds (now known as the Nevada National Security Site). The Shoshone can now lay claim to be the most nuclear-bombed nation on the planet.
Over a period of just over 40 years, there were 928 tests conducted there – around 100 in the atmosphere and more than 800 underground – resulting in nuclear fallout of around 620 kilotons, according to a 2009 study. In comparison, there were 13 kilotons of fallout when Hiroshima was bombed in 1945.
This is obviously a massive health risk and Zabarte, who lives in Las Vegas but runs a healing center at Death Valley, is understandably angry. Although he’s engaging and friendly, a sense of rage regularly creeps into his voice as he becomes more animated about the injustices his people have endured. But he never lapses into self-pity; there’s always a steely aura of defiance.
The Shoshone signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863, which handed certain rights to the United States. But they did not give up their land. “We wouldn’t have signed a treaty that would end in our ultimate destruction,” Zabarte told RT.
According to the tribe, Washington’s testing programme has killed thousands of people, with many since developing a range of cancers and illnesses.
Zabarte’s grandfather’s skin fell off due to an autoimmune deficiency, and he died soon after from a heart attack. Other family members have had pacemakers fitted at very young ages, while his cousin’s twins died aged 11.
“My family have a high incidence of thyroid cancer, but we’re not following those individuals – we don’t have the capacity,” he explained.
“The United States doesn’t want to study our own adverse health consequences. [It] would be no different to Nazi Germany studying the health consequences of their testing on Jewish people. That is so far from right. We have to do it ourselves and we need help.”
The Shoshone have no medical equipment or computer databases to track their people. So deaths from suspicious conditions are generally not recorded. In addition, the Shoshone are, by tradition, proud people, so not all of them speak out about their health issues.
As Zabarte explained, “Even though it went underground, venting took place and we don’t know where that fallout went.”
That’s borne out by the Mighty Oak incident, a botched test that destroyed $32-million-worth of equipment in April 1986. It was weeks before Chernobyl and experts claim the US government vented the radiation under the cover that everyone would assume it was from the Soviet catastrophe.
“The Department of Energy doesn’t consider that an accident because they manually released the gas inside the underground chamber where the weapon detonated. It went around the world and beat the Chernobyl radiation back to the United States,” Zabarte claimed.
Of course, the US is not the only country to have conducted nuclear testing. The United Kingdom also used Western Shoshone land, in 24 tests that were joint operations with the US.France completed 210 nuclear tests in Algeria and the South Pacific from 1960 to 1996. And the Soviet Union used the Semipalatinsk site in Kazakhstan until 1989 to perform its testing.
But, even to this day, lots of secret activities continue on Shoshone land, as proven by JANET flights regularly flying from Las Vegas to the classified Area 51. (The call sign stands for Just Another Non-Existent Terminal).
There’s also the contentious issue of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, first planned in 1987 and later approved by the Obama administration, which the Shoshone have stalled. It’s intended to store high-level radioactive waste.
Zabarte has a US Department of Energy study for the project which he says refers to “cultural triage”defined as “a forced choice situation in which an ethnic group is faced with the decision to rank in importance equally valued cultural resources that could be affected by a proposed development project.”
It goes on to state that this triage could be “emotionally taxing for the Indian person.” The United Nationsbacked these claims in a 2006 report, and Zabarte believes they perfectly encapsulate the problems faced by his people.
“We have a deliberate act by the United States government to dismantle the living life ways of my people, my family, in relation to our property, our sacred land.
“The United States has developed a systematic process to ethnically cleanse us from that land, so that they take all the profits and give them to other Americans,” he said. “In order to prove genocide we need to consider, what is the intent? It is the culture of secrecy, that is the intent.”
A prime example of how the Shoshone’s life has been eradicated came in 1971 with the Wild Free-Roaming Horses Act. As Zabarte explained: “Politicians in Washington DC defined our Indian horses as wild and started coming after our ranchers, who have a guaranteed right as hunters or herdsmen under the treaty to have livestock.
