Hectares of mangroves lost every year
Tons of plastic on ocean's surface
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The short answer The rollout of the 5G cellular network requires A LOT of energy. In the United States, much of that energy comes from natural gas and fossil fuels. Higher demand for energy = more gas & oil = more environmental issues.
What we know 5G emits high-frequency (millimeter waves) between 30Ghz and 300Ghz and requires antennas to be in close proximity. Due to the lack of far-reaching signals, 5G will not replace 4G LTE completely. 5G, for now at least, will serve as a complementary tool to its predecessor. This means more radiation in the air and atmosphere.
Big picture 5G requires exponentially more towers and more energy than 4G in order to function properly. This means more radiation, that we don’t understand the long-term consequences of, and more gas and oil consumption, which we do understand the consequences of.
Why it matters It boils down to four words: your health + environmental impact. Research varies widely on the subject from A-Okay to Doomsday.
Some experts point to the fact that 5G EMF radiation is non-iodizing, meaning it does not carry enough energy to iodize atoms or molecules, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently stated that there is still a potential risk to humans for this kind of exposure.
While there is still uncertainty on the degree to which 5G radiation can impact health, the fact remains that it has an effect. What is not uncertain, however, is the massive amounts of natural resources needed to power this far-reaching network. We should be hesitant to make our homes, businesses and cities ‘smart’ at the cost of future generations.
If you are concerned, consider the following steps:
- Protect yourself by limiting exposure to 5G-enabled devices when possible.
- Sign a petition to delay the deployment of the 5G wireless network until institutions understand and enact regulations in accordance with the potential health hazards and environmental impact.
Dig Deeper → 5 min
What’s the sitch? For all the innovations we have today, access to quality food is still a critical issue across the globe. Food disparity is driven by a number of factors, such as income inequality and local production levels.
Big picture The barriers that prevent many people from eating healthier are interconnected with race, inequality, and systemic biases embedded in our society. Race, education, careers, income, and housing all play a role in determining food access.
Why it matters Overcoming system inefficiencies like excessive subsidies for meat production helps to lower barriers to healthier foods but it will take a national and global effort to completely eradicate systemic inequalities.
Dig deeper → 1 min
Lesson 1: Reduce or remove your vulnerability to ‘the system’
The globalized world today has allowed for the rapid spread of ideas, knowledge, goods, services, and people. Unfortunately, globalization has also proliferated the pandemic we face today. The interconnected world creates many issues, but also allows us to collaborate and work together to come up with innovative ways to solve crises that arise from that inter-connectivity.
Lesson 2: No one can bring you peace but yourself
The global pandemic is a perfect example of a time in which things outside of us can stifle our ability to live a life the way we see fit. You didn’t create the virus, you didn’t spread it, and if you’re one of the many people feeling stuck in your home right now, you may feel helpless ‘doing the right thing’ and watching others directly impact your experiences by not listening to authorities.
Lesson 3: 'Sustainability' is timeless
The principles of self-reliance and sustainability are timeless. Those words of Emerson ring true today. He had a deep passion for Nature and felt placing ourselves in the natural world, away from society, was the key to dropping the ego and living a more fulfilling life. The way I see it, he was practicing sustainability in his time.Dig deeper → 8 min
The scoop Flint, Michigan is still suffering from an unconscionable public health crisis six years later. We built a lengthy timeline of environmental injustice since 2014. Check it out.
Why it matters Despite municipal and federal efforts to remove the lead pipelines delivering water to residential areas, Flint residents and visitors are still wary. They often only drink bottled water, distrusting the city officials who lied to them for so many years and told them their water was “safe.”
Big picture Moving forward, Flint officials have a responsibility to ensure that every single lead pipe is pulled from the ground, including pipes that don’t currently connect to residents’ homes. They must file reimbursement requests to fund research to further decrease the lead parts per billion in drinking water to at least convey trust to rightfully dubious residents.
Dig deeper → 3 min
Big picture EF Schumacher warned us that Small is Beautiful. We ignored his message. Schumacher was a German-British Statistician and Economist who believed in a human-scale, decentralized approach to technological development.
In his book, Schumacher discusses the principles of Buddhist economics and addresses how modern economic thinking causes much of the emotional distress we experience in our 21st-century lives. Yes, the book published in 1973, but it is more relevant today than it was in its time.
Why it matters Our wealth has increased across the board, but we are no happier as a species. Positive human relationships, shared emotion, fulfilling purpose — these are the tenants of a progressive society.
Drones, phones, face ID, and VR are band-aid solutions for a dispirited population. Schumacher was a visionary. He saw the society's downward path and tried putting it to a halt.
Bottom line Let’s learn the lessons of our past and present through Small is Beautiful. We can start building cities with that appreciation for nature in mind. Not for some Romantic hippie-induced utopia, but for the sake of the rational economic mind.
Dig deeper → 7 min
Lesson 1: Communicate Urgency
- The brain has a tendency to react strongly to risks that seem novel, uncertain, uncontrollable, and life-threatening --i.e. COVID-19, immediacy
- Even though it already kills people, Climate Change is predominantly seen as a risk to be faced in the future
- Shaping awareness around climate change requires reframing its message
Lesson 2: Elevate the Voices of Trusted Messengers
We are learning valuable lessons from this Public Health Crisis
- Gallup poll rates nurses as the most trusted profession 18 years in a row
- Can the healthcare community can be more vocal on climate change? Think George Mason Program on Climate Change and Health, Hospital Coalitions, etc.
- Pew demonstrated that six-in-ten Americans say scientists should play an active role in policy debates about scientific issues
- Are you tired of hearing 97% of scientists agree on human-caused CC? Clearly that message isn't working.
- Maybe it is time to hear more from scientists directly, rather than politicians, professors and children.
Lesson 3: Localized Scale Works Best
- Simple attainable solutions that can be done from home are essential (i.e. telecommuting, leveraging video conferencing solutions, like Zoom, to facilitate remote work)
- Decentralized response? Perhaps not the most effective, if we had responded sooner to COVID...
- We are hearing from local leaders... In Atlanta, governor and mayor coordinated efforts...encouraged use of hand san and avoidance of public events
- Global Covenant of Mayors, ICLEI, National Council of Local Governments, etc. building capacity at these hyper-local levels for climate action
More to know
- Shift Perspective, Short-Term vs. Long-Term
- Sacrificing convenience of globalized economy, at least temporarily
- Amazon reducing stock, harder to access consumer goods, like toilet paper
- Recognition of Vulnerable populations
- Like climate change, people who are hit hardest are already vulnerable
- Low-income, elderly, sick
- People are banding together to help them
- Like climate change, people who are hit hardest are already vulnerable
Be intentional, coronavirus feels personal
- On NPR, Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist, argued that climate change lacks four fundamental features that typically trigger an immediate response: Intentional, Immoral, Imminent, Instantaneous
- Show immediacy w/out compromising integrity
- “With some people, climate change is actually more of an imminent threat. I mean, I'm thinking about farmers who are seeing more ruined crops. I'm thinking about people who live in certain regions that are definitely getting more extreme weather.”
Dig deeper → 8 min