Those kooky Greens

I’ve been considering running in the upcoming Vancouver municipal election and the thought of seeking a Vancouver Greens nomination had crossed my mind, but I think I don’t think I’m quite ready to sign on with them yet. Two news items today reminded me how prominent anti-science environmentalism is in the party.

First, the BC Greens have taken a strong stance against the introduction of Smart Meters in the province.

Smart Meters are a new kind of Wi-Fi power meter that supposedly allows better monitoring of power consumption, and is a part of upgrading the entire electric grid in the province. BC Hydro is fully behind the implementation as a way to modernize our grid.

Now, there are likely some legitimate concerns about the cost of replacing an entire province’s electric meters, but that’s not what the Greens have latched onto:

…wireless technology poses a potential risk to health and the environment and further research that is independent of industry funding is needed.

Where do the Greens go for a source for this claims?

Why, none other than Canada’s professional Wi-Fi fear monger, Magda Havas:

Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Since the 1990s, Dr. Havas’s research has focused on the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive.

Dr. Havas joins Jane Sterk, leader of the Green Party of BC in calling for cancelling implementation of the wireless smart meters. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich supports this change. [emphasis theirs]

It’s never reassuring when their one source for this fear is a researcher who works with people who have an unverified and likely falsely diagnosed condition like electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Much like “wind turbine syndrome,” this ‘condition’ seems to be little more than a hypochondrial response.

People actually reading the words I write and quote here will notice that our lone federal Green MP stands behind this ban, which brings me to my second piece of disappointment from the Greens.

Jonathan Kay at the National Post blogs reports on a Twitter exchange that May had today:

Oh, but wait — here comes Green Party leader Elizabeth May, tweeting her way to ridicule this week with a Twitter message that declared: “It is very disturbing how quickly Wifi has moved into schools as it is children who are the most vulnerable.” She also Tweeted a message to our friend Colby Cosh at Maclean’s that the technology “is one prevailing theory re disappearance of pollinating insects.”

After a barrage of criticism, Ms. May used her Twitter account to defend herself, claiming that all of her claims were “evidence-based,” and suggesting that she is merely being cautious about an untested technology. But the fact that she Tweeted “So glad I don’t have Wifi at home” means she clearly has swallowed this nonsense and uses it to guide her own IT choices.

Well done Green Parties.

At least there’s one Skeptic among you.

Finally, to end with some good news, another study (which does seem a bit methodologically weak) out today adds to the growing evidence that cell phones do not pose any risk for brain cancer. In this case they looked solely at children and teenagers, finding no statistically significant link.

One thought on “Those kooky Greens

  1. Does anyone remember the hysteria about Video Display Tubes (VDT’s). For the younger set, those were the predecesors of computer screens and were (basically) hidef colour television screens.
    There were all sorts of claims that VDT’s emitted radiation and it was detrimential to your health. There was a flurry of magazines specifically devoted to VDT radiation research. I worked (at the time, this was the 80′s) for Sherritt Gordon in Fort Sask. and the nursing staff onsite insisted that we track the number of hours we sat infront of a VDT every day.
    The Company eventually asked the local radiation specialists (I don’t recall the actual arm of the Govt involved here) and they gave us the low down on the relative risk (since their equipment could not actually measure any radiation coming from the VDT’s). Bascially we received more radiation by sleeping next to your spouse and were at risk of losing you life by eating a jar of peanut butter or spending 1 hour in New York city.

    Extraordinary claims like this surface now and again and can only be addressed by demanding proof or a procedure to arrive a proof. As well, what is the injury being made and what is the mechanism.

    Its as credible as people who see ghosts when the old house they live in creaks at night.

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