There is no economy or sustainable lifestyle, and the nearest town is 80 miles away. “I have nothing on my reservation to go back to,” said Zabarte, who can trace his direct descendants to the Kawich region, which houses Area 51. “They stole my horses, they stole my livelihood. There are no jobs, there are no opportunities; the United States has stolen our economy, our hunting, our fishing… and made us trespassers in our own country.”
But the reservation only makes up a tiny part of the entire Shoshone land. The rest is used by the American government and population, sometimes unwittingly. People are buying houses and living on land that the Shoshone feel they should control – but all tax from economic activity goes to the US. The Shoshone have no claim over it.
“The United States cannot prove ownership to it but they come into our country and they provide tax money to the state of Nevada, and the state of Nevada takes that money and provides it to every other non-Shoshone unit of local government, and we get nothing. That is taxation without representation,”Zabarte said.
Despite the obvious sense of injustice, he feels an obligation to warn Americans who live in or go through the Shoshone nation of the danger it presents.
“My grandfather always said, ‘don’t kick up dust’ because of the radioactive fallout. I care for these people because of that treaty of peace and friendship, and have an obligation to provide aid and comfort to other Americans passing through. But I watch them kick up dust in their off-road vehicles and they are quite likely exposing themselves. There is plutonium in a lot of the roofs of their houses, too.”
The key for Zabarte is awareness. The more people know the history of the land and understand the issue, there greater the chance of meaningful action. That could involve providing medical surveillance and advising the next generation how to protect themselves.
Zabarte is also keen to build momentum so the Shoshone, including his own son, can have access to all of their land and create a functioning economy that fits with their traditions.
“We need to continue to make our people aware the next generation don’t have a safe place to live; we have these tiny reservations and they are colonies created by the United States. They exist only to the extent that the United States provides the funding. We don’t have ways to survive on our own land.”
He is a man on a mission and has sacrificed his life to shoulder this burden. “I have dignity and my family has dignity and that’s what I’m fighting for. These a**holes aren’t going to get away with it.”
The Japanese government is planning to release more than one million tons of contaminated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, angering fishermen, local media have reported.
Japan has debated what to do with the rapidly increasing store of radioactive wastewater for years, and now the decision to release it into the ocean could be confirmed by the end of the month.
Currently, Japan houses the water in more than 1,000 tanks, but with 170 additional tons of the radioactive by-product being produced every day, storage space is quickly running out.
It is estimated that all tanks will have reached maximum capacity by the summer of 2022 and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday that the decision was one they could “not keep delaying,” Kyodo News reported.
The water is used to cool the Fukushima nuclear reactor core, which went into meltdown after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the plant.
The government previously considered building more tanks to house the additional water, or attempting to evaporate the water into the atmosphere, but an advisory panel recommended releasing it into the ocean as the most efficient solution. However, the release process is not expected to begin until 2022 and is likely to take 30 years to complete.
The prospect of an ocean release has reignited concerns among local fishermen who fear it could destroy their industry.
“We are terrified that if even one fish is found to have exceeded the [radiation] safety standards after the treated water is released, people’s trust in us will plummet,” Kyodo News quoted a local fisherman as saying.
Hiroshi Kishi, who heads a confederation of Japanese fishing cooperatives told officials last week that the release could have a “catastrophic impact” on the industry.
Fishing was completely halted following the 2011 disaster, and despite a recent recovery, fishermen in the region continue to face international trade restrictions. South Korea, which still bans all fish imports from the region, has described the proposal as a “grave threat.”
The initial meltdown in 2011 forced the evacuation of 150,000 people from within 20km of the plant as well as from outside areas that experienced high levels of fallout. The clean-up process is expected to take many more years to complete.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world where facts don’t matter much anymore. For instance, the wildfires that have swept across the western United States over the past few weeks are being almost universally blamed on climate change, even though the facts tell otherwise.
