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That Was Then, This Is Now: Open Season on Vaccinating Pregnant Women

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By the World Mercury Project team

Instinctively, most of us know that pregnancy is a time when it makes sense to be cautious. After all, as even popular culture attests, “precious cargo” is involved. With medications, focus group research indicates that when the risks of a given medication are unknown, most women are not willing to take the medication during pregnancy.

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To help pregnant women navigate potential risks to themselves and their “cargo,” WebMD furnishes a long checklist of substances known to cause birth defects, including acne drugs, some antidepressants and heavy metals such as lead and organic mercury. However, when it comes to flu shots (some of which contain organic mercury), the website tells women that the vaccines are completely safe any time during pregnancy. The website’s certitude in this regard rests on the assurances of entities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has long recommended influenza vaccines for pregnant women. CDC’s rationale is that the vaccines are needed to help pregnant women avoid the “excess” influenza-related deaths that apparently occurred during early-20th-century influenza pandemics.

-->Listened to our latest podcast episode yet? Joe speaks with Franco DeNicola to explore how we can overcome fears and uncertainty during this time. This episode includes some helpful exercises as well. Click here to listen!

Published reports point to an increased risk of miscarriages and elevated risks of birth defects and autism in the offspring of mothers who received influenza vaccines during pregnancy—

Changing recommendations

Around 2006, CDC took stock of the persistently low compliance with its influenza recommendations, largely ignored by both doctors and pregnant women, and began more aggressively promoting flu shots for pregnant women. In an update in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC cited as evidence of the vaccines’ safety during pregnancy a grand total of two retrospective epidemiological studies of medical records—one of which was published in 1973.

In 2011, CDC and other medical trade organizations also began recommending that all pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis), which, among other ingredients, contains neurotoxic aluminum. Tdap coverage in pregnancy increased substantially following this recommendation, particularly in women who also received other vaccines during pregnancy. The FDA’s original approval of the two Tdap brands (Boostrix and Adacel) in the mid-2000s was as a booster for teens and adults, and the product inserts state that Tdap should be given during pregnancy only “when benefit outweighs risk.” At the time of the 2011 recommendation, no prelicensure studies of Tdap safety during pregnancy were available, so most of the (largely unpublished) data used to justify the recommendation came from post-licensure pregnancy pharmacovigilance conducted by vaccine manufacturers. To this day, online information for Boostrix states that “it is not known whether Tdap vaccine will harm an unborn baby.”

How have these vaccine recommendations worked out for pregnant women and their babies? Published reports point to an increased risk of miscarriages and elevated risks of birth defects and autism in the offspring of mothers who received influenza vaccines during pregnancy—described by World Mercury Project on multiple occasions. Although evidence about Tdap is still emerging, the global VigiBase database (launched in 1978 to collect reports of vaccine-related adverse events from heterogeneous systems in 110 countries) indicates that three-fifths (58%) of all the Tdap-related adverse events reported to VigiBase have occurred since 2010, half (49%) have been in females and 7% have been in the 18-44-year age group. Admittedly, the non-systematic nature of the VigiBase data makes it difficult to interpret these trends, but it still seems surprising that the default official position shared by academics and regulators is that “there is no documented causal evidence of developmental or reproductive toxic effects in humans following the use of [any] approved vaccine.”

…experts emphasize that toxicity is both dose and time-dependent, and that toxicity testing must investigate time-dependent effects. The vaccines destined for pregnant women have not been subjected to this type of nuanced scrutiny.

Looking back

Prevailing notions of what is “ethically permissible or necessary” with regard to the medical protection of pregnant women appear to be somewhat malleable. There was, in fact, a time when regulators did not display the same levels of insouciance about vaccine and drug administration during pregnancy. Formerly, federal policy (at least on paper) deemed it prudent to exclude women of childbearing age and pregnant women from taking part in clinical trials to test new drugs. This precautionary stance—grounded in established toxicological principles—aimed to forestall developmental toxicity disasters such as the one that occurred with thalidomide. In 1993, however, mounting pressure from various sectors persuaded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to abolish the perceived “medical research gender gap.” The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) reversed course and began encouraging routine inclusion of reproductive-age women in clinical trials—but it continued to note the special circumstances of pregnant women (and is just now getting around to formalizing scientific and ethical guidance pertaining to pregnant women’s participation in drug trials).

