A recent study of bumblebees that has received a lot of media attention claims that climate change is driving them extinct. The Daily Mail says, “Species extinctions across both Europe and North America are caused by hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures.” The scientists who did the study said, “We found that bumblebees were disappearing in areas where the temperature had gotten hotter.”
Wait a minute. There are two problems here. The first is the assumption that higher temperatures kill insects and other species. The second is that correlation (higher temperatures and fewer bumblebees coincide) is not causation (the higher temperatures are killing the bumblebees because…). Sorry, but that’s bad science. There may be other reasons why there were fewer bumblebees in hotter areas. Did the scientists look for those reasons? And what is the mechanism by which higher temperatures kill bumblebees? How do higher temperatures kill them? How much hotter are we talking about?
I find this interesting because I live in a hot climate. In summer, temperatures can soar to 45 degrees C (about 115 F) and it doesn’t seem to affect the insects. I mean, the bumblebees don’t just keel over and die, though I may feel as though I’m melting. The fact is, hot climates tend to have many more insects than colder ones. Think tropical jungles compared to England in summer.
The bumblebee paper directly contradicts another paper which also received a lot of media attention a couple of years ago, when German scientists released the results of a 27-year study done on nature reserves throughout Germany. Since 1989, when the study began, they found that 75% of flying insect biomass had disappeared—and it wasn’t due to climate change. A warmer climate, they said, should have resulted in more insects, not fewer insects. The sorts of climate variables that would affect insects would be such things as prolonged drought (insects get thirsty, too) or a lack of sunshine, especially in low temperatures.
So what did kill flying insects on German nature reserves? Not climate change. Not land use. Possibly pesticide runoff, though pesticides aren’t used on nature reserves. What else could cause such huge declines? What the German scientists did not look at, and what the scientists studying bumblebees did not look at, was cell tower proliferation.
There is a wealth of scientific literature conducted by independent scientists and published in peer-reviewed journals showing that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell towers harms insects. * It damages their DNA. It makes them sterile and unable to reproduce. It causes oxidative stress, which makes them more susceptible to disease and environmental contaminants. So why didn’t the scientists who conducted these two studies take EMR into consideration along with other factors?
There are two reasons for that. Governments and telecoms are busy promoting wireless technologies—the “race to 5G”—and they don’t want to hear that EMR is killing off all the wildlife. So they don’t make funding available to scientists who want to study the effects of EMR, while they generously fund the scientists who want to study the effects of climate change. This skews the picture. Also, the media is heavily funded by the telecoms companies who advertise their products in newspapers and on television.
As a result, whenever anything goes wrong, people immediately assume climate change is to blame. How this happens—what the mechanism is—remains unexplained. Yet perhaps a bit more carbon in the atmosphere isn’t a bad thing: all life on earth is carbon-based, from trees to insects. Recent NASA satellite data shows that in the past 35 years, when atmospheric carbon rose about 25 parts per million, the parts of the earth with vegetation got a lot greener**. That’s got to be good for wildlife. Nonetheless, something is causing huge species decline everywhere.
Recently, the city of Bristol announced a state of emergency because its wildlife is disappearing so rapidly. This includes birds, bees and mammals—even hedgehogs—while birds such as swifts and starlings have almost entirely vanished. Bristol City Council blames climate change (of course) and has vowed to make Bristol a carbon-neutral city in future. Will that save its wildlife? What other than climate change could be causing the decline in Bristol’s wildlife?
Well, the city could consider the effects of EMR. Not only does Bristol have 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, it was also the first city in the UK to start testing 5G—since 2017, in fact, when it began testing 5G and self-driving cars at Bristol University. Since then, there has been a city-wide trial of 5G in July 2018, a “smart” tourist project that began in tourist areas since March 2018, and Vodafone has had active 5G service since July of 2019 in some parts of the city.
Is there a connection between Bristol’s 5G and its sudden decline in wildlife? There could well be. But it would need a city council with open minds to employ scientists with open minds and adequate funding to get to the truth of the matter. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming climate change for everything and look at cell towers, too?
*check out these two sites, for starters: www.electronicsilentspring.com/primers/wildlife/wireless-devices-wildlife/ and https://mdsafetech.org/environmental-and-wildlife-effects/