Can You Help Jody?
Tasmanian woman Jody Watkins has been living in a tent - battling bureaucracy and the bitter cold - to spare her health from the effects of modern technology.
Ms Watkins has been camping on a remote parcel of land near her original property near Cygnet, southern Tasmania, since 2015, after the installation of a fixed wireless NBN tower forced her to abandon her purpose-built house.
Ms Watkins, 43, suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which makes exposure to mobiles, Wi-Fi, laptops and other modern devices physically intolerable.
Ms Watkins’ treating doctor, Dr Russell Cooper, said while some individuals reported mild symptoms and reacted by avoiding the fields as best they could, others could be so severely affected that they ceased work and changed their entire lifestyles.
“Exposure to modern devices we take for granted can cause severe headaches, disorientation, pain, lethargy, exhaustion, nausea, tinnitus and depression in sufferers,” Dr Cooper said.
Ms Watkins also suffers from Chemical Sensitivity and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which along with the EHS, has diminished her ability to live a normal life.
Ms Watkins’ 2012 appeal against the NBN tower to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT) - on the grounds of inadequate notice to residents - was dismissed after it was discovered her appeal had been lodged six days after the specified timeframe.
Ms Watkins found a property for sale nearby, in a valley sheltered from the tower’s emissions.
But being on a low income has meant securing the funds to buy the property and move her house onto it has been a mammoth struggle.
Dr Russell Cooper said Ms Watkins’ living conditions were “precarious and inadequate”, and that she was “far from coping at this stage”.
Ms Watkins’ Gofundme appeal is at: https://www.gofundme.com/2gs8s8tk