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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities
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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Author: Michael Hancox

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Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone.

You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
163 Episodes
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The Grand Food Bargain

The Grand Food Bargain

2019-05-1724:32

Topic:Urban Resilience Series – our modern food systemGuest & Organization:Kevin D. Walker grew up farming and has seen almost every facet of agriculture firsthand, working in agribusiness, at the US Department of Agriculture, overseas with international nonprofits, and as a professor at Michigan State University. He has served on committees with the National Academies Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, and as a consultant to foreign governments and the World Trade Organization.The Grand Food Bargain and the Mindless Drive for More (Publication Date: March 26, 2019) provides a powerful look at the global consequences of America’s modern food system. In it, Kevin D. Walker combines a lifetime of food system experience with pivotal research to craft a sweeping history of our relationship with food. The result is a stunning indictment of a system that prioritizes volume over nutrition, low costs over livable wages, and blinds consumers to harmful effects ranging from polluted rivers and food waste to obesity and disappearing species.Resources:The Grand Food Bargain and the Mindless Drive for More by Kevin D. WalkerIsland Press Urban Resilience ProjectDownload the Island Press Urban Resilience Project’s new, free e-book Resilience Matters: Strengthening Communities in an Era of Upheaval
Topic:Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – adaptation and the national climate assessmentGuest & Organization:Robert Lempert is a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on risk management and decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty, with an emphasis on climate change, energy, and the environment.Lempert is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a chapter lead for the US National Climate Assessment and for the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin and the inaugural president of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty. A professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Lempert is an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis.Lempert received his Ph.D. in applied physics and S.M. in applied physics and science policy from Harvard University.Kemble currently lives in Midtown Sacramento.Resources:Local Government Commission 
Topic:Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – leveraging a tool in the federal tax lawGuest & Organization:Kemble K. Pope is an Urban Infill & Real Estate Entrepreneur in the Sacramento Region of Northern CA. He is a Founder and the Managing Member of POI Partners, LLC, a consulting firm that represents Opportunity Zone Fund investors by sourcing and vetting redevelopment projects, negotiating capital placement terms and overseeing the use of those funds until the project is completed and stabilized.His academic background was focused on environmental and technology policy, but he has worked in a broad range of sectors including politics, business & economic development, mobile technology and land use. From 2011 to 2014, he led the Davis Chamber of Commerce (“DCOC”) as the full-time CEO.Kemble’s most recently completed redevelopment work is “Meridian Place” in Central Davis. He assembled two underutilized lots and constructed a new 11-unit, 3-story, infill rental project. The project includes one permanently affordable unit, which allowed Pope to be the first developer in Davis to utilize the provisions of AB744 for increased density above the City of Davis standards. In Spring 2019, he will break ground on Trackside Center, a transit-oriented redevelopment in Downtown Davis. The 4-story building includes 9,000 SF commercial on the ground floor, with a large outdoor plaza, and 27 rental units above.While living in Davis, CA from 2003-2017, Pope served as a political appointee on several community-serving committees. He was Chairperson of the City of Davis Climate Action Team, which created one of the first municipal Climate Action Plans in response to AB 32 and SB 375. He was Chairperson of the City’s Open Space & Habitat Commission and served on the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Property Tax Oversight Committee and Surplus Property Committee.Kemble currently lives in Midtown Sacramento.Resources:Local Government Commission 
An Atlas of US Transit

An Atlas of US Transit

2019-02-2527:56

Topic:Urban Resilience Series – key elements of urban transit systemsGuest & Organization:Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Lecturer in Architecture and Engineering at Rice University. He was a member of the board of directors of Houston METRO from 2010 to 2018, where he oversaw a complete redesign of the bus network that has resulted in Houston being one of the few US cities that are increasing transit ridership. Christof has spent over a decade advocating for transit as an urban planner, transit board member, blogger, community leader, and enthusiast. In the fun and accessible Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit (Publication date: October 23, 2018), he profiles the 47 metropolitan areas in the 50 states that have rail transit or BRT, ranks the best and worst systems, and draws out lessons for cities to build better transit.Resources:Learn more about Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US TransitFind Christof on TwitterDownload the Island Press Urban Resilience Project’s new, free e-book Resilience Matters: Strengthening Communities in an Era of Upheaval
Life After Carbon