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Over at the FDA’s sister office CBER (Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research), which oversees vaccines and other “biologics,” officials initially seemed to share CDER’s apparent restraint concerning pregnant women. In 1996, CBER’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR) wrote up a detailed two-page memorandum on reproductive toxicity and vaccines. It then invited the public to submit written comments(in 2000) and eventually published “Guidance for Industry: Considerations for Developmental Toxicity Studies for Preventive and Therapeutic Vaccines for Infectious Disease Indications” (in 2006).

The memo and subsequent guidance spelled out the critical need to conduct preclinical studies in animal models to assess reproductive and developmental toxicity “prior to licensure of vaccines intended for maternal immunization and/or women of childbearing age” (see table below). However, the documents admitted that “lack of adverse effects on embryo/fetal development in an animal study does not necessarily imply absence of risk for humans.” Moreover, given the FDA’s emphasis (in a header on every page) that all of the recommendations included in its guidance are non-binding, the extent to which vaccine manufacturers choose to abide by them is largely unknown.

…neither the FDA nor the WHO commented on the possible conflicts-of-interest inherent in having vaccine manufacturers conduct their own pharmacovigilance.

In 2013, when the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety reviewed the safety of the growing number of vaccines intended for pregnant women, it noted “the limited amount of clinical trial data on pregnant women” and, like the FDA, emphasized the importance of “enhanced pharmacovigilance in the post-licensure phase.” However, neither the FDA nor the WHO commented on the possible conflicts-of-interest inherent in having vaccine manufacturers conduct their own pharmacovigilance.

 Numerous challenges

Even under the best of circumstances, vaccine development for pregnant women poses special challenges. As one researcher recently stated:

Not only do vaccines for pregnant women require evidence of immunogenicity, potency, stability, and limited reactogenicity, they must also provide efficacy in decreasing morbidity for the pregnant woman, her fetus, and the neonate, demonstrate safety or lack of evidence of harm, and offer benefit or potential benefit of vaccination during pregnancy.”

Conducting the types of preclinical developmental toxicity studies and after-the-fact monitoring activities described in the FDA documents comes with its own set of challenges. These include:

  • Identifying suitable animal models for preclinical studies, particularly because not all species (e.g., primates, rodents or rabbits) are appropriate for all research questions.
  • Assessing whether adverse effects on the developing embryo or fetus were caused by the vaccine antigen or by other vaccine constituents (such as adjuvants, preservatives and stabilizers).
  • Evaluating adverse influences of vaccine-induced antibodies on both fetal and postnatal
  • Determining whether maternal vaccination affects immune development in the offspring.

Toxicologists also continually call attention to the fact that even very small doses of substances such as mercury “may cause extensive adverse effects later in life.” These experts emphasize that toxicity is both dose and time-dependent, and that toxicity testing must investigate time-dependent effects. The vaccines destined for pregnant women have not been subjected to this type of nuanced scrutiny.

Where are the warnings?

A recent assessment of titanium dioxide nanoparticles—a modern product included in many cosmetics and drugs—warned of significant and potentially devastating effects on “millions of pregnant mothers and their offspring.” Vaccines contain an array of nanoparticulate ingredients (some intended and some not), but no comparable studies have emerged nor have warnings been issued. In general, published discussions of vaccine safety during pregnancy exhibit a linguistic slant toward describing risks to the fetus as “perceived” and “potential” rather than actual. Whether regulatory agencies’ former professed interest in protecting pregnant women from exposure to potential toxins was ever sincere or not, by and large, it appears to have become a historical footnote.

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Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Alternative News

Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.

  • Reflect On:

    Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?

