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12 Design Principles For More Sustainable Farming

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“What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet.” – David Suzuki

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A Brief History of Agriculture

Before we look at what the future might look like we need to understand how we got to where we are before we can move in the appropriate direction for a new and more sustainable future.

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Scholars, historians and archaeologists suggest that various forms of farming have existed for over 10,000 years. It was around 9500 BC that the development of crops such as wheat, barley, peas and lentils occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean region (Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestinian Territories). In 5500 BC in Southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerians developed possibly the first large scale intensive farming system that included mono cropping -the use of organised labour and widespread irrigation. In 4000 BC, the Mesopotamians were at it again, developing wooden ploughs, possibly the first in history. It took the Assyrian’s another five hundred years to develop irrigation techniques. At the same time, 3500 BC, evidence of the first agriculture in the Americas and Central Amazonia occurred. In 500 BC, the Chinese invented an iron plough that saw the development of row cultivation in cropping.

Agriculture moved into a new era with the development of cash cropping in 1000  AD. This was effectively a move away from subsistence farming. In subsistence agriculture, crops are grown mainly for the producers own benefit and consumption. Cash cropping is where crops are grown specifically for sale and profit. In Illinois 1837, John Deere invented the steel plough and by 1855 Deere had sold over 10,000 ploughs across America. 1895 brought with it the development of refrigeration in the United States and United Kingdom which helped in storing excess food supplies for domestic and commercial uses. By 1944 the ‘Green Revolution’ had spread its wings and was transferring technological research and development initiatives across India and other parts of the globe. This revolution helped increase production in countries like India with the development of higher yielding crop varieties. The ‘green revolution’ introduced intensive irrigation methods and manmade fertilizers and pesticides.

A Summary of Current and previous agricultural production

Looking back over this brief history of agriculture, two key things have occurred in farming. Firstly, there has been a move away from subsistence farming toward cash cropping with an emphasis on increasing yields and output of crop varieties. Secondly, developments in farming techniques and technological improvements over the last century have only been made possible by oil powered machinery and oil based agricultural inputs. These increases in technology and automation have allowed societies to sustain themselves more adequately, allowing populations to increase across all continents. Another trend that is highlighted when looking back at our farming and agriculture history is the predominance of land clearance and intensive farming. There have been some exceptions, many of which are traditional native cultures who saw no need for improved efficiencies as the natural systems and cycles provided enough for a sustained existence. Many of our modern agricultural practices have had a focus on intensive farming that uses heavy machinery, artificial fertilizers and pesticides which eventually depletes soils and the natural environment. The history books are littered with cultures and societies that have collapsed from the exploitation of natural resources. It makes sense that we investigate alternatives to agricultural production going forward. It is estimated that for every calorie of food we eat in the modern industrialised food system it takes 10 calories of fossil fuels to produce that one calorie of food, therefore the price of food and cheap energy are highly correlated. In the early 1900’s 50% of the American workforce was employed in the agricultural sector. Today the number is approximately 2% of the workforce that is engaged in growing food.

Permaculture the Way Forward

The term ‘permaculture’ originated from Australian born author, scientist, teacher and naturalist Bill Mollison and co-developer David Holmgren in the 1970’s. Mollison is known as the ‘father’ of permaculture. He summarises permaculture: “Permaculture (permanent agriculture) as the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.” Permaculture has spread across the globe and there are now millions of people practicing and teaching permaculture principles and design. In his book ‘Permaculture: A Designers Manual’ Mollison states “Permaculture in essence is how nature ultimately designed things in the first place. The idea behind permaculture is to replicate or mimic the natural systems and environments, while using some of the modern techniques of horticulture, architecture and agriculture to enhance and yield edible food supplies.” David Holgren in his book Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability elaborates: “Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs,” and, “I see permaculture as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision.”

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“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15

For the most part, we have been following a path of intensive and highly automated agriculture that places pressure on natural systems. Permaculture is more closely linked with how traditional natives farmed and worked with the land. Soil quality is one of the key ingredients for successful farming and agriculture. From the Cuban experience we know that it took the Cubans between 3 to 5 years to get the soil back into a healthy condition after many years of degradation. The use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers destroyed the composition of these soils. The methodology that underlies the permaculture movement is that of community and bringing people together to work for the common good. It is a shift away from a non-material profiteering way of life, towards one that encompasses personal responsibility for our actions, taking care of the environment and ensuring that resources are managed sustainability.

