Speaker Series

Insights into Fifth Generation (5G) Radiofrequency Radiation

By Meg Sears

Beyond the rainbow is an invisible spectrum of waves. Innumerable inventions in today’s electrified world are exposing the entire biosphere to an increasing glare of novel “light.”

Most spectacular is radiofrequency radiation or RFR–the eletromagnetic signals used in wireless communication. This range of radiofrequency is poised to fuel the fifth generation or 5G broadband. Coming soon, we will have an Orwellian vision of what is now termed the Internet of Things, transmitting data via wireless signals from and to tens or hundreds of billions of devices. Information about everything from social media, email and phone calls, shopping, banking, building controls and security, to the state of your baby’s diaper or supplies in your refrigerator will all be at your fingertips. If done wirelessly, this could swamp our world in an unprecedented intensity of RFR.

All life on this planet evolved with certain electromagnetic radiation (EMR), such as visible light, but the Earth’s atmosphere provides natural protection from cosmic-sourced radiation. The 20th Century brought electrification and lower frequency EMR. By mid-century higher frequencies were introduced and used in radar, military and emergency response radio communications, and radio and television broadcasting. These signals have wavelengths long enough to travel through the earth and buildings.

Communication rapidly advanced from dots and dashes, to radio with music and news. Then during the 1960s, black and white television advanced to colour TV. Broadcasts were transmitted using radiofrequency radiation in the lower frequency bands, that traversed great distances. Everyone listened or watched programs at the same time.

Early wireless communication connected ham radio operators, drivers in vehicles via citizen band, and the 1970s brought the first cellular phone. The size of a brick, it cost thousands of dollars and had battery power for a half-hour conversation.

Fast forward: today’s devices are smaller, lighter and faster, with longer-lasting batteries and many capabilities. Successive generations brought about the smart phone with its texting, Wi-Fi, Internet, live streaming, and full business integration. The fifth generation, 5G, is marketed to reach into all details of our lives, connecting everything with the “Internet of Things.”

Within this current generation, humans have increased their use of radiofrequency radiation exponentially. We no longer gather around the television set at a designated time. Instead, we stream on demand. From 2016 to 2017, the number of mobile phones in Canada increased 3%, mobile data increased 30% but television viewing diminished substantially. A program that was previously broadcast a few times is now being transmitted thousands or millions of times, to single-user screens. A substantial portion of that transmission is broadcast wirelessly.

To keep up with this demand for more data and higher speeds, 3G and 4G wireless are being used more intensively and 5G will expand to higher frequencies with millimeter scale wavelengths. Along with tens of thousands of satellites hovering above the earth and large antennae on towers, small cell intensive antennae are being densely deployed along streets in certain cities, closer to users. 

This ever-increasing electronic noise is biologically harmful and degrades the quality of transmissions along telephone wires. The RFR also disrupts the finely-tuned biochemistry of life, damages cells, causes dysfunction and cancer, impairs development and can lead to chronic ill health with ongoing exposure. Some people develop electromagnetic hypersensitivity. 

Radiofrequency radiation impacts all life forms. Most obviously, trees close to cell towers suffer damage on the side closest to the tower, then die prematurely. When the wavelength matches the size of small creatures such as insects, as will happen with millimetre waves, the likely result will be substantial damage and death. 
Magnetite, found in microbes, insects, mollusks, fish, birds and mammals, is a mineral that allows organisms to detect magnetic fields. Birds and insects, with magnetite above their beaks and in their abdomens, get lost when exposed to radiofrequency radiation. Birds get disoriented in cities, and bees don’t return to hives. We don’t know the role of magnetite in human brains, but this mineral may be partially implicated in damage associated with RFR emitted by cell phones.

In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC, convened a panel of experts who concluded that RFR possibly causes cancer in humans (Group 2B). Since then, the particular types of tumours associated with cell phones are increasing in young adults, and cases are reported of breast cancer where cell phones were carried in bras. Further analysis of human data and three new, large animal studies, lead experts to conclude that RFR definitely causes cancer. If a similar expert panel were convened today, it would most probably conclude that RFR is a known human carcinogen (Group 1, which includes tobacco smoke and asbestos). RFR is a high priority for re-evaluation in the IARC 2020-2024 workplan.

Cancer is the long-term culmination of cellular damage, inflammation and the breakdown of protective mechanisms in the body. Other contributors include adverse chemical exposures, poor diet and stressors, but the fact that radiofrequency radiation is biologically active and causes harm is now beyond debate. 
It may be hard to disentangle effects of radiofrequency radiation from those of screen time and lifestyle in people, yet animal studies demonstrate damage in the brain and organs, and impairment (e.g., memory and balance) in animals exposed to RFR early in life.

