Alert: Wifi & GMO Apples

The link below takes you to an excellent and clear article that shows you even more ways I hadn’t heard of till now that increasing use of wifi and all our devices is contributing to increases in serious illness. It’s pretty scary stuff, so all the more reason to keep up the fight against even more EMF pollution that will come from 5G. You’ll also see that we need to use Europe’s model to help us convince leaders that this must not continue. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s insane to keep going on this path. Here’s the article, by Diane Testa, PhD, on the EMF Safety Network site:

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/what-do-gmos-and-wi-fi-have-in-common/#more-14621

Smart Meters

Susan Cooke

Along with 5G we now have SMART METERS–not a good thing

I’m hoping my messages on 5G are beginning to get to more people so they understand what’s coming, since the federal government seems to have no interest in discussing it with them. I’ll get back to fighting 5G  in the next post. Meanwhile I’m sorry to report that we now also have Smart Meters to contend with. I learned about them first from the EMF Safety Network, which urges us to oppose them along with 5G—and I only learned about these new utility meters this week. (You can look at home now to check whether you have one—check your meters for  electric, water, and gas. You want to keep “analog” meters, and resist having them swapped for smart meters.) We’ve now written letters to our utilities begging them not to replace our meters with smart ones, not that we expect that to go over well.

After we wrote our letters, I discovered the pages at a link below from the site, “Stop Smart Meters.org.” that have more explicit directions on how to fight this supposed improved technology. I suggest having a look at those if you’re not up on the plans for us that we once again had no say in. If you look at the photos on both pages, you can see some examples of what the meters look like (they don’t all look the same). It appears the meter often says “smart meter” right on it, but might also say AMI or AMR, or maybe even other labels we don’t know about yet so check your meters, and if it’s not clear, call that utility and ask. You have the right to know if you’ve got smart meters or not. Here are those links:

https://stopsmartmeters.org/frequently-asked-questions/faq-smart-meter-basics/

EMF Safety Network says utility companies worldwide are replacing analog electric, gas, and water meters with “pulsed radiation smart meter networks.” This despite known health effects already, no informing of the public about the change, not mentioning the possibilities for much easier hacking (which apparently is a known problem with 5G in general already), and privacy invasion. The meters by the way eliminate meter reader jobs, provide information on your private habits such as when you cook, watch TV, have lights on or not, and whether you are at home or not. EMF Safety says California utilities have admitted giving this information to the government and other third parties! As for health effects, on the same page I linked you to above, be sure to read what’s under the heading “Health Hazard,” but I mention some (not all) effects further down.

To be clear, Big Government and Big Tech are now adding smart meter networks, along with 5G, just about everywhere, to the growing soup of radio frequencies (RFs) we’re being forced to swim in, with no healthcare protests even allowed to be considered in the case of 5G, and I rather doubt my and my husband’s own requests not to get smart meters will be fulfilled. So you cannot ask not to have one of the 5G small cell towers near your home for health reasons. (Well, you can ask, and we plan to, but the law allows your pleas to be ignored.) This has already thrown people all over the country into a panic, with some taking difficult and expensive steps to try to shield themselves or their sick children, or grappling with the idea of moving. But where can you move that will be free of this stuff–a mountaintop somewhere? Nope, they’re going to beam 5G from satellites, unless we stop them. Oh, and there’s a plan to put it in babies’ diapers.

Are you worried about complications or new health issues already associated with chronic bombardment from all this RF? Already turning off Wifi at night because you suspect or know your symptoms are likely wifi-related and feel you surely won’t be able to handle even more with 5G or the effects of smart meters added to the load? Too bad for you. Big Tech and Big Government don’t care about your headaches, auto-immune issues, pacemaker issues, or increasing anxiety and/or depression. Both the latter two are rampant in the U.S. population already, and just the fact that people are being bullied can add greatly to both their anxiety and depression, aside from the stress of fear of health effects. Most people care about the planet too, unlike the current White House, and many are already depressed as they watch it continue on its path toward destruction by climate change due to–again–ego, greed, and impulsivity most people over the age of seven would not dare allow in themselves once they knew what was at stake.

So know that those in charge already know many of us will ask not to have a tower near our homes for health reasons, and they’re therefore gotten ahead of us by making a law that lets them say “Tough luck, you’re getting it anyway.” So we’ll have effects of smart meters and 5G at home as well as at work, in stores, in restaurants, and, if the spread of them increases as planned, everywhere we go–outside, inside, home, and on vacation. It sounds to me as if there will be nowhere to escape. I’d be delighted if someone convinced me I’m mistaken about this, but if you read the news stories and comments of many scientists not in favor of these changes so far, it’s hard to be convinced.

Don’t look to the President, top FCC officials, or Big Tech companies for answers. It looks like they’ll all be getting richer and/or getting huge ego kicks out of making our country the lead World Tech Power with this stuff. Why do we all have to suffer–even if we don’t end up having health effects–with having the fear of them, so those few people can grab some extra wealth and what they see as glory (I guess)? That’s insane and clearly those people have enough money and power already. Yes the US is competing with China and other countries also adding this technology, countries who also shouldn’t have begun using it either. But this is such an enormous health (and privacy and hackability) issue that all populations should have been consulted with and informed before any changes were made (not likely in China but in matters of health and wellbeing dictators including the current US tone seem the least trustworthy of all).

This rollout should never have begun without the people’s consent due to the stunningly irresponsible lack of testing, lack of knowledge about future effects, and the widespread plans nevertheless to put it everywhere–and quickly. (What’s the hurry? “Quickly” adopted new technology didn’t work so well for Boeing, did it?) These self-interested entities have no answers for you as to the possible damage because they have no idea themselves, or they do have an idea, and unbelievably, especially if they have children or grandchildren, they don’t care. It’s clear that it’s up to the people to stop it.

The EMF Safety group says the World Health Organization categorizes RF as a 2B carcinogen, the same as DDT and lead, adding that thousands of studies have linked RF exposure to increased cancer risk and nervous system damage, to name a couple (there’s a link to more on their page). Pulsed radiation from smart meters has already caused tinnitus, memory loss, and seizures, and further down the page you can see a litany of customer complaints including headaches, sleep problems, anxiety, palpitations, dizziness, nausea, ear pain, and more. This same page also reports something especially significant:  the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has already called for a halt to wireless smart meters.

Groups especially vulnerable to RF health issues include pregnant women, seniors, people with known EMF sensitivities, medical implants, compromised immune systems, and those with pacemakers, who were warned by one organization to stay at least 6 inches away from all smart meters. (I imagine this would be hard to remember at all times, especially if the pacemaker patient is older as they often are, and might not be able to read the meter from 6 inches, even with glasses or a magnifying glass).

The page on smart meters also reports home fires, explosions, and burnt out appliances. See that page for details on all this as well as how costs will increase, and just how smart meters will work. Look further down to see how Californians have struggled with trying not to have, or to get rid of, Smart Meters.

The EMF safety group adds that smart meters already show evidence of environmental harm (see on the page a photo of a dying shrub next to a meter). I can’t see how all this added radio frequency (when for most of the earth and living beings’ history there was none) wouldn’t harm the environment in multiple not-yet-known ways including many that may not show up for years, just as human and animal illnesses such as cancer from it may not show up for years. I can’t imagine it not affecting bees, butterflies, other insects, and birds—all of which have exceedingly complex systems that guide them on annual trips across wide distances and back, systems we don’t fully understand yet. I can’t imagine it not affecting other wildlife, farm animals and pets, and due to effects on wildlife and insects, even flowering plants and food crops.

We’re risking, along with the increased immediate negative health issues already being reported in many people, the unbalancing of many delicate environmental systems necessary for the health and survival of all living things. People in power who don’t believe in science won’t get this, which is another reason the rest of us have to speak up. We’re already causing death and destruction by not stopping all practices that delay global warming. As is so often the case many in power can’t seem to learn that just because a new technology is available doesn’t mean we need to add to the planet’s woes by rushing into using it. In many past cases new technologies should never have been allowed to be established (nuclear power—that turned out well).

Why do we not learn this? I think part of it is we’re in such a hurry to get from one minute to the next in our frantic daily lives, or simply to get rich (and/or more powerful in some cases), and get there fast, we forget to or choose not to think. Remember thinking? Admittedly not much modeling of it is going on now in our government, but it’s generally a very useful practice.

So these relatively few individuals pushing this technology on all living things on earth and on the earth itself are committing what I can only see as a criminal act. It denies us in this country, of what was, I thought, our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. How can you have a hope of being happy when you’ve lost control over your own fate, and been forced to turn your health and quite possibly your lifespan, as well as the health of the planet you likely (hopefully) love, over to a few self-interested people who grabbed some power awhile ago. Their actions are unconscionable, unethical, and immoral, .

More soon on fighting both smart meters and 5G together, but you can begin now by protesting vehemently to your reps in government at all levels. Your state or city may already have a group that’s prepared petitions and other protests. Many Californians are working on this, and there’s an active group and petition fighting 5G in Finland. You can see and translate their petition at:

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fi&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kansalaisaloite.fi%2Ffi%2Faloite%2F3844

Newest 5G information

I hope you won’t think of me as just a reporter of bad news, which I don’t want to be, but rather a reporter of news about things we can fight against when they just don’t make sense such as rushing into implementing “advances” that while exciting (and wealth-building for some people and companies) aren’t yet properly vetted for safety, like 5G. I want to make sure you get right away some of what I just learned on the site naturalhealth365.com (articles by Lori Alton and Sara Middleton). You probably know about some of the 5G warnings, and there are several posts on 5G referencing many researchers and points already. But some of this is brand new for me and I wanted get those parts out now.

First of all, Middleton explains that there’s a new order from the FCC that will streamline implementing 5G even more. See her entire article at the link below:

https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#inbox/WhctKJVJhtJDxlQKstgFHtFVhmnWtmXmwwsJHtgPHWSqfHDwxnKhrwlXkBxNpdNdKxRnkBQ

Though cities don’t seem to have much power to fight the recent steps taken to shove 5G onto all of us whether we want it or not, it looks like states might have some.  It does appear that 5G everywhere will enrich a number of companies and placate the federal government which seems to be intent on it so that the US stays economically ahead–as if 5G is the only way we can stay ahead–surely it isn’t–and despite the health risks already known about.  But as you’ll see, some of these plans make no sense given the lack of proof of safety. I do think fighting this is worth the effort. I’ve excerpted parts of two articles from the site here.

The major issues new to me are recent federal government pushes to put 5g almost everywhere. The “roll-out” is on its way despite many scientists having protested for some time. The government also plans to add 5G through wireless radiation from thousands of satellites in space, and there will soon be a whole line of homes outfitted with Alexa and myriad other “conveniences” requiring increased numbers of 5G antennae, and more bombardment of more people with intense EMF radiation. I also learned there is already a definite association with mouse brain cancer and 5G, and finally, it seems cyber-crime is made easier through all this enhanced connectivity.

Here are the article excerpts (again writers Sara Middleton and Lori Alton), with an occasional comment from me:

Existing wireless systems are already associated with cancer, reproductive problems and cognitive impairment

In peer-reviewed studies, wireless radiation from cell phone and existing 2G, 3G and 4G systems has been associated with serious adverse effects – including brain cancer, impaired fertility and cognitive problems such as learning and memory deficits.

A $25 million study conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program showed an association between 2G/3G cell phone radiation and brain cancer in rats – with the researchers noting that this represented “clear evidence of carcinogenicity.”

Since 2012, the World Health Organization has classified cellphone radiation as a Class B carcinogen.

And, EMF radiation from wireless systems has even been linked with the problem of increasing antibiotic resistance, recently labeled as a “global public health crisis” by the WHO.

Scientists join citizens in calling for further study

Natural health experts have long denounced the headlong rush to 5G – and the lack of serious studies on its effects – calling it “reckless in the extreme,” and “one of the greatest follies ever conceived of by mankind.”

In September 2017, more than 180 scientists and physicians from 35 nations signed the EU 5G Appeal, demanding a moratorium on the increase of cell/mobile antennas for planned 5G expansion.

This was followed, in 2018, by the International Appeal to Stop 5G in space and on earth. (Unbelievably, there are plans to send wifi signals from space via thousands of satellites that will douse the earth with wireless radiation.) To date, the document has garnered over 26,000 signatures from scientists, doctors, biologists, engineers and ordinary citizens.

Even politicians are beginning to realize the risks.

Last May, a Michigan State Senator, Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) testified from the Senate floor concerning the health risks of wireless technology, and the need for further study.  Colbeck urged his colleagues to vote against a pair of bills that would facilitate 5G.  However, despite his protests, both bills passed in the Michigan State Senate.

No matter what the advantages of WiFi, this 5G technology will expose us to unprecedented levels of EMF radiation – while increasing our vulnerability to cybercrime and snooping.  Few people put the risks as candidly as Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., a researcher and Harvard-educated physicist.

In a letter to the FCC, Dr. Powell wrote about the health effects of radiofrequency radiation from the coming 5G expansion.And, he didn’t mince words. “It (the 5G expansion) will irradiate everyone,” Dr. Powell predicts.

