14 September 2016
The Church and the Urgent Protection of Life Against Electromagnetic Pollution: Letter from Civil Society Organizations to Pope Francis
A desperate cry from Laudato Si'
(Letter from civil society organizations to the Pope Francis, in favour of a precautionary regulation of the electromagnetic pollution, World Youth Day, Krakow, 26-31 July 2016)
Dear Holy Father, Francis:
We write to You to communicate to you our heavy concerns about the degradation of the environment and of health which results from exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields.
We turn to You as members of various associations and citizen’s platforms i concerned about environmental exposure to electromagnetic fields (neighbourhood associations , environmentalists, consumers, parents, people affected by environmental diseases of central sensitization as electrosensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity, health advocacy against electromagnetic pollution, ...) in many countries. Our groups tend to be non-confessional, coming together in them both non-believers and believers of different religions. We deeply respect each other. We are part of the human family. We focus on sensitivity to the environment and respect for life manifested in the defence of our "common home" of your Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’.
As Christians who participate in these groups, we take the initiative of writing this letter and sending it to You in the name of our groups who delegated this mission in us to present active measures that we deem that the Catholic Church could carry out in this domain (see section “What can the Church do?”)
Our concerns are supported by numerous calls from scientists and professional associations, which were raised for several decades. Recently (2015) more than 200 specialists from 39 countries, specialists in bio-electromagnetics with more than 2,000 publications in the field made an urgent appeal to the UN and WHO asking them to act with respect to a problem of planetary consequences that threatens humanity, as well as other living beings (animals and plants)ii . We refer to pollution from electromagnetic fields (EMF) of artificial origin, whose effects are being felt throughout the Earth, especially by its most vulnerable beings. The influence of pressure groups linked to the industry, the lack of transparency and the conflict of interest reported in committees and international organizations who value this type of environmental risks are examples of greed, ruthlessness and senselessness, where SCARCE responsible institutional responses are leading us to a worrying situation with unpredictable consequences. There are already many scientific reports and various institutional statements warning of the seriousness of the issue and its adverse biological effects iii, on which basis the urgent application of the precautionary principle and of the ALARA / ALATA principles (levels as low as reasonably radiation and technologically possible) are requested, so as to put the health and life ahead of any other interest. Likewise, there are calls for compliance with the Aarhus Convention (1998) to ensure citizen participation in all matters affecting them, and for 2 compliance with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) to protect Electro-Hyper-Sensitive people (EHS).
We are a group of persons highly aware and concerned with this problem. Many of us suffer the effects of this growing artificial radiation, often living desperate situations. Our existence is increasingly difficult, sometimes almost impossible. Many have fallen ill, deteriorating our human dignity to the limit. Some have not supported this untenable situation, because of the progressive deterioration suffered and because of institutional neglect, including cases of suicide.
We turn to You who as the highest authority of the Catholic Church propose a social message which reflects your passion for the human being, for life in general. We turn to your compassion for those who suffer. You can do a lot to improve this situation.
"Sister, Mother Earth" (Saint Francis de Assisi’, Canticle of the Creatures)
From this particular social and Christian perspective, we turn to You. We trust in your sensitivity to the deterioration of our "common home".
"Sister, Mother Earth”, which "sustains and governs us" iv, , is handled with violence, and the human being with her. The garden to be cared (Genesis 1), is being trampled. It is urgent to heal and protect it.
Your Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (LS) v , dedicated to the care of our "common house", strongly encouraged us to turn towards You. We were also encouraged by the concern and involvement on the issue of electromagnetic pollution which was expressed by the Jesuit community of Mumbai in India in various international Jesuit publications: Jesuits for the World in November 2012 and in the Jesuit Yearbook 2014 vi. We greatly appreciate that the Society of Jesus expresses great sensitivity towards Ecology and the urgency of taking care of the Earth for all generations. In its special report on Ecology, the Society of Jesus indicated "the deterioration of the environment as a result of human activity has taken on a decisive importance for the future of our planet and the living conditions of coming generations". vii
We come before You primarily as people who love the wonderful gift of life and the our common home where it develops, but express fears concerning its sustainability; as well as families and people affected by the preventable ecological attack resulting from electromagnetic pollution. We feel like cry of the earth and of the oppressed (LS, 49), victims of injustice and evil.
