Locus Focus

Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with local, regional and national experts, activists and policy makers about climate change, food policy, land use, salmon restoration, forest management and all the other things that matter in our environment.

Coming Soon

Eric de Place with Sightline institute provides updates on the latest developments with oil trains
 

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Episode Archive

FIGHTING GOLIATH

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:00am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The frenetic exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands and its rippling effect across the continent

The frenetic exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands and its rippling effect across the continent

As if the Future Mattered, World Steward of Columbia Gorge Acts Locally, Globally

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Interview with Hank Patton, founder of World Steward, and proponent of Intergenerational Finance

For over 30 years, World Steward has focussed on "the 'art and science' of managing resources as if the future mattered." Located in the Columbia Gorge, the center stewards farm and forestland, and fosters educational programs that engage students of all ages in the preservation of ecosystems and local economies.

Andrew Kimbrell on Labeling GE Foods, Banning GMO Crops and Organics and Beyond

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 06/16/2014 - 10:15am - 11:10am
Short Description: 
Andrew Kimbrell, of the Center for Food Safety, on the campaigns to label GE foods and ban GE crops
Guest host Kathleen Stephenson speaks with Andrew Kimbrell. Founder and Executive Director of Center for Food Safety, about genetically engineered crops and food and the campaigns to label genetically engineered foods and ban genetically engineered crops.
 

Cristina Eisenberg on her new book, The Carnivore Way

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Cristina Eisenberg on her new book, The Carnivore Way
Guest host Kathleen Stephenson interviews Cristina Eisenberg about her new book, "The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America's Predators."  In "The Carnivore Way", Cristina Eisenberg argues for the necessity of top predators in large, undisturbed landscapes, and how a continental-long corridor — a "carnivore way" — provides room to roam and connected landscapes that allow them to disperse.

Dan Barber on "The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food"

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Dan Barber on "The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food"

Chris Seigel guest hosts.

The Sixth Extinction: An Interview with author Elizabeth Kolbert

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/19/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history.

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted.

5/12 - The West Without Water

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Why California's current water crisis may be a harbinger of what the future holds.

The extreme drought that California is currently enduring may be a harbinger of climatic conditions to come. Geologic evidence spanning the last 10,000 years indicates that extended droughts and catastrophic floods plagued the West with regularity over the past two millennia. While the West may have temporarily buffered itself from such harsh climatic swings by engineering artificial environments, our modern civilization may be ill-prepared for the future climatic changes predicted to beset the region.

The Sixth Extinction: A Conversation with author Elizabeth Kolbert

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/05/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history.

THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, MAY 19 AT 10:15 AM.


The World Banks' Willful Blindness

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/28/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
How the World Bank is behind the rampant theft of land and resources from the world's poorest people

Precious land is being swiped away from poor farmers in the developing world and it's not the work of corrupt dictators or Mother Nature. The culprit is the World Bank. On this episode of Locus Focus, we'll talk with Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, whose new report , Willful Blindness -- How the World Bank's Doing Business (DB) Rankings Impoverish Smallholder Farmers, shows how the powerful entity is behind the rampant theft of land and resources from some of the world's poorest people. 

Measure 26-156, the Water District Initiative - on your ballot next month

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/21/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Why Portland's environmental community opposes Measure 26-156, the water district initiative.


In a few weeks Portland voters will be voting on a measure that would remove Portland's Bureaus of Water and Environmental Services from city control and have them run instead by a new elected board. Proponents claim that this measure will cut Portland water rates and provide transparency in an agency they believe is out of control. But opponents of the measure see it as a power grab by the city's largest industrial water users and corporate polluters, masquerading as a populist revolt. They say that the real intention is to roll back the city's most important environmental initiatives.

Audio

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/30/2009

In these end days of peak oil, the Canadian province of Alberta is on a mission to replace Saudi Arabia as the world's major source of petroleum. The once pristine boreal forests of Northern Alberta are being transformed into gigantic pit mines as energy companies rush to extract some of the last of the earth's petroleum reserves. The quest to extract and refine these thick, dirty tar sands that lie beneath what was once a wilderness of wetlands and salmon-rich rivers, threatens the ecology and economy of North America.

On this episode of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with author Andrew Nikiforuk, a journalist based in Calgary, Alberta, whose award-winning book TAR SANDS: DIRTY OIL AND THE FUTURE OF A CONTINENT, exposes this disaster in the making.