Life After Carbon

2019-02-2532:56

Topic:Urban Resilience Series – the next transformation of citiesGuest & Organization:Peter Plastrik was born in Paris, grew up in New York City, and lived in four cities in Michigan. He is cofounder and vice president of the Innovation Network for Communities (INC), established in 2007. Along with John Cleveland, he was a founding consultant to the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and helped it develop its strategic plan and Innovation Fund. He also consulted closely with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) and managed USDN’s Innovation Fund. Pete has been the lead author on several INC reports about cities and climate change: “Essential Capacities for Urban Climate Adaptation,” supported by the summit Foundation, and “Leadership by US Cities Innovations in Climate Action,” supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. He is coauthor with John and Madeleine Taylor of Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact (2014). He coauthored two books with David Osborne: Banishing Bureaucracy: The Five Strategies (1997) and The Reinventor’s Fieldbook: Tools for Transforming Your Government (2000). His latest book is Life After Carbon: The Next Global Transformation of Cities (2018), coauthored by John Cleveland. He lives on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan with his wife Deb and their pugs.Resources:Learn more about Life After CarbonInnovation Network for CommunitiesIsland Press Urban Resilience ProjectDownload the Island Press Urban Resilience Project’s new, free e-book Resilience Matters: Strengthening Communities in an Era of Upheaval
Topic:Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – acting now and bringing change to scaleGuest & Organization:Daniel Hamilton serves as the Sustainability Manager for the City of Oakland, California. Daniel has 20 years of experience in managing sustainability programs, policies, and plans for local governments and utilities. He has led multiple award winning projects and plans across California and has taught professional and university courses in energy management, sustainable policy development, and green building design and construction. He holds a BA in Architecture and an MA in Sustainable Planning, both from the University of Kansas.Resources:Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15)Oakland Preliminary Sea Leve Rise Road Map (Fall 2017)Pathways to Deep GHG Reductions in Oakland: Executive Summary (March 2018)Pathways to Deep GHG Reductions in Oakland: Final Report (March 2018)Local Government Commission 
Topic:Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – the widening disparity in California and the challenges to address across California’s regionsGuest & Organization:Jim Mayer is President & CEO of California Forward, a bipartisan public interest effort to bolster democracy and improve the performance of government in California. Working with civic and governmental partners statewide, CA Fwd has been the consistent advocate for comprehensive governance reforms that will lead to better results and accountability. As its chief executive, Mayer has helped to usher California’s modernization of redistricting, primary elections, term limits, ethics and transparency laws – to empower voters, encourage bipartisan solutions and restore public trust. He shepherded CA Fwd’s efforts to build capacity within governments to improve outcomes, and to advance a shared agenda among private, civic and public sector leaders to sustainably and equitable increase prosperity.Resources:California ForwardCalifornia Economic Summit’s Elevate Rural CA InitiativeLocal Government Commission 
Topic:Urban Resilience – design for social innovationGuest & Organization:Cheryl Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA and President of the design lab CommonWise. She was recently awarded a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship, and is a recipient of the prestigious AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design. She founded the first design department in a major advertising agency and as president, grew the division to $50m in billings when it was spun off as an independent entity. As a strategist, she has helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated moribund cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. She has taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world.Her clients have included Ford Motor Company, American Express, Reebok, Mariott International, Renaissance Hotels, Sheraton, MeadWestvaco, StoraEnso, the Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Medtronic, Pfizer, Mars Corporation, Discovery Networks International, Cemex, Herman Miller, Gap, Bayer Corporation, Seventh Generation, L’Oreal, Elle Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The World Wildlife Fund, Ford Foundation, and the Girl Scouts of America.Heller is the former Board Chair of PopTech, and a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given over $13 million to designers working for the public good, and partnered with Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to create the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.” She is the author of Intergalactic Design Guide: Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design, published by Island Press.Resources:Find Cheryl on Twitter @cherylhellerCommonWiseDesign for Social Innovation at SVAThe Intergalactic Design Guide – Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design by Cheryl HellerIsland Press Urban Resilience ProjectDownload the Island Press App! Learn more about the app here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!
Topic:Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development series – seeking justice in a disempowered placeGuest & Organization:Angie Rosser is the Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, a statewide advocacy organization promoting access to clean water for all. Her 20+ years of experience in social justice work came to bear during a massive water contamination event that sparked transformative dialogue around safe drinking water. Her motivation is personal and political; she believes everyone has a right to enjoy clean water and that conservation of our water resources is central to a shared prosperity. Angie holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina and an MA in Organizational Communication from West Virginia University.Resources:Facing Race: A National Conference is presented by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation – November 8-10, 2018 in Detroit, MichiganWest Virginia RiversExpanding the Circle: Strategies to Authentically Engage Under-Resourced Communities to Improve the Chesapeake Bay for AllSkeo – Equity, Sustainability and Resiliency
Topic:Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – how to make infrastructure more resilient to the growing threats of climate changeGuest & Organization:Cris Liban is the Executive Officer of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency. At LA Metro, Cris oversees their internationally recognized Environmental, Sustainability, and Energy initiatives. Cris has a bachelors of science in Geology, a masters in Civil Engineering and earned his PhD in environmental science and engineering from UCLA. Cris is a widely published author, a national speaker and serves on a number of commissions and working groups including the chairing the sustainability committee for the American Society of Civil Engineers, serving on the National Council for Environmental Policy and Technology at US EPA, and serving on California’s AB2800 Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group CA Department of Natural Resources.Resources:Climate Safe Infrastructure Report  American Society of Civil Engineers RoadmapLocal Government Commission 
Topic:Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – building relationships and keeping rural communities ruralGuest & Organization:Kim Dolbow Vann brings more than 20 years of experience and dedication to economic development and the improvement of rural life. As USDA Rural Development State Director, Vann oversees a $6.7 billion portfolio, more than 40 programs and 18 offices resulting in average annual investments of $1 billion into rural California. Previously, Vann spent eleven years as a Colusa County Supervisor representing the first district. During her tenure she served as the chair of Rural County Representatives of California, and led the charge on all federal and state issues that affect the state’s rural counties. In addition, from 2016-2017 Vann served as the chair of Sites Reservoir Joint Powers Authority, leading the new public private partnership in creating an above-ground water storage facility in rural Colusa County.Resources:United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development – CaliforniaFind California Rural Development on Twitter @CaliforniaRDLocal Government Commission 
Topic:Urban Resilience – heat impacts and cooling centersGuest & Organization:As Environmental Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Cynthia is tasked with advancing policy goals that align with WE ACT’s Northern Manhattan Climate Action (NMCA) project, which seeks to increase community participation, within and outside of the government and build neighborhood capacity in response to climate change. Prior to working at WE ACT, Cynthia served as a NASA Climate Change Research Fellow, using new technology to enhance understanding of urban climates and better inform policy makers. Cynthia is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and holds an M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University.Resources:WE ACT for Environmental JusticeHow We Can Use Climate Action Planning to Beat the Heat (WE ACT)WE ACT’s Policy Campaigns & Initiative: 2017 AgendaHeat Check – Extreme heat kills more than a hundred New Yorkers yearly. Here’s how the city’s tackling the problem in a warming world. (By Justine Calma on Jul 11, 2018) 
Topic:Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development series – the significance of the Anacostia River to Washington DCGuest & Organization:Katrina D. Lashley is Program Coordinator of Urban Waterways at Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. She received her BA in English Literature and Italian at Rutgers University and earned an MA in History (Public History track) at American University, with a focus on the British Caribbean. Ms. Lashley has worked on projects for the National Museum of American History and Arlington House. In addition to her Public History work, she taught English Literature and English Language for 12 years.Resources:Urban Waterways Newsletter Issue 9Urban Waterways Newsletter Issue 8Smithsonian Anacostia Community MuseumSkeo – Equity, Sustainability and ResiliencyOther related resources developed by Skeo:The Urban Waters National Partnership HandbookExpanding the Circle: Strategies to Authentically Engage Under-Resourced Communities to Improve the Chesapeake Bay for All