If a human foetus is exposed to higher levels of RFR, the child is more likely to exhibit poor behaviour and learning. 

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) recommends limited the use of wireless devices to address the effects of screen time on social interactions. Children fare better with undistracted attention from parents and other caregivers when they do not have to compete with electronics. Unlike measures in some European, American and other jurisdictions (e.g., Cyprus) to limit children’s exposure, the CPS does not yet mention harmful effects of RFR, nor advise minimizing exposure. 

Schools that were early adopters of the Internet installed cable and wired connections, but those have largely been abandoned in favour of Wi-Fi. Following the introduction of Wi-Fi, some students and teachers began experiencing excruciating headaches, cardiac arrhythmia and other adverse effects. There is no evidence that educational outcomes improved with wireless connectivity. 

Radiofrequency radiation impairs male fertility, as sperm quantity and vitality are reduced when cell phones are in pockets and laptops on laps. Some fertility clinics query the use of wireless devices.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Beyond the fringes of the colours of visible light, at lower frequency we feel the heat of infrared radiation. Beyond vibrant red through yellow and blue to violet, are higher frequency ultraviolet, then x-rays and gamma rays. 

Light–indeed, all electromagnetic radiation (EMR)–behaves both as a wave and as a particle, called the “wave-particle duality.” Electromagnetic radiation travels like a wave at the speed of light, so higher frequencies have shorter wavelengths. 

Electromagnetic radiation also behaves as particles called photons. A single photon of high-frequency ionizing radiation, such as X-rays and gamma rays, can remove an electron from an atom, creating a charged atom called an ion. The first recognized hazard of radiation, such as X-rays, was burns, but even low doses of ionizing radiation harms cells, and DNA damage leads eventually to cancer. 
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This powerful radiation is now carefully engineered for medical and scientific applications.
At the far end of the scale, the extremely low frequency Schumann Resonances, starting at 8 cycles per second or Hertz (Hz) and higher, have a wavelength approximately the circumference of the Earth or a fraction (half, third, etc.). See diagram above. This is resonance of EMF pulses from lightning channelled beneath the ionosphere high in the atmosphere. 
Tips to reduce your exposure to radiofrequency radiation

• Wireless transmissions should not be the standard. Fibre-optic cable is more secure, reliable and resilient, requires less energy to transmit signals and results in no RFR. Demand and install wired infrastructure whenever and wherever possible.

• Distance is your friend with wireless devices. Keep phones, tablets, etc. away from your head and body, and off your lap.

• Use text messaging instead of voice calls whenever possible.

• Make only short or essential calls on cell phones, using speaker phone or an air tube headset.

• Power off phones and personal digital devices, or set on airplaine mode. Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Data, Mobile Hotspot and Location.

• Avoid charging phones and devices near beds.

• Use corded (not cordless) home phones, wired (not wireless) whenever possible, especially for lengthy conversations.
• Pre-download videos and music rather than streaming.
• Minimize the number of apps running on wireless devices.
• Choose wired Internet connections over wireless systems.
• If Wi-Fi cannot be eliminated, put the Wi-Fi router on a timer to turn off when not needed (especially while sleeping).

For additional articles on radiocommunication, go to and

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A Gardener’s Perspective on Biodiversity

by Peter Fuller

When I first moved to the three acres which would eventually become my native plant nursery, it was not much more than a farm field that had been ignored for many years. Wet spots made planting and harvesting awkward.  Although there were plants, birds and insects, I felt that this land lacked something that I had difficulty putting into words.  I enjoy detail and complexity for their own sake, but the field felt impoverished because it was not very productive in terms of agricultural food production.  The entire network of organisms had been depleted and suppressed.

Over the next several years, I planted hundreds of trees, created seasonal ponds in the wet areas, introduced an area of granite boulders taken from old fence rows to build a rock garden, planted a naturalized buffer zone between the nursery and nearby farm fields, made compost and filled beds with native perennials, grasses and shrubs. I grew as many things as possible from local seed sources.

Changes occurred faster than I had anticipated.  I remember one day when I noticed that there seemed to be a great number of many species of dragonflies flying around, and the ponds were surrounded by plants that had naturally seeded themselves.  Other obvious newcomers were frogs in the ponds, turtles on the lawn, mallards nesting nearby, snakes in the rock garden, birds visiting during spring and fall migrations and butterflies in the gardens. The colorful perennials had all started to bloom.  Year after year, the number and variety of organisms continued to expand.  The land was experiencing a rapid growth in biodiversity.
Biodiversity encompases the variation among and within populations in an interconnected web of organisms. It includes not only the relationships easily seen among plants and animals but also those involving fungi, soil organisms and bacteria.  And it pays special attention to the genetic diversity within a given population.
Why does biodiversity matter to a gardener? Besides the aesthetic considerations of varieties within a landscape, the very existence of life depends on biodiversity. Of greatest interest to gardeners is the idea that biodiversity provides balance and resilience.