In your Encyclical Letter You repeatedly invite us to dialogue about our common Home (LS, 3, 61, and 64). Human beings have a close relationship with ecology (LS, 118). "Everything is connected" (LS, 70, 91, 117, 137, 138). The social degradation caused by electromagnetic pollution must be seen within the "human and social dimensions" of the integral Ecology (LS, 137). Man has developed a special ability to alter the environment, with the ability to generate very sophisticated technically advanced environments (called "technosphere"), which may lead to great benefits, but can also produce extreme environmental modification viii. Hence, the urgent need to develop, for example, an 'ethical' ix and biocompatible electronics, so that both its production process and its use are respectful of human beings and nature. 3
What can the Church do?
− Adhere to the European Manifesto for a European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) for a protective regulation of exposure to electromagnetic fields, requesting countries to adopt Resolution 1815 (2011) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the potential hazards of electromagnetic fields and their effects on the environment. 7
− Lend attention to recommendations in independent scientific reports free of conflict of interest. Support and/or launch scientific studies about health effects mechanisms of electromagnetic fields. − Support appeals for the protection of health coming from various scientific groups and institutions presented at international level, for example the one presented in 2015 to the UN and WHO.
− Protect dependent spaces and Church buildings (temples, churches, retreat houses, convents, etc.), not installing electromagnetic radiation and which are unhealthy and prejudicial to the natural environment (antennas, telephones -DECT- fixed base, Wi-Fi, wireless paging, etc.), and removing those devices or systems that are already installed, replacing them if necessary by cable or optical fibres; thus ensuring that they become "white areas" free of radiation.
− Allow temporary stay in places free of radiation (white areas) for particularly vulnerable people and for electrohipersensitive people, as an expression of respect for the community for the place, which hosts it.
− Avoid installing telephone antennas or other radiant systems in its different buildings (facades, steeples, roofs, religious symbols, etc.).
− Promote cable or optical fibres connectivity in its schools, renouncing wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi) and other radiant systems, in order to protect the health and life of the entire educational community. Urge governments in this regard, to ensure education centres are free of electromagnetic pollution
− Adopt In all communities served precautionary measures and promotion of healthy habits and responsible consumption that can free us from radiation as much as possible, lowering exposure levels down to those considered biocompatible.
− Review the communication systems of the Church, in order to adjust to previously mentioned resolution 1815 and to precautionary scientific and institutional recommendations.
− Adopt within its competency frameworks protocols for the recognition, care and protection of EHS persons, in the line requested in the opinion approved by the section for 'Transport, energy, infrastructure and the information society' (TEN) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on January 7, 2015. Similarly, address with particularly sensitivity those who have lost a family member.
− Pressurize the various international organizations, governments, communities and policy makers, to take this issue seriously, and adopt the precautionary principle, the ALARA / ALATA principles and adopt models of coexistence as those set out in the Aarhus Convention and the Disability. They must preserve human dignity, the present life and that of future generations.
− In its usual messages, transmit recommendations for the protection of life in relation to this matter, creating public awareness about it, in agreement with the spirit of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. 8
i The European Coordination of organizations for a regulation of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) exposure, which truly protects public health. The Coordinator drives the European Manifesto in Support the ECI in favour of the precautionary regulation of the EMF exposure. This European manifesto amongst the signatories to this European Manifesto there are scientists, researchers and experts, as well as professional bodies and associations and representatives of civil society organizations (from health advocates, consumers, neighbours, environmentalists, ecologists, labour union, parents of students, people with central sensitization syndromes -electrohypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc.-, brain tumour patients, concerned citizens and activists associations working in the field of electromagnetic pollution), coming from 25 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Portugal, UK, Russia, South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA). See this European Manifesto:
See the first signatories:
Full text of letter: