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Thousands Of Genetically Modified Insects Are Set For Release

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Anopheles funestus mosquitoThousands of Genetically Modified (GM) insects developed by British scientists are set to be released into fields across Europe as an alternative to chemical pesticides. Granted, pesticides have been responsible for jeopardizing human health, damaging the environment and killing millions of bees and other insects, but is the proper solution manufacturing genetically modified insects?

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The idea is to release a large number of GM olive flies that will be used to kill off wild pests that damage the crop. The company responsible for their manufacture and release is Oxitec.  They plan to release GM male olive flies that would naturally mate with the females, ultimately resulting in the death of female offspring at the larvae or maggot stage. The thought is that this would lead to a reduction in the olive fly population, which would allow the trees to produce fruit without the need for chemical sprays.

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Oxitec has applied to Spanish regulatory authorities for permission to carry out a netted field trial of its GM insects. If the trial is successful, more trials will be carried out in Greece and Italy- the company also eventually hopes to be able to use the GM insects in British fields as well.

Our approach is aimed not only at controlling the olive fly, but also to avoid harming other species. By using our form of genetic sterility our flies are designed to eliminate the pest and not to stay in the environment. – Oxitec’s Dr Martha Koukidou (1)

In my view the use of GM insects to eradicate this pest is a necessary step towards achieving zero pesticide use. Critics of this technology who warn of danger to health and environment are scaremongering. European agriculture is facing some severe challenges. The burden of agricultural pests is ever present while the number of control approaches is shrinking in the face of insecticide resistance and de-registration of existing chemical treatments. To survive and prosper, European farming will need to evaluate and embrace new solutions and new technologies which are effective, sustainable and safe. If approved, this evaluation will be an important step to brining an exciting new approach to the farmers who need it- Hadyn Parry, Oxitec chief executive  (1)

Supporters of the GM insects, like Oxitec, claim that those who oppose the idea are simply fear mongering. This is currently the same response from the big biotech giants to opposers of genetically modified foods. Recently, we have found out that opponents of genetically modified foods have been correct with their concerns, as multiple studies have surfaced over the past couple of years that indicated GMOs can be very harmful to the environment, as well as pose multiple risks to human health.

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It’s no different with these genetically modified insects, mosquitos to be exact, they’ve already been released into the public without a proper risk assessment.

Dr Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, warned:

Releasing Oxite’s GM fruit flies is a deeply flawed approach to reducing numbers of these pests, because large numbers of their offspring will die as maggots in the fruit. Not only does this fail to protect the crop, millions of GM fruit fly maggots will enter the food chain where they could pose risks to human health and the environment. Oxitec’s experiments should not go ahead until rules for safety testing and plans for labelling and segregation of contaminated fruits have been thoroughly debated and assessed. If these issues are ignored, growers could suffer serious impacts on the market for their crops.(1)

So what does this mean for animals that eat these flies as part of their routine diet? Or what about the humans that then eat these animals? Plans to commercialize GM insects would result in millions of GM insects being released onto field crops, including olives, tomatoes, citrus fruits, cabbages and cotton. Millions of GMO mosquitoes have already been released in experiments intended to reduce transmission of the tropical disease dengue fever, did you know about this? The release of GM insects are covered by laws and regulations that cover the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), however, there is no specific regulatory process for GM insects anywhere in the world. (2) (3)

Regulatory decisions on GM insects in Europe and around the world are being biased by corporate interests as the UK biotech company Oxitec has infiltrated decision-making processes around the world. The company has close links to the multinational pesticide and seed company, Syngenta. Oxitec has already made large-scale open releases of GM mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia and Brazil and is developing GM agricultural pests, jointly with Syngenta. (2)(3)

The public will be shocked to learn that GM insects can be released into the environment without any proper oversight. Conflicts of interest should be removed from all decision making processes to ensure the public have a proper say about these plans – Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK (4)

The use of GM technologies is controversial. Some organizations such as GeneWatch UK and EcoNexus fear that reliance on high-tech solutions like genetic modification detracts from more effective but poorly deployed measures to combat the harm caused by insects. These are the companies we need to hear more about because they are the ones that directly monitor the use of genetic technologies. Environmental NGOs like Greenpeace suggest that GM insects could have unintended and wide ranging impacts on the environment and human health due to the complexity of ecosystems and the high number of unknown factors which make risk assessment difficult. These companies have raised a number of concerns which include (2):

  • New insects or diseases may fill ecological niche left by the insects suppressed or replaced, possibly resulting in new public health or agricultural problems
  • The new genes engineered into the insects may jump into other species, a process called horizontal transfer, causing unintended consequences to the ecosystem
  • Releases would be impossible to monitor and irreversible, as would any damage done to the environment

A briefing done by these organizations also shows that Oxitec is trying to influence regulatory processes for GM insects, that they (3):

  • Don’t want to be liable for any complications
  • Try to avoid any regulation of GM agricultural pests on crops appearing in the food chain
  • Excludes important issues from risk assessments, like the impact on human health
  • Release of large amounts of GM insects prior to regulations
  • Undermining the requirement to obtain informed consent for experiments involving insect species which transmit disease

The list of concerns go on and on. This is something that you don’t hear in corporate media, despite the importance of dialogue, it seems developments within this field are sneaking by very quietly. Should we not discuss this? Should there not be a proper risk assessment done? Concerning ourselves with our food, health and our environment is something we need to take very seriously. Developments that should attract a great deal of concern are happening without anybody knowing about them. These are some of the most important issues that our world faces today and some of the most important issues that will contribute in shaping the near future of our planet and the path we choose to take.

Sources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=genetically-engineered-mosquitoes

http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v29/n11/full/nbt.2019.html

(3)http://www.testbiotech.de/sites/default/files/Briefing%20genetically%20engineered%20Insects.pdf

(2)http://www.inasp.info/uploads/filer_public/2013/04/03/3_handout_1.pdf

(1)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2410484/Scientists-launch-thousands-GM-insects-fields-alternative-chemicals.html

(4)http://farmwars.info/?p=9457

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Environmental

3 Million Masks a Minute: The Next Plastic Problem?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies estimate worldwide humans are using 129 billion face masks each month. Most masks are disposable, made from plastic microfibers that are not biodegradable and may fragment into smaller plastic particles polluting ecosystems.

  • Reflect On:

    What's the solution to the words plastic pollution problems? Why do we even use it when there are so many other biodegradable substances we can use? Why has plastic not been banned worldwide?

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The high demand for face masks since the coronavirus pandemic began has resulted in the production of billions of disposable masks — with no way to properly dispose of them.

Masks are littering cities, clogging sewage channels and turning up in bodies of water, prompting researchers to warn of the potential for masks to become the next “plastic problem.”

Recent studies estimate that worldwide, humans are using 129 billion face masks each month — about 3 million a minute. Most of them are disposable face masks made from plastic, non-biodegradable microfibers that break down into smaller plastic particles — micro- and nanoplastics — that become widespread in ecosystems.

The World Health Organization says an estimated 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID response each month, a trend likely to persist for some time.

At the start of the outbreak, U.S. officials estimated the country would need 300 million face masks to cope with the pandemic in 2020. U.S. manufacturer 3M made 550 million masks in 2019 and plans to produce 2 billion this year as long as the pandemic lasts.

“The enormous production of disposable masks is on a similar scale as plastic bottles, which is estimated to be 43 billion per month,”said environmental toxicologist Elvis Genbo Xu from the University of Southern Denmark, and professor Zhiyong Jason Ren, an expert in civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University. “But unlike plastic bottles, there is no way to recycle face masks, making them more likely to be disposed of in inappropriate ways.”

Common surgical masks have three layers: an outer layer with non-absorbent fibrous material (like polyester) that protects against liquid splashes, a middle layer with non-woven fabrics (like polypropylene and polystyrene) created using a meltblown process which prevents droplets and aerosols via an electrostatic effect, and an inner layer made of absorbent material like cotton to absorb vapor.

Masks contain many polymers, including fabric polypropylene. Polypropylene is one of the most commonly produced plastics and does not easily break down. Weathering from solar radiation and heat cause polypropylene to generate a large number of micro-sized polypropylene particles and nanoplastics.

Disposable face masks are made directly from microsized plastic fibers, which release plastic particles easier and faster than bulk plastics like plastic bags. A newer generation of masks, called nanomasks, releases even smaller particles creating a new source of nanoplastic pollution, according to the University of Southern Denmark.

Like other plastic debris, “disposable masks may accumulate and release harmful chemical and biological substances, such as bisphenol Aheavy metals and pathogenic microorganisms,” according to Xu and Ren. Some of the toxic chemicals released during degradation of plastic polymers include phthalatesorganotinnonylphenolpolybrominated biphenyl ether and triclosan.

The impacts of plastic as a solid waste and microplastics contamination in the environment have been investigated, validated and demonstrated by different researchers in various publications, according to a study in Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Face masks get into the environment when disposed in landfills and dumpsites or littered in public spaces. They then make their way into lakes, rivers and oceans, breaking down into plastic particles within a few weeks.

In the years prior to the pandemic, environmentalists warned about skyrocketing plastic pollution and its threat to oceans and marine life. As much as 13 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, according to a 2018 estimate by UN Environment.

According to a report by OceanAsia, roughly 52 billion face masks were manufactured in 2020 to meet the demand of the coronavirus pandemic and 1.56 billion were estimated to have entered the ocean, resulting in 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of face masks. These masks take as long as 450 years to completely break down –– slowly turning into microplastics that negatively affect marine wildlife and ecosystems.

The environmental research community needs to move faster to understand and mitigate these risks, said researchers Xu and Ren. They proposed the following for dealing with the problem:

  • Set up mask-only trash cans for collection and disposal. Do not put masks in the recycling.
  • Consider standardization, guidelines and strict implementation of waste management for mask wastes.
  • Replace disposable masks with reusable face masks like cotton masks.
  • Develop biodegradable disposal masks with materials that are safe.

Article written by Megan Redshaw, a freelance reporter for The Defender. She has a background in political science, a law degree and extensive training in natural health.

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Environmental

Zimbabwe Man Invents An Electric System That Charges Itself

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Sangulani (Maxwell) Chikumbutso has invented an electric system that runs off a battery. The unique thing is the battery charges itself with electromagnetic radiation that's present naturally in the environment. It can run forever.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do these technologies never see the light of day? Why are they usually ridiculed and brushed off as fake? What would the implications be if this technology was released to the world?

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A few years ago multiple media outlets began to report a new development designed by a man from Zimbabwe named Sangulani (Maxwell) Chikumbutso, who claimed to have successfully created an electric powered vehicle and system which runs on a battery that has the ability to charge itself, making it the first ever electric vehicle that never needs charging.

According to Maxwell’s claims, the energy to power the battery is taken from electromagnetic waves that exist all around us and are naturally present in our environment. The vehicle had 5 normal gel batteries which were sufficient enough to start the vehicle and charge the batteries, and from there on in, the batteries are constantly charging.

His story and developments began to make noise. For example, SABC News, a major news station owned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation picked up the story and relayed it to their viewers.

According to the Zambian Observer,

“The United States government has given Zimbabwe’s prolific inventor Maxwell Chikumbutso a new home in its populous state of California. Chikumbutso is the founder of Saith Holdings Inc. under which he made headlines for his serial innovations which include the world’s first ever green power generator which can produce electricity using radio frequencies, an electric powered car which doesn’t consume fuel, a fuelled helicopter and many more.”

When this story broke, a number of “fact-checkers” simply labelled it as false without any investigation. When I first saw this I thought to myself, why would multiple media outlets cover the story, film it and present it to the entire country if it was fake? And why did fact checkers simply label the story as false from the armchairs of their offices without providing any evidence showing that it was?

Despite fact-checkers labelling this information as false without any investigation, new energy enthusiasts and makers of one of the most viewed documentaries in human history, THRIVE: What on Earth Will It Take, Foster Gamble and Kimberly Carter Gamble decided to actually go to Zimbabwe and vet the technology for themselves. Since Foster has been looking into and studying new energy technologies for more than 30 years, this was both an exciting moment but one filled with careful consideration, as the vast majority of claims like this are in fact false.

The Thrive team met Maxwell when they landed, and quickly sensed that Maxwell was a good hearted soul who has the desire the change the world. But did his technology truly work? The next morning, Maxwell took them to see a device, which uses the same technology behind the electric car mentioned above. The unit shown in the video clip below is ample enough to power 300 homes, continuously, forever. Likely with maintenance of course. Think about the implications of that…

The full story and more is covered in their new film, Thrive II: This Is What It Takes.  You can see a brief clip from THRIVE II below and Foster and Kimberly’s interaction with Maxwell.

In the film, Chikumbutso explains:

One of the painful realities I have seen in energy is this is a very dangerous game all together. Yeah, especially free energy, because you know they can try to kill it – using professional people and that has happened to me…I went through a lot, poisons, like I’m saying right now, I’m fighting it. They come to you then they say, No, you mustn’t do this.” When they see you’re not giving up, then they can just frame you, then they can so no, you’ve done ABC.” My prayer is this thing must see the light of day.

As far as those “fact checkers” go. As I mentioned above they simply labelled this development as false. For example, PolitiFact explained that “Three years ago, a man at a one-day event touted “inventions,” including a car that defies the laws of physics. Since 2015, his story has only found a home on false news blogs and conspiracy sites.”

Snopes did the same, also mentioning our article that was publishing covering the story:

On 25 April 2018, the conspiracy oriented, reality-adjacent website Collective Evolution picked up the story once again, this time citing the aforementioned Zambian Observer story and the 2015 video of that same event from South African television. As is often the case with Collective Evolution articles, the claims made there have been cloned and regurgitated ad infinitum by other dubious clickbait sites.

Again, there is absolutely no evidence or investigation by these fact checkers to vet the technology, and the common theme used to try and debunk Chikumbutso is that his invention breaks the laws of physics, the second law of thermodynamics to be exact, because it produces more energy than is put into the device. They also use ridicule to support their narrative.

We here at Collective Evolution would argue that the device does not at all break the laws of physics, and that the law is not well understood, or needs to be revised. Furthermore, if there’s one thing constant about physics it’s change.

Take, for example, prominent physicist Lord Kelvin, who stated in the year 1900 that, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” 

It wasn’t long after this statement when Einstein published his paper on special relativity. Einstein’s theories challenged the accepted framework of knowledge at the time, and forced the scientific community to open up to an alternate view of reality.

It serves as a great example of how concepts that are taken to be absolute truth are susceptible to change. It’s also important to mention that if these fact-checkers actually did some investigation into this case, they would have a different opinion. How come fact checkers have the ability to label something as false without any actual investigation?

That’s why people like Foster and Kimberly are so important.

In fact, there are multiple inventions out there that appear to break the second law of thermodynamics which have received absolutely no attention. For example, renowned inventor and engineer Paramahamsa Tewari developed an electrical generator that put out more power than it takes in, achieving over-unity efficiency. He published a paper in Physics Essays titled “Structural relation between the vacuum space and the electron” in 2018 before he passed. The paper explains the concepts behind the make-up of what we perceive to be our physical material world, the concepts in there explain the the thoughts behind his generator. You can view a video of the generator here, and read more about it in an article I dive deeper about it, here.