In any complex network or system, the number of participants and the multiple paths they can follow to achieve what they need (for example, food, shelter, reproduction) provide checks and balances to the whole system so that extremes are avoided. High biodiversity provides this naturally balanced environment.  
As an illustration of this, I am reminded of something that occured in my nursery. One day, I found several pots of Penstemon seedlings covered with aphids. Despite resolving to do something about this, I only returned several days later, as I was swamped by other tasks. The trays were in the nursery with hundreds of other species and accessible to all types of flying insects. When I examined the plants the second time, there were hoverfly larvae (Syrphidae) all over these leaves gobbling up the aphids, and when I finally had time to take action a few days after that, the apparent crisis was over and there was nothing for me to do. Growing the plants within a diversified environment had let the ecosystem balance the situation. This does not mean intervention is never required. Gardens by their very nature are somewhat artificial, but the more biodiverse a system is, the more ways there are for it to balance itself.

Changes to climate patterns are of special concern because they require adaptation by all organisms. Future conditions may be very different and unpredictable. Within any given population, genetic diversity means that certain individuals will be able to adapt better, so having a high degree of diversity at the outset means the web is more resilient in the long term. 

The easiest way for gardeners to participate in increasing this resilience is to grow plants from seed and to grow those plants that interact in interdependent ways with soil organisms, insects, birds, and animals.
My special area of interest has been promoting the use of native plants in garden settings, since they are so well suited to fitting into the web of organisms in any given area. I limit the use of cultivars in my garden and I keep starting plants from seed, even when vegetative division (cutting or splitting) is easy, so that genetic diversity is constantly encouraged.

Whenever possible I use locally collected seeds. I have developed a network of neighbours with woodlots, fields and wetlands where I can collect seed to establish stock plants in the nursery’s gardens. I practise ethical seed collection by obtaining permission from property owners, and I never collect seed from rare or endangered plant populations and I only take a maximum of 10% of the existing seed. Collecting from different individuals provides genetic diversity among the next generation of plants.

Much of the seed from my local flora in eastern Ontario needs a cold/moist period to break seed dormancy. I sow seeds in sheltered places in pots that are sunk in the ground and mulched with leaves. I put most pots into plastic bags to retain moisture, but pots of shrub/tree seeds can attract rodents, so I use a covering of hardware cloth for these or place them in an unheated building.  Pots in bags must not be in direct sunlight and the bags must be removed in the spring. The seeds can be placed in the fridge in damp vermiculite for a few months using resealable plastic bags.  

My seed collecting starts in the spring as the woodland bursts into a frenzy of blooming before the canopy closes over. Most of these spring flowers (Trillium, Bloodroot, Hepatica, Wild Ginger, etc.) produce abundant seed but they are moist and cannot be allowed to dry out. I watch for pods and fruits starting to break open. I store the cleaned seeds immediately in damp vermiculite in resealable plastic bags in a dark place, such as a cool cupboard.  Starting in November, I provide the seeds with a cold and moist period (outside during the winter in pots or a garden bed is best, but inside a fridge is an alternative).

Many of the meadow and wetland plants produce dry seed heads, which turn brown when ready and stay on the plant for some time. I clean and store these dry until I sow them in November.  Fleshy fruits, such as those of elder, raspberries, dogwood, and viburnum, can be easily extracted by mashing the fruit inside a plastic bag and then washing the contents using a sieve. I do not allow nuts to dry out. I mix them with damp vermiculite and store the bags either in the fridge or in bins of leaves outside. I shake cones inside a tin to dislodge their seeds. Seeds seem to be everywhere in the autumn, and I spend a number of days collecting, cleaning, labeling and storing them. Frozen wetlands become accessible in the winter allowing for easy seed collection from sedges, wild iris and shrubs.

After a long winter, April is much anticipated. Seed bags come out of the fridge and their contents are sown in pots or in the ground.  Inevitably some pots reveal no growth, but I keep them shaded and moist and wait to see if they will produce anything the following spring. 

Propagation is one of the most satisfying experiences of gardening and always full of surprises. It may take a year or two to get to know the preferences of a particular species, but seed propagation produces an endless supply of garden plants and brings with it a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the local flora.
Increasing the biodiversity of the landscape around the nursery has greatly improved its productivity in so many ways, not just in terms of food for people. A balanced and resilient network of organisms allows nature to produce all the benefits of a healthy system: soils are fed and improved, matter and energy cycled and water cleaned. Living things in all their diverse forms flourish.