The fires in California and Oregon are not due to climate change. They are due to arson and sheer stupidity on the part of many, including those who are responsible for the environmental stewardship that is supposed to prevent them in the first place.
According to the Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit, “the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party.” Chalk this one up to stupidity, not climate change.
Likewise, the Almeda Fire in Oregon, which has burned more than 600 homes, cannot be tied to climate change whatsoever because it was caused by arsonists. As Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said, “We have good reason to believe that there was a human element to it. We’re going to pursue it as a criminal investigation until we have reason to believe that it was otherwise.”
There are several more reports of arsonists instigating the blazes that are currently destroying hundreds of thousands of acres in the West.
Despite these facts, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), recently said, “Mother Earth is angry. She’s telling us, whether, she’s telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, that climate crisis is real and has an impact.”
Of course, Pelosi didn’t offer one iota of evidence to support her contention that climate change is somehow responsible for all this. And since when did Mother Earth begin speaking to the Speaker of the House?
Not to be outdone, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also laid blame for his state’s out-of-control wildfires on climate change. “I say this lovingly — not as an ideologue, but as someone who prides himself on being open to argument, interested in evidence — but I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers,” Newsom said. “It’s completely inconsistent, that point of view, with the reality on the ground, the facts as we are experiencing. You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes, your own experiences tell a different story.”
Conveniently, Newsom failed to mention that California has one of the poorest records of implementing commonsense environmental stewardship protocols, which no doubt has played a significant factor in the Golden State’s proclivity for wildfires over the past several years.
According to California’s state oversight agency, “During its review, the Commission found that California’s forests suffer from neglect and mismanagement, resulting in overcrowding that leaves them susceptible to disease, insects and wildfire.”
In other words, under decades of Democratic leadership, California has woefully underinvested in forest management efforts, which have left forests grossly overgrown and prone to wildfire.
Making matters worse, California’s insistence on becoming the renewable energy utopia of the United States has led the state’s primary energy utility, PG&E, to disregard properly maintaining existing energy infrastructure.
As the San Diego Union Tribune reports, “every dollar spent on additional costs of renewable energy results in a dollar not available to spend on culling vegetation, insulating power lines, placing lines underground and other measures.”
As if that were not enough, the article also notes, “a report prepared by the independent consulting firm Beacon Economics for the San Francisco-based think tank Next 10 estimated California wildfires last year produced about nine times more emissions than were reduced across the entire state’s economy between 2016 and 2017 — and wildfires contributed more than the commercial, residential or agriculture sectors did in 2017.”
Ironically, Newsom’s naïve attempt (and his predecessors) to make the Golden State the renewable energy mecca has actually led to more carbon emissions because the state’s abundant forests have been turned into a giant tinderbox.
Adding insult to injury, Newsom has pledged to double-down on his efforts to make California more reliant on renewable energy, regardless of the uptick in wildfires and rolling blackouts.
And the claim that wildfires are increasing is 100 percent false. According to the Congressional Research Service, the prevalence of wildfires has decreased over the past three decades. As the report notes, “Over the past 10 years, there were an average of 64,100 wildfires annually and an average of 6.8 million acres burned annually. In 2019, 50,477 wildfires burned 4.7 million acres nationwide, below the annual average for both statistics.”
John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things. They cannot be altered by our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions.”
Fact-shunners like Gov. Newsom and Rep. Pelosi ought to put their wishes and passions aside and deal with the reality that their state is being decimated by wildfires due to their incompetence and ignorance, not because of so-called climate change.
If you’re looking for a little distraction from the news of the pandemic — something a little gossipy, but with a point at the end about how change happens in the world — this essay may soak up a few minutes.
I’ll tell the story chronologically, starting a couple of weeks ago on the eve of the 50th Earth Day. I’d already recorded my part for the Earth Day Live webcast, interviewing the great indigenous activists Joye Braum and Tara Houska about their pipeline battles. And then the news arrived that Oxford University — the most prestigious educational institution on planet earth — had decided to divest from fossil fuels. It was one of the great victories in that grinding eight-year campaign, which has become by some measures the biggest anti-corporate fight in history, and I wrote a quick email to Naomi Klein, who helped me cook it up, so that we could gloat together just a bit. I was, it must be said, feeling pleased with myself.