The site notes that many of the 300,000 needed new antennas are already appearing in residential areas, many close to bedrooms. It requires antennae every 300 meters.

It reports that Lennar Homes (with support from Amazon) is going to produce homes complete with 5G wifi capability to do all sorts of things including shopping much more easily, apparently not warning prospective buyers about any risks, a plan that is alarming many health experts. And “the new technology needed to support the system will intensify the EMF radiation that already bombards us, and necessitate the building of hundreds of thousands of new cellphone towers.”

Another phenomenon concerning the new pre-outfitted homes such as Lennar will build shows further issues. “…the very connectivity that makes automated homes so convenient can make them more vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals. Electromagnetic Sense Ireland, a non-profit group dedicated to exploring the effects of wireless technology on health and environment, reports a 2014 incident in which hackers created a “botnet” that hijacked 100,000 devices – including routers, smart TVs and smart refrigerators.”

So at this point it seems to me the best thing to do if this concerns you, is to write to your representatives on every level–local, state, and especially at the federal level, and say so. And turn your wifi off at night when you go to sleep for at least a little protection during part of the day. We went to some trouble to do this at our house but felt it was worth it.

A GUIDE TO (mostly) NON-GAS-POWERED LAWN CARE EQUIPMENT: The Best First Step Toward a Quieter, Greener, Less Polluted City

Susan Cooke

A GUIDE TO (mostly) NON-GAS-POWERED LAWN CARE EQUIPMENT:  The Best First Step Toward a Quieter, Greener, Less Polluted City

“Excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause  cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.”     —World Health Organization (WHO)

(Note to readers: If you’re already sold on the need for de-stressing cities by using quieter, cleaner equipment, skip to the section further down with this heading:

*What’s Available Now in Cleaner-running, Quieter Landscaping & Lawn Care Tools for Residents, Lawn Care companies, Landscapers, and Government Leaders who Hire Landscapers or Buy Equipment for the City to Use. 

However, this intro isn’t long and I recommend it if you’re got an extra minute or have some doubts about the need for change.

Why we Need to Switch

Living, driving, and eating at high speed, Americans and the many people in other countries who live as we do are buying books in droves about how to handle stress. But we can only do so much on our own as private citizens. We desperately need government leaders and others in power to help us, to recognize that many people are suffering both mentally and physically from chronic stresses. We can control some of our stress, but there’s a great deal we have no control over which those in power can help us decrease.

Loud industrial noise is a major one we must have help with. I have seen people in tears, others who have become severely depressed, and others who just can’t even begin to relax, all because the places where they used to rela –their own gardens or a nearby park–have become unbearable due to extremely loud leaf-blowers, lawnmowers, string trimmers, and all gas-powered lawn equipment being heaped onto the already loud load of city noise from diesel trucks, motorcycles, and loud cars made artificially extra-loud–all of which are rampant in my own suburban neighborhood.

Government and businesses need to know that many noise-related stressful incidents along with the damage from fumes associated with much of the equipment are under-reported. Private citizens mostly can’t control how much industrial noise or indeed any non-natural noise we’re forced to hear, which also includes flyover noise that’s increased to absurd levels, loud radios, people shouting on cell phones right next to them on a park bench, and sound system levels in stores in restaurants that are often so high they’re damaging the hearing of people who stay longer than a few minutes, and certainly the hearing of employees, while often raising blood pressures all around. (This sound system level is thought to bring in more money, and health effects rarely matter to owners buying into this notion. Many people report to me that in fact they can’t set foot in such places, and so feel more isolated than ever in our dangerously-isolated society (read the book Bowling Alone for starters). 

What will it take to get industries and individuals treating loud noise so cavalierly to pay attention?  I hope maybe thinking of their children’s futures might make a dent. Do they want them to grow up in a society where it’s normal to experience earlier-than-ever deafness, chronic anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, addiction, and suicide? In a closely-related matter, we stressed-out Americans, especially in cities, are said by researchers to very much need calming nature in our lives (it’s not calming if accompanied by industrial noise and fumes). 

For details on the effects of these noises please go to  

www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/noise

where you’ll learn that the 2018 World Health Organization Noise Guidelines for the European Region (for example), “provide strong evidence that noise is one of the top environmental hazards to both physical and mental health and wellbeing in the European Region.” 

(Note: This is of special interest because Europe generally limits noise much more than we do in the US.)

THE U.S. IS SLOW WITH RECOGNIZING NOISE DAMAGE

With exceptions here and there, The US is slow compared to some other countries in making the changes that can prevent much of this stress, changes that aren’t that onerous. We can learn a great deal from what other cities, countries and some of our own US cities already have accomplished. I write more about that elsewhere but just so you know, it includes tighter limits on when to use loud equipment (but these won’t need to be quite as tight if we all use quieter equipment), prioritizing the presence of nature with parks and planted areas, converting unused asphalt space to green space, more car-free areas, and a focus on providing more trees, plants, and natural areas in general throughout the city while protecting existing ones. 

I’m talking then about a relatively holistic approach to de-stressing people in our cities then, especially when we add nature not accompanied by noise and fumes–is that people know they have places to go where they can be at peace. A nice side effect of natural areas, especially if you add a couple of coffee shops to the area–is that it can cause a reduction in crime, especially in poorer urban neighborhoods. (See this article by CityLab): 

https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2016/04/vacant-lots-green-space-crime-research-statistics/476040/

Complicating matters is noise bullying. Those inflicting it may not always consider themselves bullies, but they need to know that due to the hostility and even violence that often results when people ask those wielding leaf-blowers to stop or at least decrease what they’re doing, most people are afraid to ask. They then suffer, feel helpless, and hopeless, and often become depressed. Many report exactly this situation to me. Yet many private users just don’t care, and yard-work business owners who claim speciously that they’ll go out of business if they switch to something cleaner and quieter just keep right on torturing everyone. So stressed Americans often can’t open windows, take care of a beloved garden, or sit on a balcony or front steps without being pummeled by long periods of noise their nervous systems were never designed to withstand. This is why we must have the help of businesses inflicting the noise, and especially of government.

Do you imagine that unrelieved chronic stress might affect human behavior?  You may already know many cities are growing quickly, and that crowding among animals can cause them to turn on each other. So doesn’t it seem likely we also need these calming measures? They surely could help to combat the current atmosphere of hostility and hatred online, as well as speeding and dangerously-rude driving on our roads, both of which I believe are at least partly caused by and also add to stress. (For more on effects of overcrowding see a number of books and articles at the link below, especially Harold Proshansky’s article “The Environmental Crisis in Human Dignity.”)

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XA8Ho_aITVoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA133&dq=psychological+effects+of+overcrowding&ots=JxPPxVqbqD&sig=nxCfFqDUf_wURW_B3QjXHrl2VeY#v=onepage&q=psychological%20effects%20of%20overcrowding&f=false

Finally, since much industrial noise and toxic fumes come from gas and diesel power, replacing or reducing use of such machinery will also help clean the soil we plant in, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.

But this post is mostly about how citizens and those in government can help by simply switching to quieter equipment that already exists. Fortunately the number of companies making quieter and cleaner non-gas equipment is growing, so we can expect even more choices in the future. So let’s get started with at least a few examples.

LAWN/YARD-CARE MACHINES TO CONSIDER

*What’s Available Now (2018) in Cleaner-running, Quieter Landscaping & Lawn Care Tools for Residents, Lawn Care companies, Landscapers, and Government Leaders who Hire Landscapers or Buy Equipment for the City to Use

I did not personally test the tools below, but gathered as much information as I could from web sites and company reps. Since I gathered this information over the past two years even more quiet machines (hopefully) and/or companies may now be available. But the issues below will help you understand what to look for when looking for effective but less crazy-making and painful-to-hear lawn care. Further down I provide detailed information on some issues you may want to know about, including decibel levels, “with cord” or cordless, what CFM and MPH mean in leaf-blowers, etc. 

A MAJOR POINT

The main point here is that we have options, and that people are so stressed already by modern life already, we can help calm their days and therefore better protect their mental and physical health a great dealby choosing/legislating to have only the least damaging-to -nerves equipment. Keep in mind that people can be and often are so badly stressed by noise that they feel depressed, anxious, and physically ill. It seems insane not to do all we can to reduce that stress, help people have a chance to boost mood through less suffering, encourage more wellness in general, and in fact quite possibly reduce crime (loud yard equipment has indeed caused violence of neighbor on neighbor) just due to getting quieter equipment and limiting its hours of use. 

Don’t forget that if you have a very small yard or space to manage, you can probably do a great deal with a rake, broom, and least powerful, of the quieter and smaller electric or manual tools should you really need them. But please note also that even electric tools can be quite irritating and loud, so do test-drive for quietness. You’ll likely get a much more accurate idea if you get another person to help you determine how loud a tool is by standing in the house or in the yard next door. Company reps have told me you can return machines to such places as Home Depot if you determine they’re still too loud at home.

I did not personally test the tools below, but gathered as much information as I could from web sites and company representatives. First is a rundown of some of what’s available, and below that I address common questions and issues concerning decibel levels, etc. If you see a term that’s unclear in the machinery section it may be explained further down. I list the company names at the top of each group of tools.

FISKARS  (for smaller spaces)

FISKARS REEL MOWERS

Fiskars has been making high quality products for a long time, so if you don’t have too much grass I’d look at their reel mowers, which range from  $100-$150. They claim their mower blades require less sharpening than most. There’s an optional grass catcher attachment for $50, and a blade maintenance kit (supposedly rarely needed) for $35.

FISKARS WEEDERS

Fiskars also makes a manual “stand-up” weeder with a nifty design that’s supposed to make weeding much easier (no loud motor). It’s so popular it’s currently out of stock as I write this. It makes no noise, requires no gas, and, Fiskars says, is easier on your back and knees than traditional weeders.

See the above at http://www2.fiskars.com/Products/Gardening-and-Yard-Care/Reel-Mowers.

EGO

Next let’s look at EGO, another company focusing on quieter lawn equipment, which claims it makes the most powerful battery-powered blowers. It uses lithium batteries and “turbine fan engineering.” 

EGO LEAF BLOWERS

At this writing EGO’s prices on various blowers, all lithium battery-powered, range from around $140 to $450.

A smallish EGO leaf blower is the Power+530 CFM leaf- blower, weighing in at 7.4 lbs including the 2.5Ah  battery. In “High Efficiency mode” it runs 75 minutes without recharging. It claims a noise rating topping out at 65 dB. EGO says it is the most powerful cordless blower in the industry. Several of their blowers appear to top out at 65 decibels which is in fact lower than many others I’ve looked at which tend to be in the 90’s range. Be sure to look at questions and reviews on each of their models both at EGO’s site and shopping sites such as Home Depot, and get the quietest one that you can given other variables such as weight.

EGO BACKPACK LEAF BLOWERS

The TLB6000 145 MPH 600 CFM 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Electric Backpack Blower—battery and charger not included” ($199), has a top level of 65 dB. Backpack leaf blowers tend to be heavier and more powerful than hand-held ones, so if it really stays at 65 dB tops that would be one to test too if you need more power than the smaller blowers have. EGO claims it’s 8 times less noisy than “popular gas blowers.” But reviewers of this product tended to have large yards, and while one said he did think the noise was indeed 8 times less, another said his wife got upset with him for using it while she was trying to take a nap—this leads me to believe it still sounds plenty noisy. Again I recommend you buy one and test it at your home and with family and neighbors. By the way if there’s a “turbo” setting on a blower, offered for tougher jobs, that’s almost certainly going to be louder.

FYI I’ve seen reviewers comment that the back pack takes time to get into so between that and possibly more noise than a hand-held it certainly seems not the best choice unless you have big clean-up jobs to do. 

Note that EGO and some other green companies often have one battery charger that works with many of their tools, so you’ll see prices for ‘With charger” and a lower one for “Without charger” which assumes you already have a charger.

EGO LAWN MOWERS

The EGObattery-powered lawn mower no. LM2101, labled “21-in. 56-volt Lithium-ion Cordless Battery Walk Behind Push Mower 5.0 Ah” with battery/charger included, cost $399 at Home Depot online the day I looked. Gerry Barnaby, EGO’s “Director of Excitement,” says its top decibel reading is 70 dB. Its run time is listed as 45 minutes. I’d definitely check out that one or any of the smaller ones whose dBs are probably even lower.

EGO STRING AND HEDGE TRIMMERS 

String trimmer ST15434 comes in a at top level of 76 dB.  Hedge trimmers seem to be harder to keep quiet, and EGO’s had a decibel level that I imagine could be tough for the neighbors (and maybe users) to take, at 90 dB. (Maybe try some manual clippers if you just have a small job to do?)  Since EGO works so hard at making quieter tools, I doubt you’ll find other companies’ hedge trimmers to be quieter but I’m still researching that.

The trimmers range from $179-$201 again at HD, and there’s a $129 one that comes without battery and charger. Hedge trimmers and attachments for them run from $109 (pole saw attachment) to $199, with a combination string trimmer + edger with battery and charger for $399.

