birds and cellphones

Last weekend, I watched an Indian movie called 2.0. It was a great depiction of the fight between good and evil, but most importantly it drove people’s attention to a compelling issue that we all are facing right now — our overdependence on cell phones and how the radiation emitted by cell phone towers are causing birds to die.

In the movie, it is shown that all of a sudden cell phones start escaping and flying away from users’ hands. People are shocked and the entire city gets restless, perplexed by this strange supernatural phenomenon. Like drug addicts, they run amok clueless how to overcome their addiction and codependency with cell phones.

In certain scenes that were nothing short of visual spectacles, it was shown how phones were grouped in unison by an evil force to take revenge against the human kind for killing birds.

I found it quite impactful to see phones working in unison as evil instruments of service for the dark side. It’s funny but I actually did find myself hesitating to reach to my smartphone for a good time even after the movie was completed.

We all have become so addicted to our cell phones that we are neglecting humanity and other living beings on this planet. Our selfish cell phone usage is causing an ecological imbalance and excess radiation from cell phone towers, as shown in the movie, is making birds suffer and disappear.

It’s imminent that we take some concrete action. I’m not asking that we should all dispose our phones and start living without them, I know I certainly can’t because it does add immense value to my life. But all I’m requesting is that we should use our phones intentionally and limit our usage. I’m no exception and I do find myself getting sucked into my smartphone without any purpose from time to time, but it’s in the best interest of ourselves and our environment that we let go of our compulsive usage of cell phones.

As the ornithologist in the movie suggests, we don’t have to take extreme measures but simply limit the radiation transmission from the towers in a range that is safe and restrict the number of towers and if possible the cell phone service providers so that we don’t go overboard. But the first step needs to be taken by us by reducing our digital demands. If we start limiting our cell phone consumption and control our dependency, cell phone service providers may start cutting back too.

Even a small step taken by each one of us can bring a revolution. All of us can work towards making some constructive rules around our personal digital consumption. Even limiting our usage for one day per week can benefit the world and the innocent beings that are suffering due to this. For instance, The Minimalists have recently started with an initiative called Screenless Saturdays where they stay away from their digital devices and avoid glowing screens for the entire day.

As one of the characters mentioned in the movie, cell phone has become a necessity — a basic need — these days. Although cell phones flying away out of the blue is a work of fiction, there’s no doubt that our lives will get derailed as well if this scenario happened in real life.  

The movie beautifully depicts our addiction towards smartphone and our neglect of meaningful contribution. We think that if we forward a message about a worthy cause or initiative to multiple contacts on our phones and texting apps, our job is done. But this is a wrong mindset. As Mahatma Gandhi preached, in order to bring a change in the world, we need to be the change first. Words are not enough, we need to act and take charge.

Being a human entails taking care of our nature and all the living beings around us as much as we can. It’s our supreme duty to work for the common good. And if we are becoming digital slaves and half-awake cyborg zombies day by day, we are losing our human emotions and neglecting our duties and responsibilities that we need to fulfill as citizens of the planet.

I know I’m brainstorming ways and working towards making some rules for myself to minimize my cell phone usage and getting better with walking on the path of digital minimalism. Are you doing your bit?