NOVA Magazine is available in hard copy in Western Australia as well as online (free!). Thank you NOVA –
Review by Margaret Evans
Our new world of 24/7 connectivity brings with it an increasingly striking paradox – the fact that we have the world at our fingertips as we browse, network, email, text or stream movies set against the growing awareness that we are surrounding ourselves in electromagnetic smog.
The community demand for ever faster download speeds and better mobile phone coverage seem to suggest most people will opt for connection over safety. But there are others like Benjamin Nowland, author of Playing God: Biological and Spiritual Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation who, like the canary in the coalmine, are becoming aware that these amazing advances of the 21st century have a downside.
In Benjamin’s case, it was the move to inner city Sydney in 2013 that precipitated acute symptoms of electromagnetic radiation pollution sickness and profoundly affected his physical, mental and spiritual health. His extensive research has shown him he unfortunately fits into the 3-5% of people hypersensitive to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) while it’s estimated another 35% are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, often without realising it.
I have to admit when I first picked up Playing God I was tempted to dismiss the author’s claims as excessive, perhaps a little too influenced by the frenetic pace of life as he sampled Sydney’s exciting innercity lifestyle. But the doubts soon dissolved as it became apparent this intelligent, (Benjamin’s varied achievements include an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, as well as certification as an environmental manager, health practitioner and yoga teacher) healthy young man was indeed suffering puzzling symptoms of anxiety, headaches, insomnia and fatigue that began within a few weeks of moving into his Potts Point apartment.
Ironically, his own mobile phone navigation and internet had enabled him to organise eight apartment inspections in one day!
It was only after his symptoms cleared during a three day break in the countryside that Benjamin began to have second thoughts about his urban pad, doubts that crystallized when he stepped out onto his rooftop deck to notice for the first time the array of telco antennas beaming down on him. After four months of severe decline he realised he needed to get away from the electromagnetic smog of the city to a country retreat he calls a Zero EMF Sanctuary. It’s a dark period the author refers to as his Sydney EMF experiment with himself “simultaneously microwaved chimpanzee and the observer”.
As well as a deeply personal tale of his own journey back to wellness from some dark times when normal activities like going into a shopping centre or WiFi enabled café or flying were out of the question, Playing God raises some very serious concerns about the impact of EMR on community health.
It’s alarming to read how mobile phone towers are routinely camouflaged earth green and hidden behind tall pine trees or even in church crosses – something the author calls “stealth technology”. They are omnipresent – just in my own regional city the other day the central block was closed to traffic as a crane was brought in to work on a tower atop a department store. How much more alarming when children or churchgoers are being exposed to microwave radiation from a tower that’s hidden from view!
The author describes a truly chilling experiment called Project Pandora in which chimpanzees were trained to perform specific tasks while exposed to power levels lower than the US limit for humans. For the first week, working 10 hours a day, the chimps successfully completed their tasks. By the 12th day, they’d slowed down and on day 13 the test animal stopped working altogether and appeared to be in a deep sleep for two days until the radiation was turned off. After five working days with no radiation, the signal was again turned on. This time, the chimp slowed down after eight days before stopping and slipping into a deep sleep. When the signal was switched off three days later, the chimp “did not return to normal”. The results led to a new code name for the experiment, Project Bizarre.
It’s sobering enough when it’s a chimp that’s so damaged in this way. How much more worrying for our kids and grandkids who pick up their tablet or even mobile phone when it’s time to play.
Playing God is a wake up call to all of us addicted to our various devices. Its underlying message is to become aware of the true cost of this 24/7 convenience and take steps to limit the damage, both to ourselves and others, most importantly children.