EGO SNOWBLOWERS

If you need a snowblower and don’t have too much area to cover it might be useful to know that one reviewer used EGO’s 530 leaf-blower as a snowblower as well, mostly for his car and driveway. That must surely be an improvement over the snowblowers on my street which smell awful at quite a distance away. And it would mean you’d only need to own one tool if you don’t have too much snow to deal with. 

But EGO does make a snowblower and claims they’re also relatively quiet and of course don’t smell since no gas is used. Their Snowblower SNT2100, is said to top out at 80 dBs. 

For more details on how these products work, and how they differ, I’d start at their own websites rather than at the stores’. I found much more info at EGO for example than online at Home Depot though HD did a decent job. These come up on Amazon too though I didn’t look there extensively.

EGO’s customers often say in their reviews that they buy the company’s other battery-powered products to replace their old weed-whackers, mowers, etc. On its “About us” page it claims all of this product line is designed to provide the power and performance of gas without “the noise, fuss, and fumes. Both Echo and EGO are sold at Home Depot and other stores. To keep it simple I used mostly Home Depot’s site and the product sites. 

Decibel levels for example vary from one tool to another but the company has tried hard to make all tools much quieter than what we usually hear. Of course due to non-use of gas power they’re certainly cleaner-running. The numbers refer to the highest volume each tool makes, but of course you can run them at lower levels and bother people and yourself with noise even less that way. 

I wanted to hear these motors in action, maybe at Home Depot (there’s one near me), but EGO’s Barnaby warned me that HD has tended to keep batteries on display that are almost out of power, maybe because of theft. He thought with some determination I might be able to get a demonstration anyway, but I realized it wouldn’t be the same as hearing the tools in the yard next door. (Again I don’t use any such tools but we have a very long sidewalk to shovel so one day we might consider the snow-blower.) Barnaby does say we can buy these tools and try them and return them if we’re not happy, so maybe that’s the way to do it. Maybe just try one leaf-blower if you use them, and see what you think (maybe ask the neighbors what they think too).

Should you try one and keep it and want to get rid of your old one safely, you might want to know I learned while looking around the HD site that there’s a page with links to various states’ recycling programs for getting rid of old electronics responsibly, including lawn cleanup equipment like leaf-blowers. Those programs were listed on its site at:

https://www.homedepot.com/c/electronics_recycling_programs

Barnaby told me there are also sometimes trade-in programs you can take advantage of. He says EGO co-ran a trade-in program in Boston recently with the group Quiet Communities. There is information on this kind of program available from Jamie Banks at Quiet Communities, jamie@quietcommunities.org .

SUN JOE & SNOW JOE

SUN JOE LAWN MOWER

 The Sun Joe battery-powered lawn mower is labeled Sun Joe Ion 16LM Cordless Lawn Mower 16inch/40V/Brushless Motor. (I discuss “brushless” later.)  Two female reviewers in their 60’s said the SunJoe lawn mower was light and easy for them to push. The site says it provides u to 40 minutes of “whisper-quiet” runtime. However its decibel rating is much higher than some I’ve mentioned so far, well above, EGO’s, at 96 dB.(This doesn’t seem a good choice then, to me.)  It says its compact design is idea for small to medium lawns.The price on the Sun Joe site was $279 + free shipping. It says because its brushless its battery lasts longer, and that the motor life is “up to 2000 hours.” I can’t tell for certain but it looks like you need to buy the charger separately. That battery seems to be useable on both it and  the SnowJoe snowblower (which we’ll get to). It’s called the Sun Joe iCHARG40 EcoSharp Lithium-ion Battery Charger/40 Volt, for $49.99 + shipping. While this machine is better for the environment, it will still cause a lot of misery for  neighbors and not be that great for your hearing and blood pressure. 

 Have you been wondering what “brushless” is? Me too. Here’s what I found: Popular Mechanics and Milwaukee Tools say it’s been around since the 1960s, used in industrial and manufacturing applications as a motor to drive conveyor belts. It was then used in power tools for aerospace and defense, and later in a three-speed impact driver. Manufacturers say brushless tools provide added performance and durability, and are smarter than the average tool. But they’re not in all tools because the technology is rather expensive. For more on the technology go to https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a8109/whats-so-great-about-brushless-motor-power-tools/ .)

As you know by now, in general I think we all will help each other the most, if we must buy power tools, to  look for non-gas of course but also choose dB ratings we know are lowest, and also know from how much distance away that number was determined. (You may often have to write and ask.)

SNOW JOE SNOW REMOVERS

There’s a whole handful of snow removal products offered by the Sun Joe company for snow removal, all called Snow Joe. First there’s the Electric Snow Thrower for $249, next the Cordless Single Stage Snow Blower for $299, the Cordless Two-Stage Snow Blower for (gulp) $899 (but it’s self-propelled too), the Hybrid Single Stage Snow Blower for $249 (this one lets you switch to a corded electric power if you want to “shred” the snow, so it’s hybrid only in that sense—no gas), They also offer a more expensive single stage blower for $399 (21 inch, so bigger than the 18 inch Single Stage mentioned above for $249), and a Cordless Two-Stage for $599 (rather than the $899 two-stage one mentioned above, also self-propelled and 24 inches so I’m not sure what the difference is.) 

Neither of the bigger two-stage snowblowers and none of the electric snow shovels further down say “whisper quiet” in the description, and I’m trying to get a decibel reading from the company. After a long online chat with the SnowJoe/SunJoe people I learned only the lawnmowers so far have decibels listed on their site. The rep said since I brought it to their attention they’ll try to get decibels for every product on each product page. If you don’t see any, then write or chat with them and it looks like they can get you dBs for products you’re considering. Unlike some sites that say the decibel levels described are for a certain distance (say, 50 feet away, which I find a useful number), this rep said their dB readings are for right next to the user. So we have to assume the sound levels decrease somewhat as you move away. 

SNOW JOE BATTERY-POWERED SHOVELS (to use instead of snowblowers)

The 13-inch SnowJoe Cordless Snow Shovel claims to be “ideal for quick, easy, and cord-free snow pick-ups on decks, steps, patios, and sidewalks,” for $219 + free shipping. It says it stores in a hall closet easily. It weights 14.5 lbs. (I don’t quite get how they work. It sounds like it might just be a louder shovel!) But if you think t’s for you I’d again check the dBs, and then sound-test it at home. 

If the battery snow shovel seems ideal to you, there’s also a last piece of snow removal equipment I see on this site (besides a battery charger)— it’s another electric shovel, a 13-inch electric (not cordless so you’d have to plug it in) one for $89. It claims to have back-saving design, and weighs under 14 lbs so is a little lighter than the cordless one above. Please don’t buy these if they do end up being just a loud version of your old snow shovel—we don’t need more noise unless it really helps you get the job done better than hand-shoveling!

Again none of these snow removal tools say “whisper quiet” or anything about noise in the descriptions I saw. But if they’re quieter than what you’ve got that’s something, and you won’t be polluting the air and your lungs (and your neighbors’ lungs).

SOME OF SNOW JOE/SUNJOE’S OTHER TOOLS 

The company makes a combination leaf-blower and vacuum for about $50 re.furbished, that it claims is quicker, cleaner, and quieter than similar gas blowers. There are several other cordless or electric blowers or blower/sweepers for less money, again with no dB ratings (but al east there’s no gas required). Some of the blowers again are suitable also for “light snow” such as their 2-speed electric blower (but is this that much better than a broom, and if not, why add the noise??)  

Reminder: Light exercise out in bright light (i.e. raking and sweeping) is good for your body and your mood!

GREENWORKS

Greenworks is based in China and Europe but with one office here in North Carolina (be sure to shop at the Greenworks US site and not the EU site). It  makes an entire line of products including those for lawn care and chain saws and other power tools. In the About Us section of Its website it says the people behind the Greenworks line are “The Globe Group,” with “subsidiaries all over the world.” Further reading reveals its products are used by other companies in addition to Greenworks. Its office serving Canada and the US is in Mooresville, North Carolina. It has a dot-eu web address and its headquarters and manufacturing are in Changzhou, China. There are several plants there and it says it uses robotic production lines. It tests for sound, vibration, and duration, and yet so far I can get no information on how loud or soft this vast array of tools is compared to others. (I will keep trying, and invite you to join me, in getting decibel levels listed on each tool, and in getting these listed for all such tools so together we can make it a less stressful world.

GREENWORKS MOWERS

Greenworks makes a 40-volt G40LM49DB mower that will cut 800 m2 —that is, square meters– on one 45-minute charge. That’s around a fifth of an acre. Our small one-story house sits on a fifth of an acre, but if you just counted the non-house area you’d need to mow only about a seventh or eighth of an acre (if we had grass which we don’t—just solid plants that don’t need mowing). 

Their mowers range from $150 for small ones with electric cords (although the site says “no cords” in its About US section) to more money for mostly cordless ones, up to $600. I also saw a $300 cordless one, for example, the “40 Volt 21 inch.” It also sells 16, 18, and 20 inch reel mowers, for from $90 to $130. Reel mowers are usually manual but sometimes can still be noisy. Greenworks says its reel mowers have “contact free blades for silent cutting” so they do sound like a low-cost quieter, clean alternative to the usual. This was the only reference I found on their site so far that referred to “quiet.”

The company has used batteries from the beginning, and says its batteries are more powerful than the norm. It claims 18 volts is the industry standard and that it uses 24-82 volt batteries. It uses no fossil fuels or electric cords.

Here’s a smaller slightly quieter Greenworks battery powered mower:  2507502, a 17-inch 10-Amp 2-in-1 Lightweight Corded Brushed Lawn Mower. I found one on eBay for $182, and on the Walmart site for $148. The 2-in-1 feature provides mulching and “rear discharge” capabilities. Rear discharge means the mower has a discharge chute in the back that will open and send clippings into a clip ngs bag if you have one. You can then dispose of the clippings. You can remove the bag and if there’s a “mulching plug” or you can close the side discharge door, leaving no exit path for the clippings, you can then mulch your lawn with the clippings, which are cut into tiny pieces and fall back onto the lawn “for recycling” as one site explained it (I found this explanation at https://homeguides.sfgate.com/benefits-mower-side-rear-discharge-87532.html .) Lawn mower techies please forgive me if I didn’t translate it exactly correctly.

The rep at Greenworks told me this mower’s dBs are around 90.

I did see on this mower’s product page a California prop 65 warning for cancer and reproductive issues. Because this is an electric motor I don’t seen an obvious reason for the warning, and the Prop 65 site doesn’t mention lawn care tools specifically, or tell you exactly which chemical or ingredient is a problem. I can only figure then that it’s something you touch a lot or breathe a lot when you use this mower (handle? cord? maybe something when it blows out the grass clippings?)  This what the warning looks like, often accompanied by a bright yellow triangle:

WARNING! Cancer or reproductive harm.www.p65Warnings.ca.gov. 

This refers to California’s Prop 65 which generally protects California consumers more than the rest of us are protected from toxins in millions of products. The US is relatively lax in its protections compared with many European countries and with California. They protect people with more stringent toxin limits. Not all sites list prop 65 warnings, but since we live in a more complex toxic soup that ever before in history and it does affect our health and lifespan, I always note those warnings carefully when I do see them. 

Further down there’s a similar warning for an Echo mower (not to be confused with EGO!) but I assume that’s because the Echo mower is gas-powered. MY personal take on this is why buy any tool that carries such a warning when you can find others that don’t?  My impression is though that not every site allows California Prop 65 warnings to appear so we may not always know. The Prop 65 website does give an extensive list of chemicals you can check through but it still isn’t clear what applies to an electric mower. The general feeling among the many sites on all aspects of landscape tools that I’ve visited is that non-gas is the cleanest, quietest, healthiest way to go. However if for some reason you simply must have gas power (but why?) I have indeed listed some here that claim at least to be  quieter than their forebears.

Continuing with Greenworks, an interesting note for those intent on maintaining a lawn is that Greenworks said, in answering a customer’s question on this, that the run time of a mower may depend on the condition of your lawn, which I’ve read before on some other sites. So it would seem a good idea to follow any advice you can find for keeping the lawn in the best shape for mowing. This may sound odd but such info is widely available and sometimes is on the tool sites too, so if you’re not already up on it ,it might be worth a look. But again I encourage you to consider at least replacing some of your lawn with flowers, flowering shrubs, flowering ground covers, and evergreen ground covers, etc. for inspiring beauty, less need for water, and less work overall! (Neighbors will love the sight of all those plants, in my experience, and will stop to admire them and often thank you for planting them.)

In searching Greenworks’ site to find more decibel ratings, I learned that if the ratings aren’t right on the page, you can find them by clicking on the user’s manual for each tool, which takes you to a pdf. There you’ll see various descriptions of the sound including vibrations measurements.  I don’t know exactly how most of these categories affect what we actually hear, but from what I can gather, the best one for non-experts to look at is again “sound power level.” 

So for example I just looked at their, “Axial Blower, G24AB (40 volts). Its manual lists its “sound power level” as 106 dB, which seems on the high side. An article on NoNoise.org lists general leaf-blower range as 95-105 dB, much louder than the dBs in the 65 range mentioned earlier for some other leaf-blowers such as those made by EGO. To give you a comparison, 106 dB is louder than most typical weed-wackers, food processors, air compressors, and lawn mowers. 