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning author and investigative journalist. Over the past two decades, he has written about energy, economics and the West for a variety of Canadian publications including Maclean’s, Canadian Business, the Globe and Mail, and Reader’s Digest. He has won seven National Magazine Awards since 1989 and top honours for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists. He won the Governor-General’s award for his 2002 non-fiction book, Saboteurs. In 2006, his book, Pandemonium examined the impact of global trade on disease exchanges and received widespread national acclaim. His latest book, the Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, examines the continental impact of the world’s largest energy project and is the winner of the 2009 SEJ Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.
 
Andrew Nikiforuk lives in Calgary with his wife and three sons.

Cap & Trade 101

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/23/2009

Cap-and-trade systems are being touted across the country as the most likely way to reduce carbon emissions and they have been in practice in Europe for several years. But cap-and-trade is controversial in the eyes of some envrironmentalists—who see carbon trading as a form of 21st century indulgences—as well as industrial polluters who believe cap-and-trade creates unwanted government regulation. Eric de Place with the Sightline Institute believes that if we create the right kind of cap-and-trade system, we can not only get off the fossil-fuels roller coaster, but speed the transition to a clean energy economy that puts the interest of people before interests of polluters. Eric joins Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein for a conversation about what cap-and-trade is really all about, as they dispel myths from the right and the left.

Eric de Place, senior researcher, contributes research and writing for the Cascadia Scorecard, especially on sprawl, economic security, wildlife, and other topics. He also writes for the Daily Score blog and contributes to a number of other Sightline projects, including climate policy in the western states. In 2006, Eric’s work helped defeat ballot initiatives in several Western states that would have severely eroded community and environmental protections. Before coming to Sightline, he worked with the Northwest Area Foundation, helping communities develop strategies to alleviate poverty. He has a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. After the world gets fixed, Eric plans to spend much more time reading good books beside remote mountain lakes. Read Eric's latest blog posts here.

Learn about how you can benefit from carbon trading in your own home, if you choose to do some weatherization. The Energy Trust of Oregon provides homeowner rebates for weatherization projects like replacing drafty old single pane windows with sustainable double-pane insulated ones. http://energytrust.org/

WHAT IS PLAN B 4.0

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/16/2009

Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, has come out with a new book PLAN B 4.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION. This plan for how we can (and must) cut global emissions by 80% by the year 2020, suggests existing technologies and know-how that will accomplish what political and industrial leaders around the world seem to find so daunting.

In this 4th edition of Plan B, author Lester Brown argues that food may be the issue that convinces the world of the need to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020. Every major environmental trend from climate change to deforestation and water scarcity affects food supplies. In this completely revised edition, Brown focuses on details of the plan and how it is already emerging in the energy economy.

On this segment of Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Lester Brown's colleague at the Earth Policy Institute, Janet Larsen, about how every major environmental trend from climate change to deforestation and water scarcity affects food supplies. We'll discuss the details of Plan B and how it is already emerging in the energy economy.

More on Plan B

Plan B is a worldwide mobilization to stabilize population and stabilize climate. Plan B replaces the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy with a new economic model powered by abundant sources of renewable energy: primarily wind, solar, and geothermal. Its transportation systems are diverse and aim to maximize mobility, widely employing light rail, buses, and bicycles.

A Plan B economy comprehensively reuses and recycles materials. Consumer products from cars to computers are designed to be disassembled into their component parts and completely recycled.

Plan B lays out a budget for eradicating poverty, educating the world’s youth, and delivering better health for all. It also presents ways to restore our natural world by planting trees, conserving topsoil, stabilizing water tables, and protecting biological diversity. With each new wind farm, rooftop solar water heater, paper recycling facility, bicycle path, marine park, rural school, public health facility, and reforestation program, we move closer to a Plan B economy.

Matt Roney is a staff researcher at the Earth Policy Institute, and was closely involved in the research that produced Plan B 4.0.

Farming Beyond the Barcode

program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/09/2009

Portland area farmer Clare Carver (Big Table Farm in Gaston) returns to Locus Focus for a chat with Joel Salatin, farmer, food choice advocate and dream-doer, who runs Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We'll discuss the sustainable agricultural methods they practice, based on polyculture and the interweaving roles of farm animals and crops.