Ah, but pride goeth before a fall. In the next couple of hours came a very different piece of news. People started writing to tell me that the filmmaker Michael Moore had just released a movie called Planet of the Humans on YouTube. That wasn’t entirely out of the blue — I’d been hearing rumors of the film and its attacks on me since the summer before, and I’d taken them seriously. Various colleagues and I had written to point out that they were wrong; Naomi had in fact taken Moore aside in an MSNBC greenroom and restated what she had already laid out to him in writing. But none of that had apparently worked; indeed, from what people were now writing to tell me, I was the main foil of the film. I put together a quick response, and I hoped that it would blow over.
But it didn’t. Perhaps because everyone’s at home with not much to do, lots of people watched it — millions by some counts. And I began to hear from them. Here’s an email that arrived first thing Earth Day morning: “Happy Dead Earth Day. Time’s up Bill. You have been outed for fraud. What a MASSIVE disappointment you are. Sell out. Hypocrite beyond imagination. Biomass bullshit seller. Forest destroyer. How is it possible you have led all of us down the same death trap road of false hope? The YOUTH! How dare you! Shame on you!” More followed, to say the least. (If you’re wondering whether it hurts to get this kind of email, the answer is yes. In a time of a pandemic, it’s hard to feel too much self-pity, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read someone accusing you of betraying your own life’s work.)
Basically, Moore and his colleagues have made a film attacking renewable energy as a sham and arguing that the environmental movement is just a tool of corporations trying to make money off green energy. “One of the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies, like wind and solar, are somehow different from fossil fuels,” Ozzie Zehner, one of the film’s producers, tells the camera. When visiting a solar facility, he insists: “You use more fossil fuels to do this than you’re getting benefit from it. You would have been better off just burning the fossil fuels.”
That’s not true, not in the least — the time it takes for a solar panel to pay back the energy used to build it is well under four years. Since it lasts three decades, it means 90 percent of the power it produces is pollution-free, compared with zero percent of the power from burning fossil fuels. It turns out that pretty much everything else about the movie was wrong — there have been at least 24 debunkings, many of them painfully rigorous; as one scientist wrote in a particularly scathing takedown, “Planet of the Humans is deeply useless. Watch anything else.” Moore’s fellow filmmaker Josh Fox, in an epic unraveling of the film’s endless lies, got in one of the best shots: “Releasing this on the eve of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is like Bernie Sanders endorsing Donald Trump while chugging hydroxychloroquine.”
Here’s long-time solar activist (and, oh yeah, the guy who wrote “Heart of Gold“) Neil Young: “The amount of damage this film tries to create (succeeding in the VERY short term) will ultimately bring light to the real facts, which are turning up everywhere in response to Michael Moore’s new erroneous and headline grabbing TV publicity tour of misinformation. A very damaging film to the human struggle for a better way of living, Moore’s film completely destroys whatever reputation he has earned so far.”
But enough about the future of humanity. Let’s talk about me, since I got to be the stand-in for “corporate environmentalism” for much of the film. Cherry-picking a few clips culled from the approximately ten zillion interviews, speeches, and panels I’ve engaged in these past decades, the filmmaker made two basic points. One, that I was a big proponent of biomass energy — that is, burning trees to generate power. Two, that I was a key part of “green capitalism,” trying somehow to profit from selling people on the false promise of solar and wind power.
