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THE HONEY BEE’S PLEA
The honey bee in the banner at the top of this newsletter has been speaking to us for over one hundred and fourteen years. Its numbers ever diminishing, its message ever more urgent, it waits for a sleeping world to finally listen. “Now!” it says. “Wake up before it’s too late, there is no more time!”
On the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, Giuglielmo Marconi built the world’s first permanent radio station. And the bees’ first warning to humanity was heard. “They are often to be seen crawling up grass stems, or up the supports of the hive, where they remain until they fall back to the earth from sheer weakness, and soon afterwards die,” wrote Augustus Imms of Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1906. Ninety percent of the bees had already vanished from the entire island. Unable to find a cause, he called it, simply, Isle of Wight disease. Swarms of healthy bees were imported from the mainland, but it was of no use: within a week the fresh bees were dying off by the thousands.
The description, more than a century later, is exactly the same. On November 19, 2019, a 5G antenna was placed 250 meters from Angela’s house in Melbourne, Australia. “I photographed the new mast going onto the cell tower,” she writes, “and the next day, I was in the driveway talking to our carpenter, and we saw bees dropping on the driveway then dying. I managed to film one trying to collect pollen, but it was hanging upside down and could not seem to make it to the centre of the flower, then it rolled off the petals to the ground.”
Today, two months later, their beautiful garden, full of old world trees and plants, is silent and barren. “We have no insects — none,” wrote Angela last week. “Our cumquat once laden all year has no new fruit coming. No olives on the way on our olive tree so laden last year. We dug soil yesterday — no worms either — nothing — all gone. I walked the dog late tonight, it was dark and a poor magpie was down the street under a street lamp hoping for a cricket I think. It was silent. I took birdseed back but the bird had gone — it must be hungry to be out at night.”
In the midst of plenty the bees are starving to death. In 2009, Neelima Kumar, at Panjab University in India, placed cell phones in some bee hives and turned them on for ten minutes. The concentrations of glucose, cholesterol, total carbohydrates, total lipids and total proteins rose precipitously in the bees’ blood. After just ten minutes’ exposure to a cell phone, the bees were not able to digest their food, or use the oxygen they were breathing. Their metabolism had come to a standstill.
“Wake up!” say the bees.
“Wake up!” said parents with their children who assembled last Saturday at the Church on the Roundabout in Newport on the Isle of Wight to protest plans to turn their island into a Smart Island — to bring Isle of Wight disease back to the island of its birth.
Radio waves are poison to life. They penetrate skin and bones, cell walls and mitochondria. They prevent electrons from our food from combining with the oxygen we breathe. They give us diabetes, and heart disease, and cancer. They disorient migratory birds, and they kill outright tiny forms of life that pollinate flowers and have high rates of metabolism.
In the mid-1990s, the invisible fire that Marconi had lit became a conflagration. For the first time in human history, radio waves began to be broadcast not only from tall towers scattered widely across the landscape, but from the hands of men, women and children everywhere. And in 2020 this has brought us to the brink of extinction — not just of bees, and not just of humanity, but of all life on Earth.
I asked, in a previous newsletter, “which do we want more: our phones or our planet?” There is only one sane answer. I ask all of you who are reading this newsletter to join with me in putting this world back on a path to survival by throwing away your cell phones, now, today. Not next year, and not tomorrow. Today. There is no other option. Tomorrow we can deal, if we dare, with climate change. But if we are to have time to answer that urgent call, we must first deal with this emergency. We must extinguish this fire.
I vote for life. Do you?
SLOVENIA VOTES FOR LIFE, AT LEAST FOR NOW
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