Polyface Farm is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, whosewner Joel Salatin was featured in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. Polyface Farm (farm of many faces) practices both traditional sustainable agricultural methods as well pioneering new practices that mimic nature and heal the earth. Watch Joel in action on Polyface Farm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIbXU5iR2P4

Clare Carver and her partner Brian Marcy farm in Gaston, Oregon, at Big Table Farm, named after their desire to provide a gracious and welcoming table for themselves and friends, with a cornucopia of hand-crafted food and wine. They are establishing a working farm, where they raise pasture poultry, pigs, cows and egg-laying chickens, along with a large garden. Inspired by Polyface Farm, they manage an intensive grazing system of farming, that builds soils and sequesters carbon.

CHASING MOLECULES

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/02/2009

How can green chemistry revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to our health and the environment.

 

Scientists now say there is substantial evidence that environmental conditions and environmental pollutants—among them synthetic chemicals used in consumer products—have a profound effect on human health. On this program Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Portland environmental journalist (and neighbor) Liz Grossman, author of a new book, Chasing Molecules, about the potential for green chemistry to revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to our health and the environment.

Portland's Urban Growth Boundary: Thirty Years Later

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/26/2009

In the late 1970s, an imaginary line was drawn around the Portland area. Inside the line, urban development could flourish. Outside that line the farms and forestland that characterize western Oregon would remain intact. This line, called the urban growth boundary, has saved much of the natural landscape that surrounds the city. But in the thirty years since the UGB was first drawn, it has expanded more than once. Now a lot of people in the region are saying it doesn't need to grow anymore.

On this Locus Focus episode we take a closer look at Portland's Urban Growth Boundary. Urban naturalist Mike Houck, with the Urban Greenspaces Institute; Amy Ruiz, sustainability advisor to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, and urban planning guru Myron Orfield join host Barbara Bernstein to discuss how we can concentrate future development within the current UGB, while at the same time assuring that urban natural spaces and habitat are protected as well.

Friends of Family Farmers

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/19/2009
Eating locally has become a national movement. But how can we eat locally produced food if our nearby family farms are plowed under for subdivisions?

Eating locally has become a national movement. But how can we eat locally produced food if our nearby family farms are plowed under for subdivisions? Host Barbara Bernstein speaks with Kendra Kimbiraskas, co-president of Friends of Family Farmers, about how her organization is working to protect family farms and sustainable agriculture in Oregon, so you can continue to enjoy locally-grown food.

 

 

Friends of Family Farmers is a grassroots organization promoting sensible policies, programs, and regulations that protect and expand the ability of Oregon’s family farmers to run a successful land-based enterprise while providing safe and nutritious food for all Oregonians. Through education, advocacy, and community organizing, Friends of Family Farmers supports socially and environmentally responsible family-scale agriculture and citizens working to shape healthy rural communities. Friends of Family Farmers is building a strong and united voice for Oregon’s independent family farmers, food advocates, and concerned citizens who are working to foster an approach to agriculture that respects the land, treats animals humanely, sustains local communities, and provides a viable livelihood for family farmers.

Living Beyond the Barcode: Backyard Food Production & Preservation

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/05/2009
Program: 
Air date: 
Mon, 10/05/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Living beyond the barcode: backyard food production and preservation

Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein continues our journey into the politics of food. This week we explore the original concept of economics, which in Ancient Greece meant "rules of the household." Harriet Fasenfest, writer, cook, gardener, food preserver and backyard economist talks about the art, economics and politics of householding and food preservation.

 

 

 

Born and raised in the Bronx, Harriet Fasenfest has lived in the Northwest since 1978. Now retired from Main Street, she is attempting to raise the bones of home economics from the trash bin of modernity. She teaches classes on food preservation at Preserve and lives happily with her husband and children in Portland, Oregon.

Real Climate Action

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 09/28/2009

 

 

 

 

The pressure is on for the United States to emerge from the dark ages of the Bush years and finally pass meaningful legislation to address the coming climate change crisis. So what is happening with the federal Climate Bill and will it have the teeth it needs. Host Barbara Bernstein talks with listeners about what should be in the climate bill and what it will take to get it passed.

 

Sustainable Food Policy and Practice

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 09/21/2009

Thirty years ago Portland was ringed by working farms and the community garden program was beginning to blossom. Today community gardens are still alive and well throughout Portland, but much of the old farms at the edge of town are now covered with housing and commercial development. On this segment of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with Mayor Sam Adams, Zenger Farm's Jill Kuehler and Clare Carver with Big Table Farm in Gaston, about why we need to protect local farms close to and inside our city. We look at the connections between land use policies that preserve small family farms and the growing movement to eat local food, and maybe even grow our own. Find out why eating and farming sustainably is a revolutionary act.

WHAT IS ZENGER FARM? WHAT WAS ONCE THE MT. SCOTT DAIRY.

Zenger Farm was first owned in the 19th Century by Jacob Johnson as part of a 320-acre donation land claim. Johnson was a sawmill operator who furnished lumber for some of Portland’s earliest homes. Johnson Creek later was named for him. The land passed through several owners and eventually was purchased in 1913 by Ulrich Zenger, a Swiss dairy farmer. Zenger operated the Mount Scott Dairy, lived in the farmhouse, and farmed the land. When he died in 1954, the farm went to his son, Ulrich Zenger Jr., who lived on the farm as his father had. Ulrich Zenger Jr. operated the farm but did not maintain it as a commercial enterprise.

It was Zenger Jr., who, with great fondness for the place that had been his home, had the foresight and determination to protect the land from commercial development and preserve its integrity as a farm. In the mid-1980's, Zenger Jr. explored ways to preserve his farm and allow future generations to develop a mutually sustaining relationship with the land and a respect for it’s heritage, as Zenger himself had done for more than eighty years.

The land was purchased by the City of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) in 1994, five years after Ulrich Zenger Jr.'s death. BES saw in Zenger Farm an opportunity to promote environmental stewardship in a way that would complement BES' long-term conservation plans for the Johnson Creek Basin and Watershed. BES preserved the farm and its wetland as a collection point for the area's storm water. It was in June of 1995 that the land became a working farm again. Marc Boucher-Colbert knew good soil when he saw it. He leased the farmland from BES and, through his Urban Bounty Farm, not only cultivated the land but promoted educational and community events on the site. Urban Bounty Farm formed partnerships with the Environmental Middle School and the Portland State University Capstone Program, among others, to broaden the farm's availability as an open-air classroom.

Zenger Farm's expanding role as an educational and environmental resource created a need to formalize the farm's mission and establish a group to maintain it. In 1999, the Friends of Zenger Farm was assembled. They authored the Zenger Farm Master Plan, obtained the City's approval of the Conditional Use Master Plan, and partnered with BES to secure a 50-year lease of the property. Ulrich Zenger Jr.'s family farm was now, officially and sustainably, a public space.

Incorporated in 1999, Friends of Zenger Farm is a non-profit farm and wetland in outer southeast Portland dedicated to promoting sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship and local economic development through a working urban farm. Friends of Zenger Farm utilize the combination of a 10-acre wetland adjacent to the 6-acre organic farming operation to provide unique experiential learning opportunities for youth, farmers and families in subjects such as sustainable agriculture, wetland ecology, food security, healthy eating and local economic development.



BIG TABLE FARM is a small family farm in Gaston, Oregon, run by Clare Carver and Brian Macy. They named their Farm after a desire to provide a gracious and welcoming table for themselves and  friends, with a cornucopia of hand-crafted food and wine. They are establishing a working farm, where they raise pasture poultry, pigs, cows, and egg-laying chickens and a large vegetable garden. They are working towards a managed intensive grazing system of farming that builds soil, sequesters carbon, and creates a healthy, sustainable and diverse farm.
 

 

 

Sam Adams is the mayor of Portland, Oregon and an avid gardener. When he was growing up he wanted to be a farmer.

Comments

Global Warming

Barbara, I hope you might forward my comments to your guest. I was only able to listen to part of today's program but I am very interested. I want to raise my concerns about two prevailing frames that arise on your show and throughout serious discussion of climate change that I believe do great damage to the efforts to raise the awareness of the public and help them understand the urgency needed when addressing this issue.
First is the frame that global warming is happening slowly and will continue to do so. I do not believe the facts support such an assertion and not only does no one know that warming will not suddenly serge forward it seems to be doing exactly that. A report out last week raised the projected temperature for the planet by the end of the century to 9F from 4F degrees. That means that we are going to hit 4F by---2040? Until recently no one imagined the arctic ice cap could melt in anything like our lifetimes but in fact it will and it may do so as soon as 2013! The problem with the frames that give people the impression that GW is a slow process is that it provides fauls comfort, "Oh, technology will fix it before it happens," or "It is not my problem." Neither one is the case but too many people still think that way. So please start using a different frame from "by the end of the century," or “future generations." Instead say "within our life times," and stress the urgency. After all it is much more accurate to say catastrophic climate change is happening right now.