The first has at least a kernel of — not truth, but history. Almost two decades ago, wonderful students at the rural Vermont college where I teach proposed that the oil-burning heat plant be replaced with one that burned woodchips. I thought it was a good idea, and when it finally came to pass in 2009, I spoke at its inauguration. This was not a weird idea — at the time, most environmentalists thought likewise, because as new trees grow back in place of the ones that have been cut, they will soak up the carbon released in the burning. “At that point I would have done the same,” Bill Moomaw, who is one of the most eminent researchers in the field, put it. “Because we hadn’t done the math yet.” But as scientists did begin to do the math, a different truth emerged: Burning trees put a puff of carbon into air now, which is when the climate system is breaking. That this carbon may be sucked up a generation hence is therefore not much help. And as that science emerged, I changed my mind, becoming an outspoken opponent of biomass. (Something else happened too: the efficiency of solar and wind power soared, meaning there was ever less need to burn anything. The film’s attacks on renewable energy are antique, dating from a decade ago, when a solar panel cost 10 times what it does today; engineers have since done their job, making renewable energy the cheapest way to generate power on our planet.)
As for the second charge, it’s simply a lie — indeed, it’s the kind of breathtaking black-is-white lie that’s come to characterize our public life at least since Vietnam veteran John Kerry was accused by the right wing of committing treason. I have never taken a penny from green energy companies or mutual funds or anyone else with a role in these fights. I’ve never been paid by environmental groups either, not even 350.org, which I founded and which I’ve given all I have to give. I’ve written books and given endless talks challenging the prevailing ideas about economic growth, and I’ve run campaigns designed entirely to cut consumption.
Let me speak as plainly as I know how. When it comes to me, it’s not that Planet of the Humans overstates the case, or gets it partly wrong, or opens an argument worth having: it is a sewer. I’ll finish with just the smallest example: In the credits, it defensively claims that I began opposing biomass only last year, in response to news of this film. In fact, as we wrote the filmmakers on numerous occasions, I’ve been on the record about the topic for years. Here, for instance, is a piece from 2016 with the not very subtle title “Burning Trees for Electricity Is a Bad Idea.” Please read it. When you do, you will see that the filmmakers didn’t just engage in bad journalism (though they surely did), they acted in bad faith. They didn’t just behave dishonestly (though they surely did), they behaved dishonorably. I’m aware that in our current salty era those words may sound mild, but in my lexicon they are the strongest possible epithets.
A reasonable question: Given that the film has been so thoroughly debunked, can it really cause problems?
I’ve spent the past three decades, ever since I wrote The End of Nature at the age of 28, deeply committed to realism: no fantasy, no spin, no wish will help us deal with the basic molecular structure of carbon dioxide. That commitment to reality has to carry over into every part of one’s life. So, realistically, most of the millions of people who watch this film will not read the careful debunkings. Most of them will assume, in the way we all do when we watch something, that there must be something there, it must be half true anyway. (That’s why propaganda is effective).
Actually, we won’t. We’ve dropped the price of sun and wind 90 percent in the last decade (since the days when Moore, et al. were apparently collecting their data). As Stanford professor Marc Jacobson has made clear, we could get much of the way there in relatively short and affordable order, by building out panels and turbines, by making our lives more efficient, by consuming less and differently. But that would require breaking the political power of the fossil fuel industry, which in turn would require a big movement, which in turn would require coming together, not splitting apart.
It’s that kind of movement we’ve been trying to build for a long time. I remember its first real gathering in force in the U.S., with tens of thousands of us standing on the Mall in Washington on a bitter February day in 2013 to demand an end to Keystone and other climate action. “All I’ve ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change,” I told the crowd. “And now I’ve seen it.”
We did an immense amount of work to get to that moment, helping will a movement into being. But from that moment on, for me it’s been mostly gravy — the great pleasure of watching the movement grow and then explode. Watching the kids who had built college divestment campaigns graduate to form the Sunrise Movement and launch the Green New Deal. Watching Extinction Rebellion start to shake whole cities. Watching the emergence of the climate strikers — and getting to know Greta Thunberg and many of the 10,000 others like her across the world. In each case, I’ve tried to help a little, largely just by amplifying their voices and urging others to pay attention.