Greenworks’ string trimmer G40LT, for smaller jobs, is listed as <96 dB. Its lawn mower G40LM35 lists at 86.6 dB, which is in fact a little better than the numbers in abovementioned chart that lists typical mowers at 88 to 94. The larger G40LM49DB mower lists at 96 dB, again in the food processor and leaf-blower ranges. or a bigger space. My impression is that Greenworks’ emphasis has been on helping the environment by avoiding gas power, but that it, like some other companies, uses the term “quiet” a little loosely. These all are dBs at or above danger levels.

For a useful list of typical machines’ decibel levels go to that page I used:  http://www.nonoise.org/library/household/index.htm .

UPDATE: I just discovered this company, but haven’t had time to get a good look at it. You might want to do that before you decide. It’s called

MEANGREENMOWERS, and is at http://www.meangreenproducts.com/about-us/

MORE ON GETTING A SENSE OF DECIBELS 

Founder of Quiet Communities Jamie Banks has said that leaf-blower noise ranges from 64 to 78 decibels, but at the operator’s ear, 95 to 115 Decibels. Yet in my experience, looking for the average sound of leaf-blowers, I often see much higher numbers. (I do trust Jamie Banks though, which means we can assume there are quieter blowers available. However, many researchers say it’s not just the volume that people find stressful, but also the quality of the sound.)  In any case, a constant problem in researching dBs alone—sound quality is even more challenging– is that different companies measure decibels at different distances and often don’t explain to customers online how they figured them. At this writing all I can say is just do your best to find out what you can, and meanwhile here are a few things that may help you head in the right direction. 

First, Banks’ comments above and some other information immediately below come from the informative article I’ve put a link to here, by Jennifer Fenn Lefferts of the Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/west/2015/03/28/war-loud-leaf-blowers-strategic-retreat/Gpgr0hxSoCzNprgfDNlSAN/story.html

It’s quite a helpful article if you have time to read it. Meanwhile Lefferts adds that the group Dangerous Decibels, which works to reduce hearing loss, gives us some ideas about decibel (dB) levels for a few things we hear often such as: 

Typical speech—about 60 dB 

Washing machine——- 75 dB

Food Processor——93-100 dB

Chain saw——————115  dB

The group’s site DangerousDecibels.org tells us85 dB and above harms hearing.Extended exposure to 85 dB+ harms inner ear cells and leads to hearing loss. I have to agree with Quiet Communities’ Banks who says leaf-blower noise, besides often being too loud, is also particularly stressful because of its high-pitched, whining drone that continuously throttles up and down. I’ve seen in my research other comments referring to such  stressful, irritating sound qualities of certain tools–especially leaf-blowers, string-trimmers or weed-wackers–and various saws and sanders–even if the decibel levels aren’t super high, which means no matter what the dB listed we should try hard to hear a sample before buying when possible. It isn’t that easy to do in all stores selling the equipment, which I explain more later. This means the best course is probably to buy the tool, test it at home, and return it if t’s too loud for you or your neighbors (please do let the store know it’s too loud so they’ll pass it on to the maker.)  

OSHA  says120 dBs is considered to the threshold of pain. It recommends ear protective covering starting at just below 85 dBs. 90 dB is comparable to a blender at a distance of 3 feet, or a car passing at highway speed at 10 feet away from where you’re standing. (Soon we’ll get into distances used to measure dBs.)

Sites I used to get some of the dB levels and which you might want to see more of are: 

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/much-noise-lawn-mower-emit-97458.html ).

https://www.ehow.com/info_10040122_decibel-levels-lawnmower.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/much-noise-lawn-mower-emit-97458.html

Here are more dB levels:

Jackhammer—130 dBs.  

Normal headphones—often 90 dBs, or even range to 110 dBs (not safe if you hear them at those levels)

Riding mower–around 90 dBs (note on the pdf below—it says an electric riding mower is much quieter—60-65 dBs

By the way, some say maintaining a lawnmower by lubricating helps to reduce“sharp” noise just a little.

One article I looked at said electric mowers often have noise levels as low as 56 dBs for cordless electric push mowers. A manual reel push mower was listed at 55 dBs, although I’d imagine some of those are lower, and I know some are annoying sounding probably because they’re older or not well-maintained, or maybe some models are just better than others. Still, around 55 dBs seems much kinder to the health of all of us than the sound levels of much of even the so-called quieter equipment I found that’s not manual. If you have a manual mower and don’t like it have a look at the pdf below and see if you can find one you like better.

Surprisingly, many riding mowers can be quieter than some string-trimmers or chain saws, both of which can reach 110 dBs.  (This explains why string trimmers drive me truly around the bend, but they also tend to have a particularly irritating sound that makes them even more stressful to hear. Of course I”m not fond of chain saws either. ) 

Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (NPC) provides a great pdf on its choices for better and quieter landscape equipment. Among its comments and choices are the suggestions by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EPA that we only expose ourselves to lawn-mowing noise (as user or suffering neighbor) a maximum of 45 minutes for the quieter ones, and 15 minutes for “average” ones, and 5 minutes for the loud ones. Not surprisingly, they say electric mowers are usually 80 decibels less than gas-powered for the operator.

Go to their page for a helpful  list:   http://www.nonoise.org/library/qz7/QuietLawns05.pdf  

Here are a few examples from the list of what you might be able to buy.  (Note: They say something I don’t completely understand: “The noise footprint is on the order of acres, not 100 acres.” For example they may say a mower is “55 dB @ 25 feet.” (Related to this, see a few ‘graphs below what EGO’s Gerry Barnaby, and also a Greenworks spokesperson, say about decibels and how they’re measured. i’ve put them in bold so you can find it easily.)  In any case you can see clearly in the next ‘graph (just below) some of the differences in sound volume in some of the NPC examples for their “Quiet Lawns” initiative:

For small lawns, they recommend reel mowers and have tested dozens of them. They say they tend to be 55-60 dB @ 25 ft. For small to medium lawns they suggest electric mowers at 60-65 dB @ 25 ft. For medium to large lawns they recommend “large electric mowers” or Quieter Gas Mowers at 70-75 dB @ 25 ft. It goes on from there, but this page is a helpful reference and also goes into great detail on other aspects of mowing and mowers. They refer readers to back issues of Consumer Reports, whose May and June issues often review mowers. Just below is a chart with reviews of many mowers, but I must emphasize that it seems crazy and irresponsible to go with any gas powered mower or other equipment when you can almost always get something cleaner and quieter. In large print on this pdf page is a quote from NPC:  

If everyone in your neighborhood was mowing at the same time with a quiet electric mower, it would probably be quieter than if just one person in your neighborhood was using a typical gas-powered mower. 

Returning to EGO for a moment, it claims to make quieter, non-gas lawn care tools as we’ve seen, and its enthusiastic Gerry Barnaby (his title is “Director of Excitement”) told me its decibel listings refer to the loudest noise the machine makes. I think this goes for most of these companies. The difference you need to find out about (other than just hearing for yourself) is at what distance they got that reading. Some measure right next to the ear of the user, and others may measure as much as 50 ft. away. This isn’t usually obvious on their websites, I found, so you may have to write the company and ask. Just finding decibel or dB (or sometimes db) levels can be difficult. If it’s not on the page of the tool, look at the manual if they offer it online.

Greenworks describes sound levels slightly differently. On Greenworks’ product pages it lists several ways to get an idea of decibels which I didn’t understand so I asked a rep about it. He told me the most important of the ones mentioned on each product are sound pressure level and sound power level. 

He explained that we should think of sound power level as the wattage rating of a lightbulb. We should think of sound pressure, on the other hand, as the brightness experienced. The further you are from the bulb, the dimmer it appears. The sound power is the actual volume at the source. The sound pressure is the volume of the sound as it’s transmitted (and therefore it drops with more distance).

He then gave me a simplified version:  Sound Power = dB at the source. Sound pressure = dB at a set distance (usually 3-5 feet, that is, the average distance from the user’s ear to the motor. When I told him it’s been confusing looking from company to company to find comparisons of sound level he explained that first of all, the U.S. does not have a federal standard that legislates the distance at which decibel levels should be measured. However some states do have statewide laws for this. So, he added, Greenworks and many other companies measure the dBs as experienced by the average user. In some cases manufacturers provide more levels at different distances, such was dBs at 25 feet or 50 feet because some municipalities have noise level restrictions in residential areas. He says these figures are usually labeled as such and are most often used for commercial machines, although some companies may also list them for noncommercial machines depending on the application.  

Remember that if you care about protecting hearing and the stress levels of family and neighbors, you really want to know with any such equipment how it sounds at 20 or 50 feet or inside your house or your nearby neighbors’ houses, so it may still be best to buy and then test them at home. One of the company reps I interviewed suggested this was the best way to go. By the way I find that private (not lawn care company) users often are less stressed by the noise, and I think that’s from two factors: one, they are in control of the loud sound, while others such as neighbors have no control and often cannot get away from it even inside with windows shut, and two, some users find these tools fun to use. (I’m all for fun, but if the fun is painful to others I recommend finding other fun things to do and keeping the pain-causing ones to a minimum if you can afford quieter equipment.)  

JUST LEAF-BLOWERS

DO YOU REALLY NEED A LEAF-BLOWER?

I think I mentioned this in my first noise post but will say again (so you know loud tools aren’t necessary) that in our medium-sized plant-stuffed garden that’s on our town’s “life friendly” garden tour (life-friendly meaning friendly to birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators), no mower, blower, or trimmer of any kind has ever been used. The sound of machines, at any level, would destroy the garden experience for us, and due to all our flowers and shrubs we don’t need or want any grass. We have instead much more interesting flowering or just very pretty ground cover plants instead, such as wild geraniums, some lovely purple, bronze and green “Ajuga,” also known as Bugleweed, vinca (blue flowers on low glossy ground cover, and many more. (Try googling “garden groundcover plant photos” to see many of these.)  There’s a lovely ajuga called Carpet Bugle that looks a lot like ours. Not only do we not need to mow, the ground covers need less water and care than grass does, and grass doesn’t flower. Like the famous Mount Cuba native plant gardens in Delaware, we let fallen leaves gather around plants, and even put them there to serve as mulch over the winter. Most of them disappear into the landscape, and add to its’ value for other plants because the dead leaves feed the soil. Mostly we love to see leaves in the fall, and we don’t have to worry about them harming our grass because we don’t have any grass!  That way we have more room for more beautiful flowers, and the garden is broken up by small paths, a couple of fountains, and a birdbath. Not one neighbor has ever complained about our leaves. They love the garden and all its flowering plants and trees.

Another approach to decreasing your lawn care work is to “kill your lawn and go native,” which might include getting some of the ground covers I mentioned but also lots of other lovely plants. There’s a good summary article about that at https://www.ecori.org/green-tip/2017/10/16/kill-your-lawn-and-go-native . This sounds like it could be an exciting project, but if you’re unsure you might start with one section of lawn that’s more hidden and see what happens. Author Tim Faulkner suggests you might not even plant anything at first and see what comes up—it could even be a beautiful meadow. I would warn against using chemicals to get rid of the grass though, since even the “safest” of them tend to kill or harm something in the garden (and he lists many other methods). 

This is really something to consider now because as droughts become more common, grass will be even harder to maintain than it is now, and it’s generally now known by researchers that it’s terrible for the environment in many ways. Another great article about this can be found at the site of the Natural Resources Defense Council at https://www.nrdc.org/stories/more-sustainable-and-beautiful-alternatives-grass-lawn. Author Mary Talbot reports that California in fact is offering $500 rebates to those who replace turf with native plant, drought-resistant xeriscaping. People in any state however are often delighted with the butterflies and birds they see in their yards after switching to native pollinator plants. 

If you can’t live without grass, try to plant a type that requires the least water and chemicals. And/or try to live with just a little grass, maybe as a divider between flower beds. There’s a lot of information about grass choice but one place you might start is http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/selecting-an-appropriate-grass-for-your-lawn.php .  I believe if you look for photos of grassless or mostly grassless gardens (which easily can also include some vegetables) you’ll be blown away by the beauty of them. I found a stunning page for you to start with: https://www.google.com/search?q=photos+of+grassless+flower+gardens&oq=photos+of+grassless+flower+gardens&aqs=chrome..69i57.6708j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

If you aren’t swayed by the above and must have a leaf-blower, please read on.

CFM & MPH in leaf-blowers

You’re going to need to know about these terms that you’’ll often see in info on leaf-blower descriptions. 

At the helpful site https://thebestleafblowers.com/good-cfm-leaf-blower-calculator/ the writers say CFM is cubic feet per minute, that is, the volume of air that comes out of a leaf blower’s tube in one minute. A leaf blower with a CFM of 550 can push 550 cubic feet of leaves and debris in one minute. In other words, CFM refers to the leaf blower’s blowing strength or power. Some experts consider the CFM airflow analogous to the width of the head of a yard rake. Generally, the bigger the leaf-blower’s mouth, the bigger the CFM airflow.   

