Want a safe space? Say NO to Wi-Fi

When my husband and I moved to this island a few years ago, one of the attractions was the idea that we could go out for a coffee and sit by the sea.  We like to look out over the water, to watch the light play on the waves and the fishing boats.  There isn’t a lot to do on an island, and one of the main social activities is meeting friends for coffee or a drink in a seaside or mountain village, to chat and take in the view.

These days, there’s a problem with having coffee out.  There are plenty of cafes, but they all have Wi-Fi.  So if we want to go out, it means that we have to sit in the Wi-Fi and be irradiated, surrounded by people on their smartphones.  The trouble is, Wi-Fi isn’t healthy.  We no longer feel relaxed and comfortable sitting in these places.  As a result, we don’t go out nearly as often as we used to.

If you want to know just how unhealthy Wi-Fi is, look for sparrows,  We used to have lots and lots of sparrows on this island.  The main square in town was full of them.  They used to come and perch on the chairs and tables at all the cafes. cheeping, picking up crumbs, the male sparrows displaying to impress the females.  We took them for granted, because they were always there.  All the village squares had sparrows, too.  They lived in the trees, or nested in the roof-tiles of nearby buildings.  They were part of the scenery.

In 2012, the town installed public Wi-Fi in the main square.  About the same time, all the cafes began advertising free Wi-Fi.  This didn’t make much of an impression on us, as neither of us owned a smartphone and weren’t interested in downloading anything while we sat there.  However, it wasn’t long before the sparrows started disappearing.  By 2013, there were fewer of them.  By 2014, even fewer.  By 2015, only a very few were left.  Now there are none at all.

It’s the same in other parts of the island.  Wherever there is public Wi-Fi, or where there are cafes and restaurants that have outdoor Wi-Fi, all the sparrows have disappeared, or there are very few left.  Seaside or mountain, the sparrows have gone.  They haven’t just gone somewhere else, either.  They haven’t moved away from the Wi-Fi into back streets or the nearby countryside.  I know; I’ve looked for them.  We have very few sparrows left on the island.

Non-ionizing radiation from cell towers and Wi-Fi causes oxidative stress and damages DNA.  For the sparrows, that means that year after year, they have failed to breed successfully.  If a species cannot breed successfully, it dies out.  That’s what’s happened to the sparrows.  So ask yourself, if Wi-Fi can do that to sparrows, what is it doing to people who spend all their time in Wi-Fi?

The owners of the cafes tell me they have to have Wi-Fi because the tourists demand it.  Often, they demand to know the Wi-Fi access number as soon as they sit down, before they’ve even looked at a menu or ordered something to eat or drink.  Without Wi-Fi, they tell me, the tourists won’t come. The tourists don’t know that there used to be sparrows.  We do, though.  And the demise of the sparrows is a clear warning: Wi-Fi is unhealthy; it is dangerous.

If I go out somewhere, I want to feel relaxed and secure.  I want to enjoy myself.  I don’t want to breathe in noxious traffic fumes or pollution from a nearby factory.  One of the main attractions of a Greek island is that you tend to have a clean environment; there aren’t any factories, nor much traffic. But now, Wi-Fi is everywhere.  And this means there is no place to go where we can feel relaxed and safe.

I’m waiting for the day when people don’t say, “What’s the Wi-Fi access code?”  Instead they will ask, “Is this place Wi-Fi free?” before they decide to sit down and patronize the establishment.  Then there will be places we can go where we don’t have to pay to be irradiated.  Then we might start going out more.

The design on the sticker pictured below is available on other products including T-shirts and  tote bags.  Check out the “Protest against Wi-Fi” collection for a variety of messages that oppose Wi-Fi.  The links to the shop can be found on the Home Page.


Screenshot_2018-11-13 Want a safe space Say NO to Wi-Fi sticker

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