Concluding Remarks: The fact that these technologies, and similar technologies that can provide “free energy” to the planet exist is very exciting. We here at Collective Evolution have also had the privilege of seeing some of these technologies with our own eyes, and it’s quite unfortunate that they always come under such a harsh resistance. What does that tell you about our world and the underlying stories that navigate our current thinking? The fact is, new energy technologies like the one mentioned in this article have the ability to completely collapse the biggest energy companies in the world. Just because this is true, does not mean we should not approach the conversation and determine how we can implement them and perhaps create further adjustments in our society along the way.

I started to examine the breakthrough solutions, and much to my surprise, these concepts have been proven in hundreds of laboratories throughout the world, and yet they have not really seen the light of day. If the new energy technologies were to be set free worldwide, the change be profound, it would affect everybody, it would be applicable everywhere. These technologies are absolutely the most important thing that’s happened in the history of the world.  – Dr Brian O’Leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor

Professor Emeritus at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire. He outlined the importance of these concepts in his paper titled Space and Terrestrial Transportation and Energy Technologies For The 21st Century.

There is significant evidence that scientists since Tesla have known about this energy, but that its existence and potential use has been discouraged and indeed suppressed over the past half century or more.  – Dr. Theodor C. Loder, III (source)

Imagine a planet where we live in transparency and all developments are made public. Why does something that threatens power have to be kept a secret? Why is the excuse always to protect “national security.” Why is our planet like this, and why are we accepting and choosing to live the way we do when we have the potential to do so much better?

Of course, energy is a huge part of our existing economy, and thus it’s easy to see how disrupting energy is disrupting the entire economy. We would lose jobs, industries etc. Our progress as a species is held back by our love affair with our current ways of thinking and economy, even when it creates a world that is slowly destroying itself. So what’s the solution then? Transparent discussion ad a new conversation. We must begin realizing what it is that truly holds back these technologies, and it isn’t as simple as saying ‘the elite’ or ‘the deep state.’ It’s our ways of thinking and being, our collective story.

We talk about this in great detail in an interview with someone who has been working in the ‘new energy’ space for many years. Dive into this important conversation on CETV here.

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Environmental

Half a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Make COVID-19 Vaccine

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Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline may need to slaughter half a million sharks to harvest squalene, an oil made in shark livers, to make a new line of COVID jabs. Glaxo mixes squalene with a witches’ brew of proprietary surfactants to produce its controversial AS03 vaccine adjuvant. Adjuvants are compounds that amplify immune response to hyperstimulate the immune system. They are associated with a variety of autoimmune diseases.

Scientific studies have linked squalene adjuvants to Gulf War syndrome and to a wave of debilitating neurological disorders including epidemics of narcolepsy caused by Glaxo’s H1N1 Pandemrix vaccine during the 2009 swine flu “pandemic.” One study showed a 13-fold increased risk of narcolepsy in children who received Pandemrix.

The devastating cascade of brain injuries to children and health care workers forced the termination of that Glaxo vaccine after European governments used only a small fraction of the jabs they had purchased from Glaxo. A recent study links squalene to carcinomas. In a bizarre and reckless twist, Glaxo has revived the dangerous adjuvant as its hall pass to the COVID-19 money orgy.

The company said it would manufacture a billion doses of this adjuvant for potential use in coronavirus vaccines. Around 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one ton of squalene.

Shark Allies, a California-based group, said Glaxo will kill around 250,000 sharks to make enough AS03 for the world’s population to receive one dose of its COVID-19 vaccine. If, as expected, two doses are needed, half a million sharks must die.

Glaxo declared that it would be producing 1 billion doses of AS03 “to support the development of multiple adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

Glaxo has developed partnerships with multiple companies, including its behemoth rival Sanofi, China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Innovax Biotech in the city of Xiamen. Glaxo has also agreed to make the technology available to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for COVID vaccines in Australia and elsewhere. Glaxo said it is focusing on what it considers a “proven technology” that will give the company “several shots on goal.”

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