Topic:Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – how communities can prosper economically despite transitionsGuest & Organization:Kate Gordon is an internationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. She wears a number of hats including Partner on the sustainability team of RIDGE-LANE Limited Partners; Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute; and non-resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Kate may be best known for her work as the founder and director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer. The Risky Business project focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change. Kate is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.” Kate also serves on the non-profit board the American Jobs Project; is also a member of the Sustainable Investing Advisory Board at Brown Advisory.Resources:Risky Business ProjectCalifornia Adaptation ForumLocal Government CommissionAmerican Jobs Project 
Topic:Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – transportation, climate change and sustainability goalsGuest & Organization:Sam Arons is the Director of Sustainability at Lyft. Sam oversees the company’s sustainability and climate impact efforts. He plays an essential role in helping Lyft achieve its Climate Impact Goals to address the threat posed by global climate change, and make the long-term vision a reality. Sam comes to Lyft after 10 years at Google, where he developed the company’s sustainability efforts as Senior Lead for Energy & Infrastructure. Prior to his time with Google, Sam researched wind energy and plug-in vehicles at Williams College and UC Berkeley, respectively.Resources:LyftLocal Government Commission 
Topic:Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development series – Taking a Look at Food InsecurityGuest & Organization:Sharon Thornberry is the Community Food Systems Manager at the Oregon Food Bank. Sharon has been a grassroots organizer, trainer and advocate for community food systems, rural communities, and anti-hunger work in Oregon since 1986. She grew up on farms, was very active in 4-H and Girl Scouts, and was one of the first female members of Future Farmers of America. In 1979, she was a homeless mom with two small children. Sharon has served on the Oregon Hunger Task Force for 16 years, the board of the Community Food Security Coalition for six years (three as President), and the board of Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute for six years. The sum of her experiences have come together to make her a passionate and knowledgeable community food security and anti-hunger advocate. She is the 2009 recipient of the Billi Odegard Public Health Genius Award from the Community Health Partnership of Oregon. She has worked for Oregon Food Bank for the past 16 years focusing on rural food systems and is the creator of “FEAST”, the nationally recognized community food systems organizing program. She has been a resident of Philomath, Oregon for 30 years. She is an avid gardener and loves to share the cooking traditions learned in the farm kitchens of her youth with friends and family.Resources:Follow Sharon Thornberry on TwitterOregon Food BankA Place at the Table book and filmLocal Government CommissionSkeo Solutions 
Topic:Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development series – revolutionary air quality monitoringGuest & Organization:Veronica Eady is Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice at the California Air Resources Board. In this capacity, Ms. Eady is responsible for overseeing Environmental Justice activities of the Board.Her role will be to serve as the primary internal and external contact for CARB on environmental justice issues and concerns and will be responsible for providing policy consultation and recommendations to CARB staff. She will also participate in decision making during the development and implementation of all major CARB programs to ensure that environmental justice and tribal concerns are considered.Ms. Eady was formerly the Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation Massachusetts and was the Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit civil rights law firm in New York City. Eady has also served as Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfields Programs for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where she was the principal author of Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy. Eady was also Executive Director of Alternatives for Community and Environment, an environmental justice advocacy organization. She is the former chair of EPA’s federal advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Eady has held appointments on several faculties, including Europe-Viadriana University in Germany, Tufts University, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Fordham Law School, and at the Stanford Law School. Eady received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California, and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.Luis Olmedo is the executive director of Comité Civico Del Valle, a community advocacy group serving Imperial County, California. Comite Civico Del Valle (CCV) is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1987 that has grown to serve thousands of children, students, community residents, and professionals in California through a variety of programs: Promotoras, Outreach Events, Educator Training, Health Education, Environmental Health Research, and Environmental Conference. In 2007, the CCV expanded its programs to work with government agencies, academia, and underserved groups on specific neighborhood environmental justice problem solving that culminated in the implementation of the “First Environmental Justice Leadership Conference”. Our Environmental Conference has been the catalyst for major policy change in the U.S./Mexico Rural California Border Region.Resources:California Air Resources BoardComite Civico Del Valle, Inc.Skeo Solutions