Permaculture brings us back to a time when communities, friends and neighbours shared resources. Permaculture is a long way from cheap mass produced food that generate externalities from production. It is about observing nature’s laws and working with nature as opposed to against it. Permaculture is about harnessing what nature has to offer without being greedy and taking more than we need. The collection and storage of water through tanks and the preserving of foods is an example of this philosophy. Realising that what we do today will impact future generations is crucial in paving the way for a sustainable agricultural future. Short sighted profitability must make way for long term sustainability of our land and environment. (1)

Permaculture Design Principles

(Author credit: Richard Telford @ permacultureprinciples.com)

permaculturedesingprinciples design1perma

By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation. This icon for this design principle represents a person ‘becoming’ a tree. In observing nature it is important to take different perspectives to help understand what is going on with the various elements in the system. The proverb “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” reminds us that we place our own values on what we observe, yet in nature, there is no right or wrong, only different.

design2perma

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

This icon for this design principle represents energy being stored in a container for use later on, while the proverb “make hay while the sun shines” reminds us that we have a limited time to catch and store energy.

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Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing. The icon of this design principle, a vegetable with a bite out of it, shows us that there is an element of competition in obtaining a yield, whilst the proverb “You can’t work on an empty stomach” reminds us that we must get immediate rewards to sustain us.

design4perma

We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. The icon of the whole earth is the largest scale example we have of a self regulating ‘organism’ which is subject to feedback controls. The proverb “the sins of the fathers are visited unto the children of the seventh generation” reminds us that negative feedback is often slow to emerge.

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Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources. The horse icon represents both a renewable service and renewable resource. It can be used to pull a cart, plough or log and it can even be eaten – a non consuming use is preferred over a consuming one. The proverb “let nature take it’s course” reminds us that control over nature through excessive resource use and high technology is not only expensive, but can have a negative effect on our environment.

desxign6perma

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste. The icon of the worm represents one of the most effective recyclers of organic materials, consuming plant and animal ‘waste’ into valuable plant food. The proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” reminds us that timely maintenance prevents waste, while “waste not, want not” reminds us that it’s easy to be wasteful in times of abundance, but this waste can be a cause of hardship later.

 design7perma

By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go. Every spider’s web is unique to its situation, yet the general pattern of radial spokes and spiral rings is universal. The proverb “can’t see the forest for the trees” reminds us that the closer we get to something, the more we are distracted from the big picture.

design8perma

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other. This icon represents a group of people from a bird’s-eye view, holding hands in a circle together. The space in the centre could represent “the whole being greater than the sum of the parts”. The proverb “many hands make light work” suggests that when we work together the job becomes easier.

design9perma

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.  The snail is both small and slow, it carries its home on its back and can withdraw to defend itself when threatened. The proverb “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” reminds us of the disadvantages of excessive size and growth while “slow and steady wins the race” encourages patience while reflecting on a common truth in nature and society.

design10perma

Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides. The remarkable adaptation of the spinebill and hummingbird to hover and sip nectar from long, narrow flowers with their spine-like beak symbolises the specialisation of form and function in nature. The proverb “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” reminds us that diversity offers insurance against the variations of our environment.

design11perma

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. The icon of the sun coming over the horizon with a river in the foreground shows us a world composed of edges. The proverb “don’t think you are on the right track just because its a well-beaten path” reminds us that the most popular is not necessarily the best approach.

design12perma

We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time. The butterfly is a positive symbol of transformative change in nature, from its previous life as a caterpillar. The proverb “vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be” reminds us that understanding change is much more than a linear projection. (1)

Permaculture design systems can be used anywhere from rural communities to high density urban environments. The beauty of permaculture is that is about being creative through observing the landscape and adapting and designing around any constraints that may exist. It is about creating a more integrated system that takes into account the natural synergies and  connections between components that produce abundance.

 Check out this video where a family grows 6,000lbs of produce a year in an urban setting.  

CoverONENOVArticle by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing  and author of  One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

Sources

(1) http://onenesspublishing.com/sample-page/

(2) http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/

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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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