I remember very well the night that same autumn after an overflow talk in Providence when my daughter, then a sophomore at Brown, said something typically wise to me: “I think you should probably be less famous in the years ahead.” I knew what she meant even as she said it, because of course I’d already sensed a bit of it myself. It wasn’t that she thought I was a bad leader — it was that we needed to build a movement that was less attached to leaders in general (and probably white male ones in particular) if we were going to attain the kind of power we needed.
And so, even then I began consciously backing off, not in my work but in my willingness to dominate the space. I stepped down as board chair at 350.org, and really devoted myself to introducing people to new leaders from dozens of groups. So many of those leaders come from frontline communities, indigenous communities — from the people already paying an enormous price for the warming they did so little to cause. Their voices are breaking through, and thank heaven: If you follow my twitter feed, you’ll see that the most common word, after “heatwave”, is “thanks,” offered to whoever is doing something useful and good.
If you get the chance to read the (free) New Yorkerclimate newsletterI started earlier this year, you’ll see the key feature is called Passing the Mic: So far I’ve interviewed Nicole Poindexter, Jerome Foster II, Mary Heglar, Ellen Dorsey, Thea Sebastian, Virginia Hanusik, Tara Houska, Vann R. Newkirk II, and Christiana Figueres; this week Jane Kleeb; next week Alice Arena, helping lead the fight against a new gas pipeline across Massachusetts.
I think that one thing that defines those movements is their adversaries — in this case the fossil fuel industry above all. And I think the thing that weakens those movements is when they start trying to identify adversaries within their ranks. Much has been made over the years about the way that progressives eat their own, about circular firing squads and the like. I think there’s truth to it: there’s a collection of showmen like Moore who enjoy attracting attention to themselves by endlessly picking fights. They’re generally not people who actually try to organize, to build power, to bring people together. That’s the real, and difficult, work — not purity tests or calling people out, but calling them in. At least, that’s how it seems to me: The battle to slow down global warming in the short time that physics allots us requires ever bigger movements.
It’s been a great privilege to get to help build those movements. And if I worry that my effectiveness has been compromised, it’s not a huge worry, precisely because there are now so many others doing this work — generations and generations of people who have grown up in this fight. I think, more or less, we’re all headed in the right direction, that people are getting the basic message right: conserve energy; replace coal and gas and oil with wind and sun; break the political power of the fossil fuel industry; demand just transitions for workers; build a world that reduces ruinous inequality; and protect natural systems, both because they’re glorious and so they can continue to soak up carbon. I don’t know if we’re going to get this done in time — sometimes I kick myself for taking too long to figure out we needed to start building movements. But I know our chances are much improved if we do it together.
Editor’s Note: At first I was not interested in watching yet another Michael Moore film, but after getting half-way through the film I realized the importance of the message. Renewable and green energy such as solar and wind, as beautiful a notion that is, still requires a massive industrial infrastructure to manufacture and deploy. That infrastructure is still dependent upon fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and nuclear. So the lofty idea of a Green New Deal somehow independent of the existing fossil fuels/industrial infrastructure may very well be a pipe dream. For a counterpoint opinion do read “A Bomb in the Center of the Climate Change Movement”.
By Jeff Gibbs
Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.
Editor’s Note: This is yet another tragic example of the unleashing of a new technology which has not been properly tested before deployment. Are these technology corporations so out of touch with their own humanity they do not consider the consequences beyond their own bottom line? 5G could very well be an end game for the human beings who cannot adapt to such high-levels of EMF in the environment and an extinction level event for many other creatures as well.
Of particular significance is the fact that SciAm is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States, founded by inventor and publisher Rufus M. Porter in 1845, and running monthly since 1921. It is a highly influential publication, widely reputed for its rigorous scientific standards, and lauded by today’s fact-checkers as highly credible and staunchly pro-science.
In the article, University of California, Berkeley public health researcher Joel M. Moskowitz argues that 5G, along with previous w-fi and cellular technology, is much more harmful than the government and telecomm industry wants the public to believe.
