Paul Howson’s Website

Personal Reflections

Disappearing Insects and The Invisible Rainbow

“Australia All Over” with Ian McNamarra (“Macca”) is weekly Sunday morning program on ABC Local Radio in which people from around the country call in and chat to Macca. Recently there was talk about the apparent “disappearance” of insects — i.e. that insects were becoming less common than before. I wrote the following email to Macca, inspired by my recent reading of the book “The Invisible Rainbow — A History of Electricity and Life” by Arthur Firstenberg.

On last week’s program there was mention of insects and their observed disappearance from vehicle windscreens and from our environs in general.

You suggested loss of habitat as one cause.

In 1962 Rachael Carson’s book “Silent Spring” dropped a bomb on an unsuspecting world. The apparently wondrous products of the agro-chemical industry had serious side effects on living systems from insects to people. Although controversial at the time, the message of Silent Spring is nowadays widely accepted.

Hence your acknowledgement of agro-chemicals as another potential reason for the disappearance of insects.

But agro-chemicals have been around since at least the 1950s. Why are insects disappearing in recent times? Is there another omnipresent yet unseen pollutant invading insect habitats?

Ask yourself this question: What technology has been rolled out across the world in the past twenty years that now pervades the habitats of both humans and insects? You don’t have to look very far. You might be holding it in your hand. It is pulsed microwave radiation from cell towers, mobile phones and wi-fi that blankets our cities, the countryside and even our homes.

And for this era there is a new Rachael Carson. His name is Arthur Firstenberg and his book is called “The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life”. The result of 30 years of research, it is a bombshell for today just as was Silent Spring in 1962.

In Chapter 16, titled “Bees, Birds, Trees and Humans”, we learn about numerous scientific studies that demonstrate experimentally how microwave radiation from cell towers, mobile phones and wi-fi causes serious damage to many lifeforms, humans and insects included.

The agro-chemical industry fought back against the claims in Silent Spring. Rachael Carson and her supporters were subjected to attacks and vilification. Yet the truth of her message eventually prevailed.

And so we find that the smartphone and computer industry, the modern day purveyors of technological miracles, deny there are any undesirable side effects from their products and seek to discredit and vilify anyone who suggests otherwise.

I urge interested listeners to read Mr Firstenberg’s book and decide for themselves whether the silver cloud of our ubiquitous “devices” has a dark lining. Might this explain why the insects are disappearing?