Deforestation and 5G

There are many legitimate health concerns surrounding 5G technology, but our local governments remain anywhere from uninformed to actively defensive of the anti-net neutral, anti-first amendment big telecoms, but those are topics for another article.

Today, I want to write specifically about deforestation and 5G. I was shocked by the permitted deforestation on Samish Hill to make way for new housing developments.  These developments–along with the clear-cutting of trees–are unnecessary until the many abandoned (some publicly owned) buildings in Bellingham’s downtown and surrounding areas are renovated to provide new housing stock. Yes, new builds should be built to the LEED Platinum standard, but nothing is as green as refurbishing old buildings in the first place. Still, this topic got me thinking about all kinds of unnecessary deforestation, including that taking place around the installation of 5G technology.

I realized that deforestation would pave the way for 5G rollouts, which work best with line of sight communications. Many people do not realize that for 5G to work correctly, you need to cut down lots and lots of trees. This is happening worldwide at a time when we need every healthy tree we have just to try to fight the effects of climate change. Many excuses are being used to justify the cutting down of the trees, like claiming that the trees are sick, but independent arborists have confirmed that only 10% of the trees being cut down actually need to be cut down in many situations. Remember, 5G waves are affected by just about everything and easily disrupted. They are even affected by rain.  So big trees, found throughout Whatcom County and around Bellingham, are a big problem for 5G.  This article, from Sheffield(UK), shows that 50% of Sheffield trees are being cut down to make line of sight communications for 5G easier.

In fact, the core technologies for 5G specifically try to resolve the many problems these small waves have just to be reliable enough to reach their destinations. All of this and more are covered in the book “The 5G Myth” by WIlliam Webb.

We have already started to see this kind of work being done in Bellingham, as seen in the photo above from State Street, and there is a very good chance that this is partially behind the poorly justified cutting down of hundreds of trees in our parks. I was asked specifically about the Silver Lake Park Renovation. So I put in a call to Whatcom County Parks Project Supervisor Rod Lamb. Rod confirmed that only electrical and sewer systems are being updated in the Silver Lake project and that there were no plans to provide internet directly at the park. However, there is no way for him to know if clearing the trees makes the park an ideal candidate to have a tower placed close to it. After all councilmember, Rud Browne has said to me that, “what they really need in Maple Falls is wireless.” Keep in mind that public works departments often do run fiber for their own internal uses. The COB specifically only leases its fiber to the big telecoms, while denying the citizens that paid for it access to it. I hope the County has more sense and if they start leasing out their resources, they at least make them open-access.

So, the concern is justified and the lack of transparency leads to a lack of trust in government again. We need maps before work is done of where all of this equipment is going! This is yet another problem we’ll have to watch for whenever trees are being cleared. We’ll always have to ask, “is this really being done for the stated reasons, or to make way for 5G?” After all, The Firs was willing to risk its good name to strike a deal with Verizon that exceeds reasonable safety limits. I tried to talk to The Firs about who they were getting into bed with when I heard about the tower, but did not receive a response. For an organization that prides itself on family values, I was shocked that the Firs took this risk. Still, it’s obvious that a lot is going on in the background, and critical information is being kept from the public until after modifications are made. Since a lot of the land is privately owned, I’m sure there is a lot of unaccounted for deforestation going on too.

Thanks to the FCC, under Ajit Pai, the big telecoms can do whatever they want to roll out 5G There is literally NO land use policy. This means there is nothing to keep them from putting a small cell, or multiple small cells, outside of a child’s bedroom window. Much of this work is being done haphazardly, and even at night nationwide. There are no maps of planned 5G rollouts, and by the time the citizens put one together themselves, the unwanted gear is already installed, and the damage is done. What we will see is that many of the deforestation projects do indeed clear the way for line of sight transmissions for 5G tech. Sadly, our councils and mayor are not demanding any transparency from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or others as to where the equipment will be placed. This makes it impossible for concerned individuals to plan, or ask questions of the powerful groups and individuals behind this scheme.

I am a proponent of having the city and county use our public resources, like the existing fiber-optic networks, to provide safe technology at all parks as public providers. I am not a proponent of them leasing it to the big telecoms for use for dangerous 5G technology as the COB is already doing with AT&T and plans to do with the other big wireless telecoms. All while telling us the same infrastructure isn’t usable. Allowing any one entity to provide services will only strengthen their virtual monopolies or help create one.

Fiber-optic networks have none of these issues, are perfectly safe, and are needed to backup everything else (including wireless) anyway. There is no way that butchering all of the trees necessary to make 5G work here costs less than conduit and Fiber-To-The-Home anyway. Also, many of the small cells will be placed only a few feet from residences and businesses. So why not just let people hook up to the fiber if they want to and choose what personal level of exposure they are comfortable with? I’ll tell you why. Because then Verizon and AT&T can’t keep the duopoly on wireless communications that they agreed with Comcast to create during the Clinton administration, covered in the book “Captive Audience by Susan Crawford“. 

Access to publicly-owned fiber-optic networks creates real competition and gives Americans the kind of connections that most of the rest of the developed world has been enjoying for decades now. That’s the last thing the big telecoms want, and fortunately for them, most of your local officials are happy to play ball.  Maybe we should save ourselves some time and put in the paperwork to rename Bellingham, “Landslide, Washington.” Expect to see these same problems everywhere, even up and down all of our roads, in the near future. I hope you didn’t move here for the trees or the forests. 

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