His primary concerns center around a recent FCC announcement, made in a press release, that the FCC is close to reaffirming the radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits that were previously adopted by the commission in the 1990’s… well before the introduction of 5G, 4G, 3G, 2G or even WiFi.
In short, the safety standards that the FCC wishes to maintain are severely outdated and fail to reflect the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating harm.
Moskowitz notes that the ’90’s exposure limits only address the singular concern over the potential effects of the intensity of exposure to RFR. With the research we now have available the health concerns are much broader, including a sincere risk of cancer, among other things.
Moskowitz points out that,”the scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals.” Inviting readers and policy makers to consider the weight of more than 500 peer-reviewed research studies finding, “harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating,” Moskowitz believes that more rigorous studies are necessary before the rollout goes forward.
In other words, the scientific jury is already out on the harmful effects of RFR, and the FCC is flat-out derelict in its duty to put public safety above telecomm industry interests.
Regarding the propaganda dimension of this debate, Moskowitz addresses the fact that industry spokepersons and related government officials frequently refer to contrarian viewpoints as ‘fear-mongering,’ pointing out that the current scientific research is legitimate, leaving the scientific community with a genuine responsibility to speak out about these concerns.
Editor’s Note: Indigenous nations are still seeking respect for the sovereignty of their lands stolen by military occupation and Treaties the United States did not honor. Here’s another action re: DAPL pipeline.
Cannon Ball, ND – This morning, at approximately 8am central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd.
To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established three road blockades:
North of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806
South of the Cannon Ball River, on Highway 1806
And Immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134
Police have discharged weapons, using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions.
This frontline camp is located on the final three 3 miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is 2 miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible.
Mekasi Camp-Horinek, an Oceti Sakowin camp coordinator states, “Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights. This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action. We are still staying non-violent and we are still staying peaceful.”
Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer states, “We have never ceded this land. If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line.”
Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp, “We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka- we stand and face the storm.”
Editor’s Note: Science is allegedly the foundation for sound reasoning when it comes to evaluating the short and long-term benefits (and drawbacks) of any new technology, but in the case of 5G there is no reliable science to assure us of its safety. Quite the contrary, it’s being deployed globally without concern for the safety of those exposed.
The telecommunications industry and their experts have accused many scientists who have researched the effects of cell phone radiation of “fear mongering” over the advent of wireless technology’s 5G. Since much of our research is publicly-funded, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to inform the public about what the peer-reviewed scientific literature tells us about the health risks from wireless radiation.
Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating.
Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:
“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.”
The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals.
The FCC’s RFR exposure limits regulate the intensity of exposure, taking into account the frequency of the carrier waves, but ignore the signaling properties of the RFR. Along with the patterning and duration of exposures, certain characteristics of the signal (e.g., pulsing, polarization)increase the biologic and health impacts of the exposure. New exposure limits are needed which account for these differential effects. Moreover, these limits should be based on a biological effect, not a change in a laboratory rat’s behavior.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RFR as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011. Last year, a $30 million study conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) found “clear evidence” that two years of exposure to cell phone RFR increased cancer in male rats and damaged DNA in rats and mice of both sexes. The Ramazzini Institute in Italy replicated the key finding of the NTP using a different carrier frequency and much weaker exposure to cell phone radiation over the life of the rats.
Based upon the research published since 2011, including human and animal studies and mechanistic data, the IARC has recently prioritized RFR to be reviewed again in the next five years. Since many EMF scientists believe we now have sufficient evidence to consider RFR as either a probable or known human carcinogen, the IARC will likely upgrade the carcinogenic potential of RFR in the near future.
Nonetheless, without conducting a formal risk assessment or a systematic review of the research on RFR health effects, the FDA recently reaffirmed the FCC’s 1996 exposure limits in a letter to the FCC, stating that the agency had “concluded that no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time,” and that “NTP’s experimental findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage.” The letter stated that “the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.”
The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. Given limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation. 5G also employs new technologies (e.g., active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO) which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures.
Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).
Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users.