The second frame is that one cannot attribute any given weather event to global warming. That is only partly true. In fact one might say that you cannot not attribute any given weather event to climate change such is the post-industrial influence on the pre-industrial trajectory of the climate---we have departed the Holocene and are in the Antropocene some scientist tell us. It is like a basketball launched toward a basket that gets tipped by one of the players. Its trajectory is for ever changed. I think it is more accurate to say that the weather everywhere and everyday has been influence to some degree by GW. This is important because the frame that one cannot tell if an event is caused by climate change is asking them not to believe there own "eyes," experiences, or impressions which are often very astute. For instance in Oklahoma where I grew up we used to have thunderstorms in April and the 100F days did not come until late July. This year they had wild fires near Oklahoma City in April and the temperatures have been in the hundreds throughout much of this June---that has increasingly become the trend and is consistent with climate change projections. Now Oklahomans should by all rights believe that what they are experiencing is in fact global warming. It may be noted that Inhofe is a Senator from Oklahoma and one of the most radical global warming deniers and obstructionist in government.
I have been keeping up with this issue for a long time now and am alarmed at the rapidity that things are taking place. I truly believe we are probably in for crop failures, water shortages, and mass migrations here in North America, in this country, within our lifetimes and whereas I think there is a fine line to be drawn to not panic or send people into despair I think scientist tend to be much too measured in their statements. It is as though there is smoke billowing out of the projection room and the scientists don’t want be caught dead yelling fire in a crowded theater because there is no "proof" that there is in fact a fire.
Scientist have long dismissed the near term risk of a methane/co2 release from the arctic or the ocean meanwhile there is growing indications that that is exactly what is happening. As a NASA scientist you should know that a huge methane release was detected on Mars a few years ago and that is within a much more static system than ours----that should give us pause!
The public needs to be prepared in case there is a sudden spike in methane from the Arctic so I hope in the future Barbara you will direct your discussions of climate change toward the rapidity of changes already taking place and the potential danger of being too complacent and smug about what we know and what we think we do or do not know. Thank you.

Global Warming

I recently interviewed Phil Mote who has replaced climate change denier George Taylor as Oregon's State Climatologist. Like any careful scientist Mote does not feel comfortable attributing specific weather events to climate change. But he gave me a analogy that I like: It's like playing Russian Roulette and adding a second bullet to the chamber of the revolver. If you blow your head off it doesn't really matter whether it was the original bullet or added bullet that did you in.

Solar Energy

I echo Bruce's concerns and add commentary based on  Mon - 14 - Sep show.

While I support solar energy, I warn against pie-in-the-sky proposals that make it sound like we can find new sources to keep living our wasteful lives. The scale of the problem is lost when we pretend that putting solar panels on 100 roofs signifies real change.

There is some hope to be found in using solar power efficiently. This does NOT include powering electric resistance heaters with photovoltaics. It does mean passive solar heating, solar hot water, and solar clothes driers (AKA clotheslines).

When you have used conservation and innovation to convert the wasteful electric grid into a sustainable system, then we can begin the conversation about supplimenting the system for our transportation problems. Until then, the only real sustainable alternatives to petroleum are wind, human, and animal powered vehicles. Coal and nuclear, the primary sources of new electricity, are polluting uses of nonrenewable resources.

Walk, ride a bicycle, sail (without motor), and use horse and ox cart, if you are truly concerned about the serious threat of climate change. Park your car forever. We cannot afford cars any longer.

- Vernon Huffman

   Corvallis, OR

today's show & "socialism"

i think now is a good time to talk more about what socialism actually is - common ownership of the means of production - and what is is not - redistributing wealth. you are right to continue pointing out that what obama is talking about is a progressive tax structure, not socialism.

the progressive tax idea actually comes from adam smith himself, "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." [from book 5, ch.2 on taxes]

Intro Music

The intro music to Locus Focus is a song by Hugh Masakela called "Change." It's on his album "Time," which came out a few years ago. I plan on playing the song each week until Robert Mugabe relinquishes power in Zimbabwe.

brain gender

Did you see the piece in the NY Times re schizophrenia and autism having possible roots in parental dna - that is mother mix:father's mix? That is female characteristics manifesting as schizophrenia from mother dna and autistic characteristics from father's?

 

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