Topic:Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – funding and financing resilienceGuest & Organization:Joyce Coffee, is founder and President of Climate Resilience Consulting, a Certified B Corp. She is an accomplished organizational strategist and visionary leader with over 25 years of domestic and international experience in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors implementing resilience and sustainability strategies, management systems, performance measurement, partnerships, benchmarking and reporting.More recently, she created corporate social responsibility plans and reports for Fortune 500 companies as a Vice President at Edelman and ran a preeminent global adaptation nonprofit grounded in university-based research and analytics, the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, ND-GAIN. Joyce regularly speaks as an expert in climate adaptation and resilience and has presented at Climate Week, WEF and COP side-events, and Greenbiz, among others.Resources:Climate Resilience ConsultingCalifornia Adaptation Forum – the 3rd California Adaptation Forum will be held in Sacramento, CA from August 27-29, 2018. Register now!Local Government Commission
Topic:Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – importance of cities as the center of industry and lifeGuest & Organization:The Research Program is led by Dr. Steven Cohen, Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is also Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Director of the Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. He is a consultant, former policy analyst, and former member of the Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology for the U.S. EPA. Cohen is the author of several books, including The Sustainable City (2017), Understanding Environmental Policy (2006, 2014), Sustainability Management (2011), The Effective Public Manager (1988, now co-authored in its fifth edition), and the co-author of Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015), and is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post on issues sustainability management and environmental policy. He is a graduate of Franklin College of Indiana (1974) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (MA, 1977; PhD, 1979). Dr. Cohen views the forthcoming research as a necessary next step in moving the needle towards more rigorous sustainability initiatives.Resources:Learn more about Dr. Steven CohenThe Sustainable CityLocal Government Commission  
Topic:Urban Resilience – urban green spaces designed with a purposeGuest & Organization:Fred Smith is the Director of Stringfellow Health Fund Grants at the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama. He has an Associate of Science degree from Southern Union Community College, Bachelor’s degree in marketing and a Master’s degree in Public Administration—both from Jacksonville State University. Fred is also a graduate of the Alabama Association of Not for Profit Executive Leadership certificate program. He is a recent appointee to the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama Roundtable, a group that gives young civic and business leaders the opportunity to study issues and government policy in Alabama in conjunction with the research conducted by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. The group meets with public officials and other leaders to learn about and discuss issues currently affecting the state and local governments while also seeking solutions to the state’s problems.Prior to joining the Community Foundation, he served as an Instructor for Gadsden State Community College and previously served as, the Director of Jacksonville State University’s Community Wellness program which received several local and state commendations for its contributions to community programming. He completed the Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers in 2016 and has also participated in Foundations on the Hill held in Washington D.C. both hosted by Southeastern Council of Foundations. Fred also has a previous connection to the Foundation. He has written grants to, received grants from, and successfully managed grants for the Foundation and has served as a volunteer grant reviewer. In addition to managing the Stringfellow Health Fund competitive grants program, Fred also conducts grantee site visits, manages the poverty project to align the foundation’s grant making with the Community Needs Assessment, and is coordinating the 100th anniversary celebration of Susie Parker Stringfellow’ s will in 2020.Fred met his lovely wife Rochelle while they both attended Jacksonville State University. They have two daughters, Eden and Zion, and they reside in Jacksonville Al.Resources:A Southern Interpretation of SacredNature SacredIsland Press Urban Resilience ProjectDownload the Island Press App! Learn more about the app here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!
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