Causality is one of the central tenets of life on earth because here we live in linear time, one second ticking forward after another, year to year, lifetime to lifetime from the Big Bang (and before) and on to infinity.  Even though we know from Einstein and physics that time as a construct is not linear, on Earth we experience it as such.  That’s why causality plays such an important role in our lives.

Cause and effect.  You do one thing that brings about a series of others.  You can see it in  your life where, as a child, your interest in frogs led you to a career as a biologist or your obsession with building Lego cities fostered your decision to become an architect.  In these instances, the cause and effect could have been years, even decades apart, but since good things came to pass, it was an acceptable part of our history.

But what about the causes that lead to disastrous effects, the ones where we should have proceeded with more caution, but we charged ahead in the interest of human development, ease and convenience, or just making money?  How will these events be judged on the scales of history?

Throughout time, there have been plenty of instances where, for the sake of any of the above, we’ve put the health risks to the population aside.  A few things come to mind like: nuclear power — we still don’t have a safe way to deal with the waste; teflon — the chemical components of teflon have permeated the bloodstreams and waterways of the nation; pesticides — providing abundant amounts of food, but is it safe?  And how much nutritive value is left in that carrot?; and plastic, ubiquitous, necessary to modern life, durable and reliable, yet so detrimental to wildlife and oceans (and humans when ingested as dioxin) that we are building ships just to clean up the mess.

In the distant past, companies have had plausible deniability because we were all still learning and the time lag between cause and effect gave them an out.  People died from lung cancer after they smoked for 30 years, not 30 minutes, so the tobacco companies pointed to just about everything else they could think of to be at the root of an individual’s demise — he didn’t eat well or get enough rest or his stress levels were just really high — until the courts finally shot them down and told them to pay up.  But what about all the lives lost to smoking, terrible deaths that could have been prevented if we only knew it caused cancer?  Granted, no matter what you tell them, some people are still going to do what they want, but shouldn’t they be able to make a well-informed choice?

We never really stop to look at the environmental effects of each new technology or educate ourselves on ways to deal with them.  If we didn’t know, now we do as we watch the degradation and declining populations across almost all spectrums on earth:  insects, soils, air, water, species, birds, even humans if you look at declining fertility rates.  Why?  Because it’s easier, and cheaper, for a company to say it didn’t know and to clean up the mess afterwards than it is to make sure they didn’t make a mess in the first place.  I’ll never stop thinking about the Ford Pinto as an example of a company knowing it was putting a dangerous product on the market but doing it anyway because paying the penalties associated with the lawsuits was cheaper than recalling the product.

Today’s New Frontier is technology, a shiny new gem of a toy we can’t get enough of.  Here we are again on the precipice of a new era, but with each new development comes the possibility of derailment from our inability to study all sides and do our homework first.  The latest development — 5G — may be just the thing that undoes us all.  There’s a laundry-list of health risks and abuses that comes with 5G making the run-of-the-mill dystopian novel look like a day at the beach.  If any one of use were shown this list and then asked to put a receiver that spews radiation all day long in our kitchen, would we do it?  Just for convenience?  I know I wouldn’t, but what if we don’t have a choice?

Equally as distressing is the ability of the provider (i.e., eventually, government because what government can resist the chance to spy on its citizenship?) to listen in on your life.  You know it’s happening now.  You are having a conversation with a friend.  Your cellphone is in your back pocket.  You casually mention you are looking for a new bike for your son for his birthday.  The next time you check your phone, ads for new bikes appear everywhere.  You don’t remember ever even seeing an ad for a new bike before.  Coincidence?  Ha!  Now I don’t know about you, but I took what George Orwell said in his dystopian novel 1984 seriously and if all that doesn’t make you want to run from 5G like your hair is on fire, then you’ve got a higher threshold for pain than I do.