What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”

On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Madsen also told the BMJ that,

There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.

The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:

In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.

“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.

Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having  stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.

A study published in the journal EbioMedicine  as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.

Pfizer’s Questionable History:  Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.

Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers.

The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.

In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: Science Behind Sound Healing For Serotonin Production

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A number of studies and experiments have shown that sound can be used as medicine for various ailments and diseases.

  • Reflect On:

    Is our modern day medical industry truly interested in the health and well-being of people, or do profit and control take more priority?

Mental illness has reached an all time high in the world, and yet the modern day medicines to relieve symptoms have gained controversy. This is, in part, why people have dug up the past to better understand alternative ways of healing.

Sound, for instance, has been a tool for promoting the physical and emotional health of the body for as long as history can account for, deeply rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations. The ancient Egyptians used vowel sound chants in healing because they believed vowels were sacred. Tibetan monks take advantage of singing bowls, which they believe to be “a symbol of the unknowable” whose “vibrations have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting.”

“Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electrical, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behavior and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.”

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of the perception of sound, and it has fueled researchers paths to better understand how it can be used as medicine. For instance, in 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, proved, in his research paper, “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” how sound affects the how the brain absorbs new information, controls mood, sleep patterns, healing responses, and more, and how quickly. Thus, specific frequencies of sound and music can be used to generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

brain_scan

To understand the fundamentals of sound in healing, we must first understand our brain waves. The nucleus of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, is the communication between neurons. Brain waves are generated by way of electrical pulses working in unison from masses of neurons interacting with one another. Brain waves are divided into five different bandwidths that are thought to form a spectrum of human consciousness.

The slowest of the waves are delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz), which are the slowest brain waves and occur mostly during our deepest state of sleep. The fastest of the waves are gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz), which are associated with higher states of conscious perception. Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz) occur when the brain is daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation.

According to Dr. Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., a speech-language pathologist:

Research shows that different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo headphones… create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones it actually hears. Through EEG monitoring the difference tone is identified by a change in the electrical pattern produced by the brain. For example, frequencies of 200 Hz and 210 Hz produce a binaural beat frequency of 10 Hz (The difference in 210 Hz and 200 Hz is 10 Hz). Monitoring of the brain’s electricity (EEG) shows that the brain produces increased 10 Hz activity with equal frequency and amplitude of the wave form in both hemispheres of the brain (left and right hemisphere).

It is thought that different brain wave patterns are connected to the production in the brain of certain neurochemicals linked with relaxation and stress release, as well as better learning and creativity, memory, and more. Such neurochemicals include beta-endorphins, growth factors, gut peptides, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin.

A series of experiments conducted by neuro-electric therapy engineer Dr. Margaret Patterson and Dr. Ifor Capel, revealed how alpha brainwaves boosted the production of serotonin. Dr. Capel explained:

As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, is based on frequency… Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.

Additional research upholds the beliefs of mind-body medicine in this sense, stating that brainwaves being in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, permits a vibration allowing for more serotonin to be created.

It’s important for us to come to terms with the fact that there is science behind age-old medicinal practices that do not require putting unknown substances in our bodies to alleviate issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and more.

But even more intriguing is to think something as simple as sound, as music, which we have come to treat as utterly pleasurable entertainment, has not only been used to promote healing and well-being, but has proven to work through research as well.

If your mental health is of concern, try listening to a binaural beat to generate alpha waves between 8 and 14 Hz to produce more serotonin. Another option is to take advantage of music that promotes a relaxed alpha state in the brain such as classical music.

Related CE Article: Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas demonstrates how even a short break from certain kinds of makeup, shampoos and lotions leads to a large drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is this industry so poorly regulated?

A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.

The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labeled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

Results

After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but, being minor, could easily have been caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.

Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:

The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.

Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study. One of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.

“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”

The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

What Can You Do?

Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.

You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.

The less demand for these chemically-laden products there is, the less these chemicals will be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! We have the power to create the type of world we want. Be the change.

Check out The Story Of Cosmetics below!

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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