5G will not replace 4G; it will accompany 4G for the near future and possibly over the long term. If there are synergistic effects from simultaneous exposures to multiple types of RFR, our overall risk of harm from RFR may increase substantially. Cancer is not the only risk as there is considerable evidence that RFR causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm, likely due to oxidative stress.
As a society, should we invest hundreds of billions of dollars deploying 5G, a cellular technology that requires the installation of 800,000 or more new cell antenna sites in the U.S. close to where we live, work and play?
Instead, we should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically based exposure limits that protect our health and safety.
Joel M. Moskowitz
Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD, is director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been translating and disseminating the research on wireless radiation health effects since 2009 after he and his colleagues published a review paper that found long-term cell phone users were at greater risk of brain tumors. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website has had more than two million page views since 2013. He is an unpaid advisor to the International EMF Scientist Appeal and Physicians for Safe Technology.
Editor’s Note: 5G technology is being rapidly deployed in the next few years without any concern for the short or long-term health effects upon human beings (and other living creatures as well). It’s being touted as a “technological boon” (certainly for the companies who’ll profit from it), but for the rest of us? The jury is out, because no trial about “benefits vs. dangers” has been set.
Whether we like it or not, 5G (fifth generation) wireless internet technology is slowly but surely being rolled out across the globe. Promising faster speeds, better connectivity and virtually instant data transfers, 5G is being hailed as a technological boon.
Service providers promise that 5G will enable downloads at 100 times greater speeds than 4G technology. This would translate to the ability to download a full HD movie in less than 10 seconds. 5G also promises more stable connections and greater capacity, enabling networks to handle multiple high-demand applications simultaneously.
However, while the media continues to sing its praises, very little has been said about its potential dangers – of which there are many. Studies have found that 5G technology will emit radiation at levels never before experienced by human beings, which could have devastating – and irreversible – effects.
According to the Use Determination Application compiled for the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, the purpose of the HAWK30 program “is to develop new airborne overhead 5G communication, which would provide strong wireless service over a large area, including deep valleys, remote lands, and over the ocean.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the project a COA2 certificate of authorization, which will allow the drones to operate in a 150 square mile radius for up to two years. The area which will be covered by the drones includes the Molokini crater, a popular tourist spot that boasts 300,000 visitors annually, as well as beautiful tropical waters that are home to tropical fish and a special humpback whale national marine sanctuary.
Experts warn, however, that these drones pose significant risks. Waking Times reported:
Radiation harm is a concern as one HAWK30 drone broadcasts the equivalent of 1800 cell towers, albeit at a much lower power level, however, power is irrelevant to health effects except for tissue heating. Thousands of peer reviewed research studies document the non-thermal effects of wireless radiation on humans and other living things. In some experiments the lowest power levels caused the most leakage in the blood-brain barrier. An inverse relationship between power and health effects has even been shown. Wireless technology is not made safe by reducing the power.
The HAPS drones which will be used in the project will fly at 70 miles per hour and have a 260-foot wingspan and 10 propellers each. Each drone will boast cell site coverage of 124 miles in diameter, creating a blanket of radiation over the entire area.
There are other issues in addition to radiation concerns. Waking Times warns:
In addition to irradiating all life forms within range, this type of massive flying wing has a bad safety record. Two high altitude drones have been built by AeroVironment and they both fell from the sky and crashed. In fact, the drone is so experimental that almost no regulations exist to govern it. Project officials appear ready to take full advantage of this, having boasted about schooling the FAA and writing their own rules.
But a 1.5 ton HAWK30 falling from the stratosphere could have devastating effects. Only 2300 Newtons of force crush a human skull wearing a helmet. Falling from a height of 70,000 feet, a 1.5 ton object would impact with 266,756,000 Newtons of force!
Eventually the project leaders plan to turn the island of L?na’I into a manufacturing plant and launch pad for thousands of drones which will be sent across the globe, blanketing the planet in cancer-causing radiation. Learn more about the dangers of 5G technology at Radiation.news.