I’m no expert on 5G.  Sometimes, I can’t even work my iPhone.  But given our history, shouldn’t we be doing a wee bit more research before we run, full-out, arms wide, to the next shiny object and embrace this new, possibly humanity-decimating technology?  An ounce of prevention and all that?  This kicking the can thing down the road has brought us to the brink of an uncertain and possibly disastrous future.  Do we want to leave anything for our grandkids that doesn’t suck?

Can we even unwind the clock?

pamlazos 4.8.19

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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25 Responses to 5G

  1. Such a timely piece, Pam, and really poignant to me as a mom. The whole Echo or Dot or whatever funky Amazon Google Assistant doo-dad creeps me out already because come on–you WANT it to listen to you so you can tell it to do stuff. It’s supposed to listen ALL THE TIME.
    Who else is listening?
    But it’s like no one thinks about that. No one’s read 1984, where our hero’s got to find the one small crook in his apartment where the screen can’t see him write because he KNOWS there are always eyes and ears.
    And our kids are growing up with this being the normal. How do we tell kids it’s NOT okay for Government Business to listen to their every word when society’s marketing that it IS?
    Ugh. I’m ranting. Your piece hit the spot!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant Pam, well written and understandable. I just had the experience of THINKING something and having an advert sent directly to me via the good old email about five minutes later – SAY WHAT??? May be coincidence but I’m becoming wary enough not to automatically think that any more. If not now, soon. We (my family) have endless examples of our conversations being snooped on by Google for purposes of offering us chances to spend our money. I doubt the 5G thing will be held back for long – our Government has already questioned it – there’s money to be made and when there is money to be made human health, freedoms or other moralitys count for nothing. The only avenue we have is to vote with our dollars – don’t like it? don’t go there, don’t use it. don’t buy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindasschaub says:

    I had to get a new cellphone because AT&T no longer supported 2G 🙂 I am way behind the times, and I really only use my flip phone by keeping it handy for any emergencies when I’m out of the house. I wasn’t aware of all the dangers of 5G – your last line is my line of thinking as well Pam. For many years I’ve said the world moves too fast for me sometimes and I’d love to hop off for a few years, or learn how to put the brakes on our world and kick it back a notch to simpler times.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am just glad I am a dinosaur with things because we never know till it’s too late. As for the snooping ..well you are right. Not only do I never know where my dinosaur mobile is most days, I only charge it to tell the time when I’m out. BUT my son in law who doesn’t have a 5g has been on for awhile about this biz of conversations being snooped on and has quoted plenty examples. I believe him. AS it is Facebook snoop on all personal direct messages and tailor keywords to local ads,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Adele Marie says:

    I agree with you about 5G, I’ve done a fair bit of research and it’s bad, very bad. But, the good news is that one European country has already decided not to unroll it, now if we all follow suit? I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    I’m wary of most tech — I watched “Terminator” at a very impressionable age. Make of that what you will 🙂

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing: Grr…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Scott says:

    Ya, been hearing about 5G and potential or rather probable disasters – animal and insect life and so on … human life as well. It’s a licence to speed towards unnecessary early deaths – Orwellian indeed. So, do we have a choice in going 5G? I think we do – we can settle for 3G or 4G and say no the ISP’s or whatever they’re called and not be swayed by what they say – better connection, better speed, better this that and everything – NO. Thanks Pam – whew, I enjoyed my little rant. Thanks for this excellent post ..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cath says:

    You’ve created such a good line of causality here, and I think ‘do we have a choice’ is exactly the question we should but don’t stop to ask.
    Perhaps I also took Orwell seriously. It was a powerful novel, and despite the specifics of the year, so many of his ideas seem to be creeping up on us. I think you’ve given legs to my nightmares, but thanks. This is such a good read.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Ally Bean says:

    Amen, sister. You’re preaching to the choir here. Let’s slow down technological ‘advancement’ so that we can fully understand the impact it has on our daily lives. Change is being tossed on us humans at a rate unparalleled in history. I didn’t know any of the 5G issues, but not surprised. Sad, but not surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

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