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Fermentation, Self Reliance in Food Preparation

by Rosemary Tayler

On September 17, 2017  Earth Haven Farm and Learning Centre hosted a hands-on workshop on fermentation basics presented by Lorraine Schmid. With a background in nutrition, Lorraine owns and operates Thyme Again Gardens, an organic farm and Bed and Breakfast in Prince Edward County. For the past several years she has been experimenting with ferments made from all sorts of veggies.

She began her talk with an introduction to the health benefits of ferments. Not only do probiotics found in fermented vegetables help with digestion in the gut, they also contribute to overall bowel health, increase levels of certain B vitamins and vitamin K and assist in the detoxification of unwanted substances. Those people who eat well balanced meals including daily doses of ferments tend to be less depressed and more mentally alert. She pointed out that pickling veggies in vinegar does not have the same benefits as fermentation.

Lorraine then outlined several key factors one needs to follow when making ferments:

  1. No oxygen. Fermentation takes place in an anaerobic environment. One must press out all the air in the glass container and keep the veggies under the brine.

  2. Prepare the veggies as soon as possible after harvest. This way they have more moisture content than if they were stored for several days after being harvested.

  3. The brine must be at room temperature. The cooler the temperature, the slower the fermentation process.

  4. Tasting the ferment throughout the process helps determine when it is complete. The more sour the better.

  5. Reverse osmosis or filtered water makes a better ferment. Chlorinated water kills the probiotics.

  6. Unrefined sea salt is recommended as it is full of minerals and supports probiotic bacteria.

  7. Organic or biodynamic produce is preferred. Herbicides kill the good bacteria that contribute to the fermentation process. Thin skinned carrots do not need to be peeled.

  8. When fermenting veggies, keep them out of direct sunlight.

After this brief introduction, we then proceeded into the kitchen and started chopping up veggies and placing them (“massaging”) in a room temperature brine at the work stations. This practical hand-on session gave participants the confidence and knowledge needed to make their own ferments at home. Lorraine also demonstrated how to make Kombucha from a starter ferment called “Scoby” and Earl Grey black tea. The word scoby is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.

From a biodynamic perspective, Lorraine Schmid shared how it is better to make ferments when the moon is waning and in a fire sign, both of which occurred on that particular day. She always notes this lunar information on her labels together with the list of ingredients so she can better track the outcomes.  Another suggestion she shared is to undertake fermentation tasks with a happy disposition and not be in a rush. “Putting lots of love in what you do every day helps set the intention for a positive outcome,” she added."

For more information contact Thyme Again Gardens at


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Review of Titia Posthuma's Talk on the Essence of Nutrition in Agriculture

by Rosemary Tayler, March 20, 2017

On Sunday, March 19, Titia Posthuma, a dedicated biodynamic farmer and teacher in Eastern Ontario, shared her insights and understanding on the connections between nutrition and agriculture at the Earth Haven Learning Centre in Thomasburg, Ontario. Ms Posthuma looked at this subject from several perspectives including human, animal, plant and soil nutrition.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting references made during the workshop was the TED Talk by Rob Knight called “How our microbes make us who we are.” During his talk, Knight emphasizes that microbes in and on human beings affect behaviour, health and well being.

I was reminded about how similar the beneficial relationship between humans and microbes is to how plants rely on microbes in the soil for nutrients. In fact this plant/microbe relationship is also mutually beneficial. The plant produces sugars made through photosynthesis in the leaves; these sugars are transported down the stem and into the fine root hairs where the microbes can access them. In exchange, these microbes provide nitrogen-rich organic nutrients which the plant needs for building proteins and other substances. And again I heard that the nitrogen supplied by fertilizers does not have the same biological qualities as nitrogen supplied by these microbes.

Another point I noted in the workshop was the observation that animals such as cows have a cognitive ability to be selective in what they choose to eat. For example, cows can select higher quality grain over lower quality grain. Humans need to be more discerning in their choice of foods.

Ms. Posthuma shared that Rudolf Steiner, who introduced the basic philosophical and practical methods for biodynamic agriculture in the 1920s, claimed that complete digestion includes the full breakdown of ingested foods and the full rebuilding of essential nutrients.

This digestive process in humans is somewhat similar to the annual decomposing and rebuilding processes that go on in topsoil. In summer and fall, the leaves start to decompose and form a nutrient and microbial rich layer called humus. Plants with deeper roots, such as trees, bring minerals up from the subsoil and over time these minerals make their way into the stable humus layer and are passed on into the microbes and surrounding plants, and ultimately into animals and humans.

The workshop closed with this emphasis on building stable humus with lots of organic matter. This stable humus is a way of building microbial housing so to speak and must include a balance of both bacteria and fungi. One of the key messages I took away from this talk was that as farmers and gardeners we need to is grow more soil. The quality and health of our soils and its microbes is directly linked to our own health and well being.

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