 MPH indicates “the speed by which the air escapes from the tube in an hour.” So MPH is like the speed with which the rake sweeps through an area. If you see, say, 165 MPH listed, it means that blower’s maximum speed is 165 MPH. 

The site recommends you consider three issues when choosing CFM, which they consider the most important: the size of the property, the kind of debris you’ll be cleaning up, and noise limitations in your area. (If there aren’t any or they’re very weak, again I urge you to set lowest possible noise as one of your goals, for the sake of the health of yourself and those nearby.)  

They recommend that for small areas such as driveways, decks, and patios, an electric handheld blower with 200-400 CFMs is enough, and they are quieter than backpack blowers. Most backpack blowers are gas-powered, with CFMs from 400-“Walk Behind” leaf-blowers are the ”beasts” of the leaf-blower world, with CFMs as high as 3,000, and the ability to push small rocks. The site says they’re all gas-powered and extremely noisy. Please refer to the site for even more detail.

WHAT DO ALL THESE TOOLS REALLY SOUND LIKE?

I knew you might wonder, so I again asked EGO’s Gerry Barnaby to help and do his best to describe what some of these sounds are like—or at least  give us an idea of the sound quality:

The mower and snowblower tend toward a low end to the sound, but you can stand next to both under full power and have a normal conversation. The string trimmer sounds to him and some customers like a swarm of bees. (I asked whether it was a big swarm or not but haven’t heard back yet.) The hedge trimmer he finds “the most mechanical sounding as the 2 blades are moving in opposition to each other, so it has a little scraping sound to it, though not high pitched,” adding that you can still have an easy conversation over it. The leaf-blower “has a turbine in it (to generate great wind power) so as you crank up the throttle it sounds “a bit like a jet engine spooling up before take-off, but again you can have a conversation over it.” 

But Barnaby insists all the tools can be used at any time of day and not annoy people right next door. Yet I  feel I’d really have to test them at home to be able to tell you if I (for example) could bear hearing them from my neighbors’ yards. That’s where I hear them since weI don’t use any of these tools. (We might one day get a battery snowblower however, if it’s really quiet, since we have a ton of snow to shovel on the corner we live on. But generally we enjoy the exercise and the quiet of shoveling in snow (admittedly after a blizzard it can get to be a bit much at times.)

It may be hard to figure out which tool is the quietest, so again I’d try to test at home, and return if it’s not soft enough. Let’s take one of the Greenworks’ lawnmowers for example. its sound power is 94 dB (at your ear), and its sound pressure is 82 dB. as you hold the machine away from your ear which you usually do while you’re mowing, and I guess a little less so while you’re blowing if you use a leaf-blower. So we now know that in the case of this mower, even the lower number is close to a level requiring ear protection. How will your neighbor hear it if he’s outside planting roses and his yard is 20 feet from yours? That’s harder to say, but if it sounds fairly loud to your ears without protection, he’s probably going to be pretty rattled by it unless he’s one of the lucky people loud noise doesn’t bother (even if it is hurting his hearing, and, though the companies don’t discuss this, raising his blood pressure possibly for hours after the sound begins). If you do it a lot, or for more than a few minutes, it’s not too good for you either, or any family members inside with the windows open, or most of your neighbors who are outside because they want to feel and hear mostly nature, not machines. Your family and closer neighbors who are still inside may have to close their windows to keep their stress levels down, but closing windows can be depressing and it’s good for people to feel closer to nature by opening their windows if there’s something besides cement outside their homes. It doesn’t seem fair to keep others from enjoying a lovely day whether inside or outside because you’re making or hiring people who make a lot of stressful  racket with industrial tools.

So I think now you can go to a number of sites selling these tools and have a better idea of what dBs you want to stay under. It’s a good idea to check first the laws of your own town to make sure you don’t go over what they require, but in fact most towns are far too lax and the kindest thing to do for your neighbors is go with the quietest tools you can manage. 

——————

OTHER COMPANIES AND TOOLS (should you want to investigate further—warning—some are only gas power but I listed because they may include both or relatively quiet tools. Still I don’t recommend even quiet gas-powered tools)

I focus on a few more companies attempting to make quieter tools below, although I urge you to go with those that also are not gas-powered even if they do say their gas-powered ones are quieter. To reiterate, these tools and machines adds greatly to human and animal stress due to noise alone, so why continue to add to that problem the second problem of more polluted and health-damaging air that gas-powered machines also add to our daily lives, when we can all use cleaner air to breathe and most of us want to help the planet? 

ECHO tools:

ECHO sells mostly gas-powered tools, but I list them here because A) they say they’re quieter, and B) they do have a few non-gas-powered ones. Please try not to buy the gas-powered ones I do mention. That said, the site Reactual.com compared leaf-blowers for noise and chose the ECHO as the quietest blower of 2018—I can’t imagine they .also tested non-gas ones and got that result, so I guess they mean the quietest gas one. ECHO makers say they’ve tried hard to reduce the high whine of most leaf-blowers ,and Reactual feels they’ve succeeded though I haven’t heard one of the blowers yet. The noise level is reported as 65 decibels. I went to Echo’s web site to take a look. That’s at https://www.echo-usa.com/Products/Blowers.

They provide a quiz to help you choose best kind of blower for your job and your property. For low noise they recommend their “low-noise” blowers, the most powerful of which is a 65-decibal model. Again we need to hear that noise to know for sure to see how it affects us and will affect those who live near us. They’re for sale at various stores so maybe someone will demonstrate them, however as I later learned, a demo may not be so easy to get without being pretty persuasive at the store (more on that below). The Echo site has its own “leaf-blower noise” page link where you can go to study the issues further, but it does tend to get back around to how gas-powered blowers are much better now (in its opinion), and in fact all of Echo’s blowers all seem to be gas-powered. That noise link on the site is

http://www.leafblowernoise.com/

ECHO’S hand-held leaf blower PB 250-LN, for an example, holds 16.9 oz. of fuel and uses a 2-stroke engine. It’s called LN for low noise and lists at 65 dB. all this according to At the site https://thebestleafblowers.com/good-cfm-leaf-blower-calculator/.

Remember the discussion about CFM and MPH. The same site asks a question. It suggests, what if you have, say,  a small rake head, such as a 330 CFM blower, going at a higher speed (100 MPH). Or consider that you might have a bigger rake head (480 CFM) sweeping at a lower speed (92 MPH). It asks you which do you think will get the job done faster? 

Its answer is that definitely the one with 480 CFM at 92 MPH will perform the job more efficiently, because again CFM counts more than MPH. (Again see the site for more detail.) This site by the way not only full of useful information but links to another site with yet more on choosing the right blower for you. It’s  Finding the Best Leaf Blower: Facts You Should Know Before Buying One

While ECHO makes many protestations on their site that all leaf-blowers made in the last two or three years by most companies are cleaner than ever before, this matter is surely still up for debate, especially in today’s world of increasingly alarming effects of all kinds of exhaust on health and on the environment. I’d like to see some clear numbers, but I can’t imagine how gas power exhaust and disease-causing particulates are still be coming out of even Echo’s quieter blowers (of course quieter is still an improvement). ECHO also claims that electric blowers can be just as noisy and irritating with a loud siren sound and can’t have the power of gas. Still I can’t understand why they would put so much effort into a new kind of quieter blower and not just convert all of their tools away from gas power. As you’ll see, other companies are managing to provide plenty of power without the worries about exhaust, fuel, re-fueling, storing fuel, fire, etc. If it’s not the absolutely most powerful blower possible, but it’s clean-running, keeping people much less stressed, keeping the environment healthier, and delaying further global warming, a non-gas leaf-blower (and all such tools) seem to me in this time of climate crisis and tragedy absolutely the only way to go. I’m frankly amazed there is no national law yet requiring this change.

ECHO does have a section on its site where it showcases a limited number of cordless tools (for which I congratulate it) such as several string trimmers (it also sells gas-powered trimmers). One, labeled CST-58V2AHCV, has a 58-volt Lithium-ion battery, and a brushless motor “for superior and performance.” One customer review claimed that its “SilenTrimmer Line” (patented) made his job shorter since it was so efficient compared to past models he’d used. And in one of the company’s gas-powered versions of this trimmer, it says it helps reduce fuel consumption and improve engine efficiency (but again, why use gas if you don’t have to??) And in fact it’s notable however that right under that description of the gas-powered trimmer (Model# 312080060) is another mention of the California Prop 65 warning. In this case I can’t tell if it refers to the string wire or the trimmer tool itself. Often the link only takes you to a general site about Prop 65 and leaves you to do further digging yourself. 

Among ECHO’S other cordless products are a chain saw and a lawn mower, both with 58-volt lithium ion batteries. I recommend reading customer reviews of all these products and writing the maker for decibel levels and other details you can’t find on the page. I’ve had good luck with getting most questions answered so far, but don’t have room to put all of the info for each tool of each company here. I do have decibel levels in more detail for the products I mention next.

BRIGGS & STRATTON

As I’ve mentioned, some gas-powered toolmakers  are sticking mostly with gas and trying to make those quieter. Briggs and Stratton says it’s created a Quiet Power Technology that makes some of its gas-powered tools quieter. The company says some other companies also are using their new technology too, but that it is only for four-cycle gas-powered engines.I was told that in lawn mowers this technology is designed to be 65% quieter and with less vibration than a traditional gas-powered mower (“as tested against Toro model 20371 and Honda model #HHR216VKA”).  

I asked for decibel levels on its own mowers using the technology, and also on its line of battery powered “chore equipment.” I was told “Presently Briggs &  Stratton does not conduct decibel rate testing as there is no industry standard for noise testing in the USA. Currently the only place that standardizes db testing exists in EU.” I looked at its 82-volt Max* Lithium-ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer, which is among its tools with its patented new “Snapper” technology” which the site says offers more power and durability. There is no mention of noise level on the product page or in the reviews. (Again I do recommend reading reviews anyway because of other information you get such as how heavy the unit is to carry, etc.)

I first heard of Briggs and Stratton while researching my first blog post on noise. There were some issues with noise, but I do see now the company seems to be more aware of this problem. They have a new noise-testing lab you can read more about at: https://www.lawnandlandscape.com/article/ll-112618-briggs-stratton-noise-testing-lab/ 

They say there “Noise reduction has become a very important aspect of outdoor powered equipment design as consumers have demanded it and both the US and the EU have developed noise emission standards.”

Meanwhile, as I always suggest strongly, read all stats and reviews carefully at any rate—the reviews  extremely helpful. NoNoise.org is a great general resource for you too especially if you want ammunition to help fight noise pollution in your neighborhood or city.

I hope this post has given you a reasonable primer on how you can reduce noise and pollution from tools of all kinds. 

KINDNESS

We all need to remember that many city dwellers who don’t make much noise themselves suffer almost constant stress effects from others’ noise. Stress—especially constant stress– is so bad for both mental and physical health that thousands of books and articles are devoted to how to combat or stop it. Yet most of us have no control over others’ noise. So the kind and humane thing to do, until there are widespread laws created to protect people’s health (which is what it will probably take eventually) is to think of neighbors’ and animals’ (including pets’) health and sanity, and be charitable and generous to them by keeping noise levels down as much as you possibly can.

After all, if they’re calmer and you treat them kindly, they will likely be kinder and more thoughtful about you and your wellbeing in return.

5G Update February 2019

Susan Cooke

I just heard a commentator on CNN mention that soon “They’ll be rolling out 5G,” as he talked about other innovations and changes the country will have to face in the near future (and that’s kind of how he put it —not “will benefit from: but “will have to face.” I wrote here about 5G last fall, reporting the outrage of many people who fear the health effects a number of experts are warning us about with this new technology that’s about to be forced on us. They see it as yet another example of inadequately vetted high profit for a few and too bad about any consequence to others.

5G proponents want, it seems, to take this behemoth of a new technology already highly suspected of damage (see the links below) and drive it right over everyone living in this country. It’s as if new technologies that weren’t tested were never pushed on people before. We know this can end badly even if it does provide ever-faster communication, etc.

I’m writing about it again because while I thought it was still being tested, I was wrong. Suddenly it seems it’s a done deal. The best way to give you a taste of what’s wrong with this is a quote from an article by Dr. Cindy Russell of the Santa Clara Medical Association (The article’s title is “A 5G Wireless Future: Will it Give us a Smart Nation or Contribute to an Unhealthy One?”).

The quote is from a letter about 5G written to the FCC by Ronald Powell, PhD:

It would greatly extend FCC’s current policy of the mandatory irradiation of the public without adequate prior study of the health impact and assurance of safety. It would irradiate everyone including the most vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation: pregnant women, unborn children, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, the elderly, the disabled, and the chronically ill.

Before I continue with the 5G information below, I need to clarify that 5G will be only another toxin heaped onto the load of them Americans are already fighting the effects of, though many don’t realize it. In effect, what should be rolling out just now is government taking steps to reduce the unnecessary toxins we’re already dealing with. But it doesn’t see that as profitable, despite the vast reduction in healthcare costs it would mean.

