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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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Ontario (Canada) Gives Police Authority To Pull Over Vehicles To Find Out Where They Are Going

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ontario government has just announced very strict lockdown and stay at home orders. They've also given police the power to pull people over to find out where they are going and where they live.

  • Reflect On:

    Is this really about the virus? Why are so many experts, and so much science that opposes what government is saying completely unacknowledged?

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As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what’ is being built is the architecture of oppression. -Edward Snowden (source)

Ontario, Canada has just announced stronger lockdown measures after current lockdown measures and stay at home orders have not done anything to slow the spread of covid when taking cases into account. Under the new orders, most non-essential businesses, manufacturing and construction will be closed, this includes non-essential curb side pick ups as well for retail businesses. Outdoor recreational facilities like parks, basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses will now be closed and essential businesses, like grocery stores, will be limited to a certain capacity.

For the first time, the Ontario government has given police officers the power to pull vehicles over without cause, demand their ID and home address as well as ask where they are going and why. This also applies to citizens who are outside. This is effective immediately for a period of 6 weeks.

I just came across this via the live press conference. Part of the changes in the recent announcement were to give police more authority to handle non-compliance, something that’s been a big part of this pandemic as many people, doctors and scientists continue to disagree with the actions being taken by governments, while others agree. The government has also put restrictions on travel between provinces.

We have made the deliberate decision to temporarily enhance police officers’ authority for the duration of the stay at home order. Moving forward, police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to first provide the purpose for not being at home and provide their home address. – Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in the press conference.

The Ontario government continues to blame the citizenry for non-compliance when, in reality, there is a tremendous amount of science and data that’s been published in various medical and scientific journals from around the world showing that lockdowns have not been helpful in stopping the spread of COVID.

Furthermore, there is research showing lockdowns have killed more people than covid, and will have devastating results for years to come. Not only that, an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicates that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation.

The ease to which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence…came as a shock to me…History will look back on measures – as a monument of collective hysteria & government folly.” – Jonathan Sumption, former British supreme court justice. (source)

This is quite confusing, if lockdowns and restrictions aren’t necessarily helping to curb the spread, why is government, especially the Ontario government, acting like they are effective and necessary tools? This is a discussion that has not been had within the mainstream. Renowned experts in the field who are presenting this data have been completely ignored, censored and in many cases ridiculed.

Another point that’s being used to justify restriction measures is the fact that hospitals in Ontario are at capacity, and ICUs are full. This has always been a concern in many countries, especially in Ontario, Canada. For example, in 2017 more than 50 percent of hospitals in Ontario were above 100 percent capacity. There are examples all over the world for the past decade. That being said, is covid adding to this, or is it simply something we’ve always seen in hospitals? Is the only difference big media coverage?

What about the fact that PCR testing may yield an enormous amount of false positives? Testing positive does not mean you have the virus, or that you can spread it, especially if you are asymptomatic, yet this entire lockdown is based on testing asymptomatic people and asymptomatic cases. What about the death count and the fact that Ontario Public Health has admitted to the fact that they are marking deaths as “covid” when it’s not even clear if covid caused or contributed to the death? What about the fact that the survival rate of the virus is 99.95 percent and above for people under the age of 70, or that prior infection can provide more immunity than the vaccine?

Again, the point is,there are many concerns that are being completely ignored and unacknowledged.

In the case of covid, it’s quite clear that people of all backgrounds and professions are split. You even have world renowned experts in the field split on these issues, with many opposing and supporting measures. As a result, this has many people confused, and it begs the question, should government really have the authority to put mandates into place that restrict our movement, rights and freedoms?

Is this really about the virus, or about the benefits that big tech, health and government will reap and have been reaping from this pandemic? When measures go against the will of so many people, should government not be allowed to mandate such measures and instead, present their science and make recommendations to people, leaving them the choice to act in ways they see fit?

Are we living in an age where government and big tech are doing the thinking for us, telling us what is and isn’t and trying to control our lives more and more every single year? How do we stop this if it’s true? Why do we continue to comply? One thing is certain, covid has been a great catalyst for more and more people to really question what type of world we are currently living in.

So what’s the solution to this? Is it mass/collective organized peaceful non-compliance? A Belgian court has ruled that the current COVID-19 measures being deployed don’t have a sound legal basis. The State has 30 days to lift restrictions or face fines. Can something like this happen in this situation? We will wait and see what happens as, no doubt, many people are going to be upset and showing it.

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Florida Education Minister Urges Schools To Drop Mask Mandates

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said schools should make mask-wearing voluntary in the 2021-2022 school year, stating that they should simply be optional.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is one narrative being pushed hard, while the other is being heavily ridiculed and labelled as "dangerous" by mainstream media and government?

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What Happened: Earlier this week, Florida’s education commissioner directed all schools to drop mask mandates for the next school year because, according to him, they are not necessary and can simply be an optional measure for students and parents. According to him, mask policies “do not impact the spread of the virus” and they “may impede instruction” for some students. The decision is not up to him, however, as each individual district will ultimately decide whether or not they want to impose mask mandes for next school year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently convened a round table on public health. At that discussion, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University Dr. Jay Bhattacharya stated that “masks have not only been not effective but have been harmful.”

The video of this discussion was removed from YouTube, and then ridiculed by mainstream media. This has been a big problem throughout this pandemic. We have big tech “fact-checkers” censoring and removing any kind of narrative that does not fit within the framework or narrative that government health authorities are telling us. If things were so obvious, why would they need to censor world renowned experts?  It’s been a common theme, and Bhattacharya is one of many who have been subjected to this type of treatment.

He’s one of the three initiators of The Great Barrington Declaration. The other two are  Dr. Sunetra Gupta, PhD Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist. You can watch an interesting discussion with all three of them here if interested.

Bhattacharya responded to the criticism in a recent piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating the following:

I attended a public-policy roundtable hosted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last month. The point was to discuss the state’s Covid policies in the months ahead. That 600,000 Americans have died with Covid-19 is evidence that the lockdowns over the past year, including significant restrictions on the lives of children, haven’t worked. Florida reopened in May and declined to shut down again. Yet age-adjusted mortality is lower in Florida than in locked-down California, and Florida’s public schools are almost all open, while California’s aren’t.

My fellow panelists—Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard and Scott Atlas of Stanford—and I discussed a variety of topics. One was the wisdom of requiring children to wear masks. The press asked questions, and a video of the event was posted on YouTube by local media, including Tampa’s WTSP.

But last week YouTube removed a recording of this routine policy discussion from its website. The company claimed my fellow panel members and I were trafficking in misinformation. The company said it removed the video “because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Yet the panelists are all experts, and all spoke against requiring children to wear masks. I can’t speak for my counterparts, but my reasoning was a cost-benefit analysis. The benefits of masking children are small to none; the costs are much higher.

The scientific evidence is clear.

He then goes on to cite site some science.

Kari Stefansson, senior author of a study  study from Iceland conducted early in the epidemic when masking was uncommon showing that incidents of covid in children is far less than adults, stated that children are.

“less likely to get infected than adults and if they get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill. What is interesting is that even if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults.”

According to Bhattacharya, “many studies in the scientific literature reach a similar conclusion: Even unmasked children pose less of a risk for disease spread than adults.”

For example, Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute wrote letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that:

“Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

You can read more about this specific story here, as he has quit his research due to the harassment he received for simply presenting data.

Why This Is Important: There are the points made above, and then there are papers outlining the supposed dangers and ineffectiveness of masks. Many have been published in peer-reviewed scientific/medical journals prior to covid, and during covid.

For example, one paper titled “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis” concludes:

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

I’ve written about a study published in the New England Medical Journal by Harvard doctors that outlines how it’s already known that masks provide little to zero benefit when it comes to protection in a public setting. According to them,

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

The papers cited above are a few of many, there are a plethora of them available within the scientific literature.

Yes, there are also studies that claim and explain why they believe masks are an effective tool to mitigate the virus, and we know that organizations like the Centres For Disease Control (CDC) deem them to be extremely effective and necessary.  The point is, why are those who point out, explain, and provide evidence and reason for the idea that masks are not effective being heavily censored, vilified, and ridiculed? What’s going on here? Why is proper critique and discussion being completely shut down and why are those who are creating awareness about these issues labelled as “dangerous anti-maskers.” This, in my opinion is quite frankly unscientific.

Perhaps I can explore one possible explanation. Perhaps any type of information, data or evidence, no matter how credible, that opposes the measures and narrative of government and big media threatens various business/agendas in these powerful circles. It begs the question, does government and government affiliated health/business really look out for what’s best for its citizens? The COVID pandemic has definitely served as a catalyst for more people to ask that question who wouldn’t have prior to the pandemic.

This is just my opinion, but in presenting it I put our platform, Collective Evolution, at risk being punished in various ways for simply sharing it. We’ve not only been falsely smeared by fact checkers but have also been hurt financially on social media simply for bringing forth facts that the mainstream doesn’t wish to address.

The Takeaway: At the end of the day, it’s very difficult to determine who is right or wrong, which is why we need open dialogue. The fact that simple discussion and pieces of evidence that change the narrative, or threaten it, is being shut down, censored and completely ridiculed is quite concerning. The mainstream media continues to fail to have appropriate conversations surrounding all things COVID while forcing their narrative on the public. This in turn has created a great divide among the citizenry when really, we should all be coming together and respecting everybody’s decision to act as they please.

When things are not so cut and dry, it’s questionable whether or not we should really give governments the ability to control our lives in the manner they have done with this pandemic.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –

Dr. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open. Taken from his published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.”

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Ontario, Canada To Impose Stricter Measures: Lockdown & Stay At Home Orders Are Not Working

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ontario (Canada) government is set to impose even more restrictions and enforcement on the citizenry despite already being in lockdown and stay at home order mode. The announcement will be made this afternoon.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do governments continue to ignore the vast amount of research and data that's been published showing lockdowns and other restrictions do nothing to stop the spread of covid, and are probably doing more harm than covid?

Before you begin...

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What Happened: Ontario, Canada is and has been well into a province wide lockdown and stay at home order. Most businesses, if not already permanently closed from going out of business, have been reduced to curb side pick-ups only, while essential stores, like grocery stores, have remained open. This has been ongoing, on and off, as all of you know for more than one year now.

This afternoon, the government is set to announce even more restrictions.

According to CTV News Toronto,

Sources tell CTV News Toronto and CP24 the latest data, which is expected to be released on Friday, shows that based on Ontario’s current trends there could be between 12,000 to 18,000 new daily infections by the end of May, with up to 1,800 patients in intensive care. The measures under consideration include shutting down construction to just critical infrastructure projects and placing limits on non-essential manufacturing and warehousing. Additional restrictions on religious services are also being considered by cabinet.

Ontario is also considering more enforcement with regards to fines for those who disobey rules, and perhaps shutting down curb side pick-ups of some non-essential retailers.

Cases, however, are still accelerating exponentially. A lot of “fear-mongering” and concern is being raised by government public health officials, doctors and scientists. On the other hand, you have a number of doctors and scientists who are not as concerned, explaining that the number of cases, and rising case numbers are not as big of a threat as it’s being made to be, especially given the fact that infection can provide an immunity that is stronger than the supposed immunity a vaccine can provide. They have also been pointing out that we are dealing with a virus that has a very low mortality rate, 99.95 percent and higher for people under the age of 70, to be exact.

Many in the field have been creating awareness around the catastrophic impacts of lockdowns, providing data showing that lockdown measures around the globe may have already killed more people than covid itself, and will have lasting impacts for years to come while they affect most aspects of humanity. Furthermore, they’ve also presented a wealth of data showing that lockdowns are not effective at all at stopping the spread of the virus, that they are, essentially, useless.

This is quite confusing, if lockdowns and restrictions do nothing to curb the spread, why is government, especially the Ontario government, acting like they are effective and necessary tools? Why do they also completely ignore the idea that lockdowns may be completely ineffective and more harmful? This is a discussion that has not at all been had within the mainstream, and renowned experts in the field who are presenting this data have been completely ignored, censored and in many cases ridiculed.

Another point that’s being used to justify restriction measures is the fact that hospitals in Ontario are at capacity, and ICUs are full. This has always been a concern in many countries, especially in Ontario, Canada. For example, in 2017 more than 50 percent of hospitals in Ontario were above 100 percent capacity. There are examples all over the world for the past decade. That being said, is covid adding to this, or is it simply something we’ve always seen in hospitals? Is the only difference big media coverage?

Why This Is Important: Sure, many people might agree with lockdowns and other mandates. It’s hard to hear, however, the Ontario government constantly blaming portions of the population for the fact that they are not being effective, without ever considering, as again something that’s been shown time and time again in several countries, that lockdowns are simply not effective in stopping the spread. If this is the case, it renders lockdowns useless and paints a bad picture for government, which would be the fact that they’ve done nothing but put people in harm’s way.

In the case of covid, it’s quite clear that people of all backgrounds and professions are split. You even have world renowned experts in the field split on these issues, with many opposing and supporting measures. This as a result has many people confused, and it begs the question, should government really have the authority to put mandates into place that restrict our movement, rights and freedoms? Is this really about the virus, or about the benefits that big tech, health and government will reap and have been reaping from this pandemic? When measures go against the will of so many people, should government not be allowed to mandate such measures and instead, present their science and make recommendations to people, leaving them the choice to act in ways they see fit? Are we living in an age where government and big tech are doing the thinking for us, telling us what is and isn’t and trying to control our lives more and more every single year? How do we stop this? Why do we continue to comply? One thing is certain, covid has been a great catalyst for more and more people to really question what type of world we are currently living in.

Dive Deeper

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