Gerry Higgins of Norris Arm is pushing a stone up a hill. His battle to educate and inform about the dangers of exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) has been at times a lonely one.
There are a couple of big hurdles that faces Mr. Higgins on his quest, not the least of which is our society's complete acceptance of the tech world. If you think about it how often throughout the day are you within a few yards of electronics? How close is the transformers outside your house? How much of the day is your ear connected to a cordless or cellular phone? The modern world bathes us in EMF radiation on a daily basis. There lies Mr. Higgins biggest hurdle in his public appeal. No one is prepared to do without the conveniences of our connected world.
It was with that reservation that I and some of my collegues from Community Linkages met with Mr. Higgins to talk EMF. After speaking with him I have a new perspective. My change of heart comes from a couple of primary factors, not the least of which is the personality and experience of Mr. Higgins himself. Mr. Higgins is very polite and softspoken, his debate backed by the credibility of scientific experts the world over, and he is no longer alone in his crusade. The issue of the negetative effects of EMF exposure on human physiology gaining validity in the scientific community and his campaign, it is discovered, has a far wider reach than one man from Norris Arm asking questions.
The true eye-opener for me though in speaking with Mr. Higgins is that he is not a man preaching a doomsday senario. With an assortment of documents, EMF readers and gauges he shows how small changes can reduce our EMF exposure. Proximity affects EMF, our "quality" of electricity affects EMF, the amount of wireless devices, types and intensity of audio visual equipment and lighting... an audit of your home and workplace could tag all of these potential hazards.
What Mr. Higgins is advocating is simple. An independent study of the effects of EMF in our lives. This would be a tremendous start. Recognizing the extent of EMF radiation we can then take the necessary steps to reduce that exposure. In that effort Mr. Higgins has not been without some success. He tells the CLC that Light and Power in his hometown of Norris Arm has already moved 23 poles and transformers up to 1/4 mile from his house. He shows with pride letters from mayors proclaiming EMF awareness month. They are signed by Norris Arm Major Fred Budgell, David Saunders mayor of Colwood BC and the mayor of the capital city Doc O'Keefe amoung others. The certificate proclaims in part "whereas EM Sensitivity is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian government... and the Americans with Disabilities Act... and the illness may be preventable...[the undersigned] proclaims Electromagnetic Sensitivy Month.
When we consider how in a short lifetime we have gotten rid of Asbestos insulation, lead paint on children's toys, and leaded gasoline it is not a stretch to anticipate a world where building codes, municipal planners, and government energy policy is built around reducing our EMF exposure. We live in a world which is far more knowledgeable of the environmental factors that can negatively impact our children's growth and development; peanut-free snack foods and fragrence free buildings where onheard of in my youth. As a boy I sat in the back of a pick-up truck where there was no seatbelt, and tried as best I could to keep the ashes from my uncle's cigarettes from landing on my peanut butter cookies. Times change.
Given the momentum of Mr. Higgins' campaign I suspect that before too long he will have made the crest of the hill with the stone he is pushing. We can only hope that as an educated society we are prepared for the momentum on the downward roll.
DJ Fancey for Community Linkages
Note: Stay tuned for further developments from Community Linkages and Gerry Higgins on EMF education.