This won’t be the first time high profits and inadequate testing contributed to more illness for all. And even worse, some people believe 5G isn’t even necessary, and that there are safer ways to do what it does. An accomplished software engineer I know says he doesn’t see that 5G is even necessary, especially if it puts people’s health at risk. He says instead what we need is faster connections to people’s houses, which you can do with just wires only. Even if that weren’t so, there’s no excuse for this assault on people’s health and wellbeing.

Many people, as you’ll see below, are already panicked about it, so even before it’s out it’s causing fear and anxiety, which by themselves can degrade mental health to such an extent that physical health is also harmed. These people (and the rest of us) have in effect been told they’re going to be guinea pigs, and to just accept it.

5G will be adding more toxicity to our already-toxic environment, toxicity that’s courtesy largely of government and the alarming number of businesses willing to create and sell toxic products while further poisoning the air, soil, and water with their manufacturing processes. (What I don’t get is how these decision-makers must think they and their own families will escape the health effects of the toxins they continue to create.)

5G matters specifically because devices such as cellphones are already constantly emitting electromagnetic radiation during much of our days and often our nights too. According to author Ty Bollinger, in his mind-blowing book The Truth About Cancer, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says these EMFs are possibly carcinogenic to humans. He tells us that even though phones are considered low-powered radio-frequency transmitters, they “act similarly to microwave ovens in the way they emit radiation, heating up water molecules with which they come into contact,” and that some researchers believe a mobile phone pressed against your head while it’s sending and receiving frequency and data will inadvertently “cook” your brain cells, since this tissue is composed primarily of water. You can dismiss this warning and many people do but my investigations say we don’t yet have definitive answers. That’s okay in some situations in life but not when we’re dealing with health of humans and animals.

Just to give you a more complete picture of some other things worrying some researchers, Bollinger also cites likely damage to brain cell function from this radiation also, according to a 2011 study conducted by National Institutes of Health researchers. Finally he mentions a German study in the Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine, which found that based on a review of the published science, there is “some evidence to suggest a connection between heavy mobile phone use and increased risk for brain tumor occurrence, especially for gliomas.”

What I’m trying to do here is show that we already aren’t sure how much we’re being damaged by so much exposure to existing  equipment, yet our government and the businesses involved are fine with making us guinea pigs despite evidence in the links below that 5G may in fact be quite dangerous to health. And they’re doing this at a time when cancer and other serious illnesses are burgeoning. (For excellent explanations of known and probable causes of cancer from such toxins alone, see Bollinger’s book.)

Below I list some important articles on it and its requisite numerous cell towers that apparently are going to be inflicted on us (lots and lots of them). First I recommend Dr. Russell’s article, at:

https://www.mayday-info.dk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Bilag-4-A-5G-Future-Santa-Clara-Medical-Association.pdf

The next warning article is from CBS News, includes some photos. Note that one person interviewed feels she’ll have to move to avoid living next to a tower.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/5g-network-cell-towers-raise-health-concerns-for-some-residents/

In the article below are details about 5G’s potential health effects, including some studies. It’s thorough, alarming, and proof this is not a good idea, at least not as it’s now planned, should not be forced on us:

https://www.radiationhealthrisks.com/5G-cell-towers-dangerous/
Next is a video, and several other links on the subject on that same page you might want to have a look at as well:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22ConsumerWatch%3A+5G+Cellphone+Towers+Signal+Renewed+Concerns+Over+Impacts+on+Health%22&oq=%22ConsumerWatch%3A+5G+Cellphone+Towers+Signal+Renewed+Concerns+Over+Impacts+on+Health%22&aqs=chrome..69i57.2573j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

And from UK’s Daily Mail:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5784487/The-roll-5G-wireless-service-massive-health-experiment-public-health-expert-warns-a.html

The above UK report (which is mostly about the US) states that some studies have already linked older wireless service generations to cancers of the reproductive system and heart, and 5G health effects have hardly been studied yet. But still the plan is, without asking us, to inundate us with some 800,000 new cell towers to support 5G. (The report says now we have 154,000.)

Go to the next link to see some important notes of one concerned reporter on how a number of people(including some firefighters, notably, who were affected by a 5G tower near them, are desperately trying to prevent–and if not that–escape–a much more difficult task–5G being put near their homes and workplaces due to illness they’ve already experienced when 5G is allowed.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mobilfunk_newsletter/o88iVmdFm4o

The abovementioned articles and reports give you a good idea of what’s going on, but there is much more online, including full pages of links on how 5G will benefit the Internet of Things. Don’t let all that excitement distract you from the real possibility that the health and even longevity of many–perhaps all–of us–and animals including wildlife (maybe even plant life?) may be in serious danger.

I’ve already written two of my reps in Congress about 5G, and I hope you’ll do the same if you’re concerned. My purpose in this blog and in my book is to find ways to increase wellbeing for all living things, which mostly cannot be achieved as long as profit always remains king. Yes 5G does some helpful things, but pushing it on us inadequately tested is not worth the possible price. By the way the towers are ugly and would not be a garden enhancement for sure. You’ll see them in some of the articles.


Some Final Notes:

My understanding is none of us has the power to say “No” to these towers. As one article states it, they’re coming, period.That’s pretty pushy, wouldn’t you say? What I think we need to do then is block this technological “advance” until its proven safe.Why not delay it until it’s known for certain not to cause harm? And if it does cause harm it clearly must be redesigned or scrapped. We’re going to be exposed to this stuff for most hours–maybe all hours–of every day. What’s the big hurry?

There are already many people trying to fight off effects of our now-existing chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation with the current technology in use by most of us. They build shelters to put in their bedrooms or systems to put in their attics because even if they shut off their own wifi as much as possible (some have none at home at all any longer) they still suffer from wifi from homes close to them. When they manage to shield themselves successfully they report many painful symptoms disappearing. At our house we now turn wifi off at night so at least we’re not sleeping in so much of it. This was recommended in several book and articles I read on possible contributors to auto-immune illnesses. Some people think it’s nonsense but there’s much evidence to the contrary.

It just seems clear that since we don’t even know enough about our current state of exposure, it’s insane to pile on more, wouldn’t you say? We have pretty much the same human body we did centuries ago, but it wasn’t exposed to any of this stuff. It’s hard to imagine it not having an effect.

Sadly it may be hard to prove it was 5G that made us sick if it does, because the damage may be slow and not necessarily immediately noticeable. What if you move to another location, you ask? I’m afraid that may not be possible, since, though it may start only in select areas, what I’ve read so far indicates those in charge assume eventually it’s going to be everywhere. Even if we could move away from it, how many millions can uproot themselves, and where can they go that won’t have it eventually if those in charge are this set on it? .

Yet some people are already planning to uproot themselves should those towers come into their neighborhoods. But the tragic result of a lot of moving is it will further to destroy what little sense of community some of us have managed to build into our lives. This country desperately needs more sense of community because we’ve lost most of what we did have and many of us are isolated to a degree that’s dangerous to mental (and therefore also physical) health.

Another thought: If we don’t stop this plan to dump these towers on us, and we do get sicker, the companies profiting from them will likely find ways to blame any resulting illnesses on something else

The companies pushing 5G–and also governments allowing the towers–should also consider what they may likely have to pay for the lawsuits that will likely show up later due to illness if they charge ahead. But how do you measure tearing apart communities as people try to flee this technology to protect their health?

The time to investigate and to protest is now, before they put all the towers up. I feel bad for the initial “test” cities, which you see listed in one of the articles. Did those people have any say in the matter? In one of the articles you’ll see that one resident expects property values to go down a lot when the towers come since most people in her area don’t want them. I honestly don’t see how this many towers can be shoved on us all without asking our permission and with so much ignorance about future results. I saw a figure of 800,000 by 2026 for the US. And even if a neighborhood wants them (I doubt that will happen given the risk) each house should be able to say no.

I’m all for technology making our lives better but I don’t want to be part of this experiment, or for you to be either. We’ve all had enough, haven’t we, of having to accept new technologies without proof of safety? A good chance to have a healthier, less angst-ridden life seems a basic human right, yet government and industry apparently need to be reminded of this constantly. I see no alternative but to protest now to protect our mental and physical health since government is failing to do it. As I say often, enough profit is one thing; more and more profit no matter the cost to health of people and the planet is another.

I so wish we could see these big companies and government taking a kinder, wellbeing-promoting route. Make money on something known to be safe. If they can’t find safer communication technology, they can turn their vast innovative powers to other businesses desperately needed to make life healthier. They could replace the many illness-causing toxic chemicals the FDA allows with safer ingredients. They could work on ways to grow more healthy organic plant food and feed more people, or find ways to house more people.

Instead they’re making more likely increased illness and more of the chronic anxiety already rampant in our society by forcing 5G on us without solid proof that it isn’t harmful.

5G Update February 2019

Susan Cooke

I just heard a commentator on CNN mention that soon “They’ll be rolling out 5G,” as he talked about other innovations and changes the country will have to face in the near future. I wrote here about 5G last fall, reporting the outrage of many people who fear the health effects a number of experts are warning us about with this new technology that’s about to be forced on us. They see it as yet another example of high profit for a few and ever-faster communication a rush to get the next best, fastest thing despite inadequate testing. 

I’m writing about it again because suddenly it seems it’s a done deal that we are going to have it forced on us. The best way to give you a taste of what’s wrong with that is a quote from an article by  Dr. Cindy Russell of the Santa Clara Medical Association  (“A 5G Wireless Future: Will it Give us a Smart Nation or Contribute to an Unhealthy One”).

The quote is from a letter about 5G written to the FCC by Ronald Powell, PhD: 

It would greatly extend FCC’s current policy of the mandatory irradiation of the public without adequate prior study of the health impact and assurance of safety. It would irradiate everyone including the most vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation: pregnant women,  unborn children, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, the elderly, the disabled, and the chronically ill.

Below I list some important articles on 5G and the cell towers that apparently are going to be inflicted on all of us (lots and lots of them) without concern for possible health effects. First I recommend Dr. Russell’s article, at:

https://www.mayday-info.dk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Bilag-4-A-5G-Future-Santa-Clara-Medical-Association.pdf

Before going to the other articles, I should mention that there are already many people trying to fight off effects of our chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation with the current technology in use by most of us. They build shelters to put in their bedrooms or systems to put in their attics because even if they shut off their own wifi as much as possible (some have none at home at all any longer) they still suffer from wifi from homes close to them. When they manage to shield themselves successfully they report many painful symptoms disappearing. We figured at our house we’re already swimming in electromagnetic radiation, and it’s likely you are too. We now turn wifi off at night so at least we’re not sleeping in so much of it. This was recommended by a book I read on possible contributors to auto-immune illnesses. Some people think it’s nonsense but there’s much evidence to the contrary.

It’s clear we don’t even know enough about our current state of exposure, so it’s insane to pile on more, wouldn’t you say? If we don’t protest–now rather than later–we’re going to find thousands of new smaller and powerful 5G towers almost in our front yards, and yet have zero control over their effects on us. We have pretty much the same human body we did centuries ago, but it wasn’t exposed to any of this stuff. It’s hard to imagine it not having an effect.

The next warning article is from CBS News, includes some photos. Note that one person interviewed feels she’ll have to move to avoid living next to a tower.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/5g-network-cell-towers-raise-health-concerns-for-some-residents/

In the article below are details about 5G’s potential health effects, including some studies. It’s thorough, alarming, and proof this is not a good idea, at least not as it’s now planned, should not be forced on us:

Next is a video, and several other links on the subject on that same page you might want to have a look at as well:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22ConsumerWatch%3A+5G+Cellphone+Towers+Signal+Renewed+Concerns+Over+Impacts+on+Health%22&oq=%22ConsumerWatch%3A+5G+Cellphone+Towers+Signal+Renewed+Concerns+Over+Impacts+on+Health%22&aqs=chrome..69i57.2573j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

And from UK’s Daily Mail:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5784487/The-roll-5G-wireless-service-massive-health-experiment-public-health-expert-warns-a.html

The above UK report (which is mostly about the US) states that some studies have already linked older wireless service generations to cancers of the reproductive system and heart, and 5G health effects have hardly been studied yet. But still the plan is, without asking us, to inundate us with some 800,000 new cell towers to support 5G. (The report says now we have 154,000.)

These articles make clear that it’s highly irresponsible, unethical, and, might I say, greedy, to bulldoze over the entire US population with hundreds of thousands of new cell towers we can’t trust to be safe.

I’ve already written two of my reps in Congress about 5G, and I hope you’ll do the same if you’re concerned. My purpose in this blog and in my book is to find ways to increase wellbeing for all living things, which mostly cannot be achieved as long as profit always remains king. Yes 5G does some helpful things, but rolling it out untested is not worth the possible price. By the way for what it’s worth the towers don’t look that great and would not be a garden enhancement for sure. You’ll see them in some of the articles.

Go to the next link to see some important notes of one concerned reporter on how a number of people (including some firefighters, notably, who were affected by a 5G tower near them) are desperately trying to prevent–and if not that–escape–a much more difficult task–5G being put near their homes and workplaces due to illness they’ve already experienced when 5G is allowed.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mobilfunk_newsletter/o88iVmdFm4o

The above information gives you a good idea of what’s going on, but there is much more online including pages on how 5G will benefit the Internet of Things. But don’t let all that excitement distract you from the real possibility that the health and even longevity of many–perhaps all–of us–and animals too (maybe even plant life?) may be in serious danger. Below are a few more of my comments, some of which were on the earlier blog post, should you want to read more.

——————————–

I’ve seen a variety of opinions on EMFs (electromagnetic fields), but I still find enough negatives to make me want to insist on no further electromagnetic radiation near where I live.  An accomplished software engineer I know says he doesn’t see that the new 5G technology is that necessary, especially if it puts people’s health at risk. He says instead what we need is faster connections to people’s houses, which you can do with just wires only. (Full disclosure,  I’m married to the software engineer. His name is Victor Preston.)

My understanding is none of us has the power to say “No” to these towers. As one article states it, they’re coming, period. That’s pretty pushy, wouldn’t you say? What I think we need to do then is block this technological “advance” until its proven safe.Why not delay it until it’s known for certain not to cause harm? And if it does cause harm it clearly must be redesigned or scrapped. We’re going to be exposed to this stuff for most hours–maybe all hours–of every day. What’s the big hurry? I’m pretty sure it’s primarily the usual suspect—Big Profit.

We’re already bullied a lot health-wise, and if you want to know more about that read Ty Bollinger’s mind-blowing book The Truth About Cancer.  (If everyone read it and helped create change in the system, many of us would recover from illness with less suffering and less expense, and Big Medicine and Big Pharma would be just a little less wealthy—but don’t worry about them—they’ll still be richer than most of us.)  Big Money’s tentacles extend into medicine so far beyond what you might imagine that it will make you very angry. But 5G will also add to the enormous cost of healthcare and line the pockets of Big Pharma even more once we all get even sicker which does seem to me likely.

Sadly it may be hard to prove it was 5G that made us sick if it does because the damage may be slow and not necessarily immediately noticeable. What if you move to another location, you ask? I’m afraid that may not be possible, since, though it may start only in select areas, what I’ve read so far indicates those in charge assume eventually it’s going to be everywhere. Even if we could move away from it, how many millions can uproot themselves, and where can they go that won’t have it eventually if those in charge are this set on it? 

Another thought: If we don’t stop this plan to dump these towers on us, and we do get sicker, the companies profiting from them will likely find ways to blame any resulting illnesses on something else.

Yet some people are already planning to uproot themselves, as you see in one of the articles, should those towers come into their neighborhoods. But the tragic results of a lot of moving is it will further to destroy what little sense of community some of us have managed to build into our lives. This country desperately needs more sense of community because we’ve lost most of what we did have and many of us are isolated to a degree that’s dangerous to mental (and therefore also physical) health. 

The companies pushing 5G–and also governments allowing the towers–should also consider what they may likely have to pay for the lawsuits that will likely show up later due to illness if they charge ahead. But how do you measure tearing apart communities as people try to flee this technology to protect their health?

The time to investigate and to protest is now, before they put all the towers up. I feel bad for the initial test cities, which you see listed in one of the articles. Did those people have any say in the matter? In one of the articles you’ll see that one resident expects property values to go down a lot when the towers come since most people in her area don’t want them. I honestly don’t see how this many towers can be shoved on us all without asking our permission and with so much ignorance about future results. I saw a figure of 800,000 by 2026 for the US.  And even if a neighborhood wants them (I doubt that will happen given the risk) each house should be able to say no.

I’m all for technology making our lives better but when health is endangered and anxiety over the technology causes stress and the increased depression (often caused by added prolonged stress), the change is not better. Ignoring such concerns shows a lack of respect for people’s peace of mind, something too little attention is paid to already by government and business, and which deeply affects wellbeing and health and therefore the very length of our lives. 

I don’t want to be part of this experiment, or for you to be either. Too often in the past we’ve accepted new technologies without asking enough questions and demanding proof of safety. I believe a good chance to have a healthier, less angst-ridden life is a basic human right, and government and industry need to be reminded of this constantly. It looks as if we’re going to need to stand up to protect our health and wellbeing since government is failing to do it, and because profit can and often does roll over a people like a tank. As I say ad nauseam, enough money is one thing; more and more profit no matter the cost to health of people and the planet is another.

Here’s a novel idea:  How about these big companies taking a kinder, wellbeing-promoting route? I urge them to make their money on something known to be safe. If they can’t find safer communication technology, they could turn their vast innovative powers to other businesses desperately needed to make life healthier. They could for example replace some of the many toxic chemicals the FDA allows with safer ingredients. They could work on ways to grow more healthy plant food and feed more people, or find ways to house more people. Instead they’re promoting possible increased illness and more of the chronic anxiety already rampant in our society by forcing 5G on us.

 

Update on 5G, November 2018

Here’s a link to more good information on 5G technology. It explains a little more about how it works. This is from Ty and Charlene Bollinger’s very useful and helpful blog The Truth About Cancer. Ty Bollinger wrote the article. I couldn’t copy the link without the photo etc. below, so if you can’t link from here google the blog’s name or just the article title and I think you’ll get to it.

Speed Over Safety: The Perilous 5G Network

NOISE PART II  Widespread Stress & Illness from Noise & How to Reduce it

Susan Cooke

Noise exposure has recently been called the new secondhand smoke. This post considers how we can use awareness of this issue to A) be kinder by reducing  our use of products that harm others’ wellbeing with loud noise (and often toxic fumes), and B) create laws that protect the public.

These changes would provide a new sense of peace in cities, encourage more people to go outside and garden, exercise, take more walks in their own neighborhoods, and benefit from the many ways nature contributes to calm and health.  Less noise and this increased time outdoors would also encourage a closer sense of community as people find they meet many more neighbors simply because people tend to meet outside more easily than if they all stay indoors. They meet when walking their dogs, seeing each other working in a garden or sitting on their front steps, and in other ways that make it  easy to say hello. A sense of community, more exercise outside, and more exposure to nature (nature without noise) is proven by research to improve wellbeing and reduce stress and illness, which helps to reduce the healthcare costs of stress-related Illnesses, and in some cases even to decrease crime.

This post is divided into the sections listed below:

1) Our Beginnings were Relatively Quiet   

2) Non-Natural Noise Begins to Play a Part in our Lives 

3) Noise Becomes a Regular Participant in Our Lives 

4) Noise Today

5) Government and Business Remain Remarkably Clueless 

6) Noises we Need to Decrease now to Reduce Stress & Illness 

7) What Else we can do 

8) Two Final Thoughts

 1  Our Beginnings  were Relatively Quiet

Imagine you’re an early human, it’s morning, and everyone’s busy searching for and preparing food for the day’s meals. You’re outside with the rest of the tribe, getting things done, enjoying  the sun’s warmth, the sight of plants and trees of many kinds and colors, and the sounds of birds singing and leaves rustling. Sometimes a wild animal roars in the distance or there’s a thunderclap but mostly those are the only loud or alarming sounds you hear. You’re fairly contented with your daily life. Today we know being outdoors in bright light helps protect health and mood, and researchers say that in many groups of early humans depression was rare or nonexistent. They add that the close sense of community was also key in preventing depression.

2  Non-Natural Noise Begins to Play a Part in our Lives

Now imagine it’s later in history, in a small city. At least in times of peace you and your family enjoy few intrusions of alarming noise. You’re mostly able to open windows, work in your small garden if you have one, or walk in a nearby meadow or park, and enjoy nature and sunlight as did early humans. The most disruptive sounds you may hear are horses and their carts clattering along the streets. Sometimes, more thoughtful city leaders realize that when this noise occurs at night it keeps people awake. So they’ve established quiet times, barring horses and wagons from the streets when most people are sleeping. 

3  Noise Becomes a Major Participant in our Lives

Now we’re in a bigger city during the rise of industry. Loud, non-natural noises are common along with less healthy air. Living or working near these new businesses becomes stressful both mentally and physically, and in the city quiet time in nature is almost nonexistent unless you’re lucky enough to have a small park nearby and don’t live close to a big factory, or are wealthy enough to live in city areas removed from most industrial noise.

Unless you’re rich your life is difficult anyway due to long working hours in or near these unpleasant places, so the lack of stress relief when you get off work doesn’t help. Not only are there few chances to experience nature, it’s hard to even sit next to an open window because you’re surrounded by dirty air and loud noise from ever more crowded streets or the factory near your own street. Noise from construction, streetcars, trains, and more street traffic is increasing. You don’t enjoy walking around the neighborhood much, so you often feel closed in, sometimes suffocated. It’s stressful to even walk to a pub or tea shop to see friends, or to a friend’s home, so if you’re quite sensitive to smog and noise you may not be with friends as much as you’d like. It’s not great for your mood or health to be more isolated, or to live with so little  nature in your life, or exercise outside.  

4  Noise Today

We jump to a 21st century city, with industrial noise and fumes a constant presence, along with increasing stress for millions displaced by war, severe poverty, or climate-change-caused disasters, thousands suffering from effects of gun violence and terrorism, and everyone worrying about the constant threat of nuclear war. Yet more stress is piled on now because we at this moment live in a social atmosphere filled with the most hate and vitriol we’ve seen in decades. To top it off, we Americans and those who emulate us work ourselves nearly to death in an attempt to quickly find “success.” These stresses mount as we become more isolated as a country, and we also as individuals, lacking the social support and sense of security from which we once benefitted so much.  We live in a more chronically-alarmed state than ever.  

If we acknowledge the stress we’re under as a people, we can see we need to do whatever is possible now to reduce stress and have a much better chance to stay well. There’s a lot we can’t do anything about, but we can do a great deal to reduce noise as individuals and also with help from business and government.  There are things that can be done to reduce the constant attacks on us from noise from lawn care equipment, increasing numbers of planes and helicopters flying at all hours over homes, parks, and other places we used to relax, speeding delivery trucks, artificially-loud motors in cars and motorcycles, people playing radios super-loud outside others’ homes or near their open windows, and people shouting at each other and on their phones wherever they happen to be (including right next to others who don’t even know them). The upshot is either individuals or businesses with loud equipment are constantly invading each others’ desperately needed peace and calm with our noise, and mostly we feel we have no defense. (FYI, feeling helpless and/or hopeless is a major cause of depression.)

5  Government and Business Remain Remarkably Clueless

Despite our being wired as we were in earliest times, this assault of loud noise, accompanied by pollution, has not been viewed by most business owners and government leaders as the enormous health problem it is. It’s been low or nonexistent on their priority lists. But the problem and its destructive effects are now so severe that many agencies and researchers are worried. In a recent Washington Post article, one expert who pushed for strict noise laws in Indiana calls noise “the new secondhand smoke” *(see link below). And there’s this quote from The Quiet Coalition (article link is just below the quote): 

Like secondhand smoke, excessive environmental noise involuntarily exposes the public to conditions that increase their risk of disease. In the case of secondhand smoke, the preponderance of scientific evidence linking it to cancer finally convinced decision makers to take action. 

https://thequietcoalition.org/health-and-legal-professionals-declare-noise-is-the-new-secondhand-smoke/)

One reason this government and business ignorance is surprising is that health and mood problems cost money, and the country is always in a dither about how to pay for healthcare. Stopping most noise and pollution onslaughts is simply Prevention 101. It’s amazing we haven’t figured this out as a nation, but it is time to take action.

If we had heeded science’s warnings about global warming much sooner, we would be benefitting from much less loud noise and pollution due just to having eliminated most gas and diesel power (for example). With Congress’s recent report on what’s coming in climate change this should happen immediately, with focus of course on supporting those people whose jobs are in the industries involving coal and gas and any other businesses  dependent on the older, now-destructive ways of providing fuel.  Instead of complaining  about how it will hurt those people, we need to step up and pay their salaries while educating them for new jobs and providing those jobs in areas where they’re needed including infrastructure and new cleaner fuel technologies.. While doing this we must take care of their anxiety and stress and avoid destroying their communities, to prevent an enormous load of post-traumatic stress that would be unconscionable. They need to be supported where they live now and in moving to a new area if they choose to do that. Yes it’s a big hassle and expense but nothing compared to the expense of not doing everything in our power to stop global warming now. 

It’s irresponsible and I have to say criminal at this point not to take action against global warming. No government or leader has the right to help destroy the planet and all people and animals that live in it.  Doing it in a cooperative way with the rest of the world would likely be the fastest and most successful way to do it. But one way or another we must do it or we’ll be known and hated as the most immoral and selfish generation that ever lived.

If we move now onto this path one extremely healthy side effect will be that we can all at least go outside our houses to tend a garden or  sit on our front steps to look at a tree without being blasted by roaring machines and dirty air (not to mention the particulates in leaf-blower exhaust known to cause cancer). More of us would take more walks around the neighborhood in bright outdoor light, meeting those neighbors,  enjoying that sense of community Americans so lack today, and actually seeing, hearing, and benefitting from nature without loud machinery and fumes that also aggravate asthma. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles with quiet electric engines will replace the roar and pollution of diesel trucks, gas-powered car,s and motorcycles.

We can help ourselves as individuals if we encourage–or should I say push –our leaders to begin a program of replacing gas and diesel engines, to use mostly electric and battery-powered vehicles of all kinds–and use the quietest ones of those–and require all gas-powered lawn care equipment to be replaced with battery or electric-powered and quieter machinery. This has already been accomplished in some cities, and some have helpful trade-in programs so you can bring in your old leaf-blower for a clean, quieter one. We can ask our cities to try such a program. Urge all to go for the quietest of the electric and battery-powered machines, since some are quieter than others.

We should also encourage government to place noise limits on manufacturers of everyday equipment people use often, such as hair dryers and vacuum cleaners, whose use many times per week or per day adds to the total hearing loss researchers say is becoming epidemic. The Quiet Coalition article explains that much of that equipment is dangerously loud, and  also that the usual 85 decibel limit people assumed for years was fine, is in fact very harmful. It recommends that 70 dB  be considered the safe upper limit. It also says many public places such as restaurants are dangerously loud and are harming hearing and, due to noise stress, harming health on a massive scale.

It’s not just average people who are suffering. Post-traumatic stress is rampant  and its victims can suffer from loud noise more than many others.  PTSD occurs in many populations–veterans, refugees from war and disaster, those in the line of fire or injured at mass shootings, those silently suffering from physical and emotional abuse, and those suffering from anxiety and depression which may or may not have been caused by abuse or violent crime. Many rarely get the help or understanding they need. Their fight or flight response is rarely turned off.  Many PTSD sufferers live among us and we may not even know it, and we can help them by not creating super-loud noise,   by encouraging sense of community where we live, and urging government to help create more calming green spaces (cared for without loud gas-powered equipment).

Our rush-rush American  lifestyle already puts us in fight-or-flight mode most of the time, and when we add other stresses such as loud noise we have few chances to calm ourselves. Yet many of us don’t realize what a high-stress state we’re in and may only find out after a stroke, heart attack, or major depression. If you’ve never been severely depressed, know it’s something you definitely don’t want to go through, is hard to recover from, and tends to come back. If we as a country changed our environments and some of the ways we think, we might calm our entire society in many ways including making less loud noise.  So we can help each other to be happier and healthier by reducing noise but also by trying to slow our pace , including our driving speeds (this makes traffic quieter and has  proven to save lives). We can give ourselves some extra down time to, in part, think about why we keep pushing ourselves so hard and fast, and about the kind of world we want to live in.

Such changes could encourage people like landscapers to want to cause less stress to others, and to consider high-enough earnings okay over insisting on highest possible profits (which may really not occur with louder equipment anyway).  Attitude change would help governments  to be less influenced by such people as noise tyrants and by the bottom line, and think first about health and wellbeing. Those still worried about money might see that stress is a major factor in many common diseases, and that decreasing stress would promote enough better health to reduce healthcare costs.  

6  Noises we Need to Decrease now to Reduce Stress & Illness:

Below are some of the things specifically causing our noise-related stress. We must remind ourselves how these add another stress layer to our other lifestyle stresses. If our leaders don’t help us with this, remember that we can  elect people who care about these issues, and work with organizations meant to promote and protect wellbeing of living things and the planet. 

    1. Lawn Care Equipment:  Gas-powered leaf-blowers, many too massive for the job, that millions suffer from, their pleas mostly ignored by government.  Often-hostile company owners using such machines and other loud and irritating ones are free to destroy peace of mind and raise blood pressure widely for long hours, with stunningly little concern for the wellbeing of others.

2. Air Travel:  Jets, helicopters,  and private planes, also freely allowed to destroy peace of mind at all hours in many cities, and which, like landscape equipment, keep people from getting needed calm outside in nature, in their gardens or on their porches. Jets  keep people from sleeping, essential not only to function but to reduce stress that can cause illness. Americans are already sleep-deprived, largely due to our overstressed lifestyle, but jet noise doesn’t help.  Many researchers think more business could be covered on Skype so that air travel can be at least somewhat reduced. Also there are jet silencers now, and more recently quieter planes (Boston’s Logan Airport to its credit is trying to using many of the quieter planes, yet sadly many people still suffer from jet noise often because there are just so many flights and so many residents in flight paths.) New technologies should be funded well, because while they’re expensive, they couldn’t possibly cost more than the health problems resulting from stress and lack of sleep suffered by millions due to constant flyovers. Many people must sleep in the daytimeincluding pilots who fly at night, other night workers,  those recuperating from illness, and small children and their mothers, and not only jets but all the other loud industrial equipment heard during the day keeps them awake. When they make the new laws needed to reduce these noise stresses, government and business need to remember that many people don’t work 9 to 5 in an office away from home. 

3.  All Other Gas-Powered Engines:  Diesel trucks, artificially-loud cars and motorcycles, car alarms, and construction equipment, which like landscape equipment is often allowed by weak laws to torture residents many hours per day.–in my town from 7 am to 7 pm, and on weekends 8 am to 7 pm. There is almost no relief at home all day then, or on weekends, holidays, or any part of any day when people may want to be in their gardens or on their porches or balconies. Often noise prevents them from even opening windows.

7  What else we can do

We have the same brain and nervous system we had centuries ago, so even though we like to think we can adapt to all this noise and to nature deprivation, the evidence from research is that we don’t. Yet we have little power to change things on our own. We do help ourselves and others by simply being thoughtful about noise, for example if we rake rather than blow our leaves, or if we buy non-gas-powered, quieter yard equipment (you might try those made by the EGO company, for example—more on this in another post). We can also help protect others by just talking more softly on our phones in public and not playing music or watching loud videos online or talking loudly when we’re around others in a cafe or a park bench. Those people may be desperate for some quiet time in nature, or in a cafe may just want to read or think or have their own quiet conversation, and we make these things impossible or very stressful when we’re loud. Usually they won’t have the nerve to ask us not to so it’s up to us to be kind. 

It’s become “normal” to make a lot of unnecessary noise and ignore others’ feelings and wellbeing, but there’s a reason people were taught in earlier times that this was the height of rudeness. It’s true that many kinds of rude or selfish behavior seem common right now, but we don’t have to participate, and if each of us helps to make the public environment less stressful we too will benefit. Because humans weren’t designed to hear constant loud artificial noise such as that from mechanical-sounding speaker phones, or just long shouted conversations (shouting can send a stress message of anger or danger to our brains), we help people near us by respecting their often over-stressed nervous systems, some of which are more vulnerable than others. 

When you add loud sound systems that so many businesses use now since they think loud music brings higher profits, you have the current norm of extremely loud noise in most places people used to go for a quiet cup of coffee and book or computer, or for a conversation with a friend.  Retail stores now, too, are off-limits for many who can’t withstand the loud music owners require store managers to play. The manager of one shop I used to enjoy but can’t go into now told me she could not turn down the music because it was controlled by the national office.  Many friends say they can no longer  set foot in  places they used to love, and miss the sense of community they used to have from going to them.  When this happens they often feel more isolated, especially if they don’t work in an office with others as is now common.

I have to call use of super-loud sound systems noise bullying, and yet another example of the almighty dollar winning out over public health and wellbeing. Individuals talking or phoning or playing videos loudly in public places with no regard for others near them are also noise bullies. Sound systems should be regulated. Individuals need to regulate themselves but will do so only if they learn or re-learn to feel empathy concerning others’ stress.  I doubt profits are truly higher with loud music because any increase would be balanced by loss of funds from all the customers who don’t go to the place any longer. Researchers say those who stay will suffer from higher cortisol levels, higher blood pressures–sometimes for hours, and if in the place often enough, gradual hearing loss.

You can do a great deal to protect your neighbors at home from added noise stress too. Use rakes and brooms more if you’re able, buy quieter non-gas-powered yard equipment if you must have it, and use it as little as possible at low volume levels and at reasonable times. You can check with others who live near you when you plan a party. Ask how much noise bothers them, and when they need to sleep. It’s kind anyway to try to keep noise levels down, keeping in mind neighbors’ children’s bedtimes or naps, and need for sleep of those who work at night or who are ill. Neighbors will love you for doing this and will likely reciprocate. So this kindness to others help to protect your own peace of mind, and you get to know your neighbors a little better. This gives an extra boost to your own health and wellbeing. More and more Americans complain that they feel little sense of community. This is a great way to begin to change that.

We can do little on our own about most other entities inflicting noise on us, and that’s why we need to encourage a return of more empathy and kindness in our society,. But we’ll also need to use some muscle to encourage government and business leaders to act to help us. It’s hard for residents to stop those who continue to make stressfully loud noise (some people never do acquire more empathy) without business and government help. But so far those entities seem unable to understand that loud noise is destructive to mental and physical health, and actually contributes to higher healthcare costs. The World Health Organization calls noise disturbance an epidemic. Somehow noise and the pollution often accompanying it remains low on priority lists. so we the people need to bump it up might higher by making a lot of noise ourselves about our need to de-stress and have a better chance to stay mentally and physically healthy. We need to remind them of the cost to them in healthcare dollars if they don’t help.

Returning to kindness and empathy for a moment, while we’re working on the usual slow response of government and business, we can try in any way we can think of to help increase awareness of the need to make our culture kinder. This can help not only with reducing noise but also reducing  aggression and violence caused by those kings of un-kindness, prejudice and hate.  So here’s a suggestion (and I”m sure you have more so do try them!)  How about schools and colleges teaching the importance of cultivating empathy and kindness curriculum-wide, especially in their business and law courses. Then the value of helping our society place wellbeing over highest profits, and place understanding and empathy over destructive prejudices, will be clear. Kindness will have a chance to become more widespread, even, if we’re lucky, becoming the new norm.  

It’s tragic to see something now common in our country:  people in a town begging–and I’ve seen them in tears–for quieter leaf-blowers or banning of gas-powered blowers, while the landscape companies respond with such ferocity that local governments back down. Residents aren’t trying to take income from the companies, but simply are desperate for relief from noise torture. The companies often say they can’t manage as many yards if they’re to do what residents ask. It’s doubtful the relief people need would reduce the companies’ number of yards by more than one or two per day, and with all the quieter non-gas equipment  available I think the companies overestimate how much quieter equipment would slow their work. They also likely overestimate how much profit loss they’ll have if hours are more limited. Do they even consider that if they use the cleanest, quietest equipment, the hours might not have to be limited  as much, and more people might be likely to hire them? One company in my area that does this now has a booming business. Customers and their neighbors love the quiet. So there seems no good reason these fierce battles must continue.

Yet even if we convince more companies to choose wellbeing of the public over the very highest profits, we’ll still need laws to protect us from companies and from individuals who don’t care if they harm others’ wellbeing. We can learn from some other countries a great deal about how to do this, and also how to provide more peace and calm for more people. To see exciting ideas for some of these look online for “happiest countries,”  “happiest cities,” “quietest cities,” etc. and you’ll be amazed. Pass the best of the ideas on to your reps in government, and say this is what you want.

8  Two Final Thoughts

First, as I write this post, one man among a group of people next to me in a coffee shop speaks to several friends at a volume suitable for making a speech to a full stadium. He dominates the others, and shouting on and on at this volume for over an hour. It’s almost impossible to read or think. This large coffee shop is loud, yes, but half the shop hears everything he says. The people he’s with sit just inches from him.  He invades the mental space of those at least a dozen  tables. In the past, or today in some European cities, he would be looked at by others in the room with extreme hostility. In these cities public gathering is as desirable as in other cities, but shouting one’s entire conversation is considered the height of rudeness.

Second, consider this:  loud noise has been used as an instrument of torture.

Below is the link to the above-mentioned  article on how noise is becoming the new secondhand smoke:

*https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/noise-exposure-is-becoming-the-new-secondhand-smoke/2018/05/11/dd080c30-52d3-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html?utm_term=.c6c027241b39

Lack of Climate Change Action is Now Deadly Dangerous

Susan Cooke

Yesterday I’m pretty sure I heard Senator Lindsey Graham, in his moving farewell speech about his best friend Senator John McCain, say that both of them believed in climate change. I still am unclear about how many Republicans actually do not believe in climate change, but I hope, with some desperation, that all of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, will soon say enough is enough to the White House and the EPA and stop the current horrifyingly dangerous ignoring of this crisis.

I don’t think too many of us can take another month, let alone years, sitting by while not only nothing is done but while many earth-saving regulations are actually rolled back. Not only are we more isolated since Trump, we may soon have the honor of being blamed by most people on earth (and all of our children and future generations, if there are any) for not leading the way in immediate and intense steps to stop global warming, while instead, unbelievably, slowing progress in stopping it. We’re so near the point of no return (and beyond it for some events) that even those who don’t believe can certainly manage, if they have a caring bone in their bodies, to go along with the possibility that the climate experts are right, and hurry feverishly to act to save this planet and every living thing in it. It seems nothing short of promoting mass murder not to act now. We only rent our places here, we don’t own this beautiful planet. We have no right to do this to it or its future living things.

A Note on Our New Background Photo

Thanks to Ken McAllister for his beautiful photograph showing nature close to city life, in this case in Vancouver, British Columbia. He in fact titled the photo Nature Meets the City. See his site, www.kjmphotographic.com, for many other magnificent photos. You can see more of his photo on our site if you scroll down some to where there’s less print.