Yesterday, I listened to Boris Johnson’s performance-apology over a Fixed Penalty Notice for partying during the very lockdown he instigated by law, and I am afraid he has brought great shame to our Nation.
My father’s oldest and dearest friend, and therefore influential in my life, was Mr Hugh Rees, Conservative MP for Swansea, a lifelong Conservative member and, truly, a good man. Although we were politically poles apart, he was–every atom–a man of great integrity, honesty and respect. He taught me much about politics and political decision making, as well as the core Conservative value of loyalty to the people. I think back to his era and lament how those core values he represented in all his political and business dealings have been utterly swept aside by Boris Johnson and the yes-men and yes-women of the current Cabinet — loyal only to themselves and their wealthy friends — supported by a backbench so without a moral compass and so far right-leaning, I’m amazed they haven’t all fallen headfirst into the Thames.
Please, at least, try to regain those core values in parliament and tell your PM to resign now.
For me, it matters less that Johnson, at best, didn’t appear to have a clue about what he was doing, nor what his staff were doing, but that he then lied and obfuscated.
Being a bit of a “character” or wanting to emulate Churchill = NUL POINTS once trust has evaporated. I neither trust nor admire this kind of “character”, and I think that the majority of decent people in Britain feel the same way. In this new era of international political and environmental threats, and after the harrowing impacts of Covid and high costs of living, people deserve better. We need someone utterly trustworthy to occupy that privileged role of Prime Minister in Government.
Meanwhile, on the subject of Offshore Detention Centres in Rwanda, I will remind you that asylum-seeking is not illegal, that you won’t solve the trafficking problem by exporting the victims, and that the whole scheme reeks of pandering to the BNP-style elements of your Party. The Australian model caused intense suffering, trauma, and even suicide as a result of similar Government activities to deflect responsibility for asylum-seeking. I call the result “Xenotrauma“. Your Government should not, for the sake of basic decency, follow their lead. We must have compassion at the centre of politics, with human dignity respected in every single individual already here and all who might try to seek sanctuary on these Isles. I have known a few refugees to have survived arduous life-threatening journeys to flee conflict and persecution. They have been subjected to sickening racism and abuse across the continent, and that’s why they have not stayed, deciding instead to press on to Britain. Sadly, all of them over-optimistically presumed that British integrity, honesty, and respect still exist!
Once again, I ask you to demonstrate that you WILL try to regain those core values – integrity, honesty, and respect. Tell your PM to resign now, and the entire Cabinet can follow.
Another week, another bereavement. Could the grief bus just stop. I want to get off.
Meanwhile, thoughts are whirling around my head, several key projects stacked in my brain’s in-tray. I am returning to studies after a two-month bereavement break and, in all honesty, I am finding it difficult to concentrate on these longer works (though I’m trying), and much beyond my daughter’s imminent A’Levels, or bursts of 280 characters.
I am moving through a period of deep loss, ADHD diagnosis ~ also some kind of loss, but of my old identity ~ and medicine titration; a battle to even get anything from the NHS. I am also still in recovery from my first (and I hope, last) bout of clinical depression I had last Summer. I have no means of official therapy now. Waiting lists are months long, money is tight-to-zero, and Adam’s support money for Gracie until her 18th birthday has evaporated into probate. I try things myself to alleviate fast brain syndrome. Two delightful kittens play their part in lightening daily life, I attend weekly art therapy courses at Mind and doodle-draw in fly-wheel states, and I am volunteering now, ad hoc, for a local Help for Ukraine charity, packing boxes of donated sleeping bags and baby medicines to be sent to the insanity of bomb shelters underneath Kharkiv.
But today, I’m compelled to write this blog. It’s been a while.
The Johnson government has announced its energy policy to be put in train for decades, and the major TV stations are accepting without criticism. In fact, there seems great excitement over the projected stimulus of such a gigantic infrastructure build ~ the contributions it will make to what I now call the wantonomy – the wanton economy of growth and greed.
Instead of a care-full, just, and sensitive energy transition from “fossil fools” (Antonio Gueterres, 2022) ~ mass insulation projects, new building regulations, 20-min -journey-time-planning, onshore community-owned renewables, reduced international logistics, agro-ecologies, et al, The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein) has been fully exploited for the benefit of the BIG business of corporate nuclear power, so-called blue/green hydrogen, and vast offshore wind. Russia’s abominable war crimes against the Ukrainian people, together with global inflation have given the billionaires are generous tip, and there are future billionaires – let’s call them pretenders – salivating in the wings. I will write again soon on Ukraine, and also about the ecological hit by such giant infrastructures compared to the alternatives (of course, there are alternatives)! And don’t forget these long-term projects do nothing to help people suffering today.
I’ve no doubt the Johnson energy policy is not based on logic, morality, sincerity, or a real practical response to the problems of international energy, climate, or security, but on the ideology of extreme capitalism. These are Leviathan capital projects, requiring Ziz capital investment, with the expectation of Behemoth capital gains, and, of course, the exploitation and exclusion of most people and all teresapien life.
There is a centralising core to it (against the flows of nature and symbioethical distribution) to ensure the human population of Britain is completely reliant upon the companies that supply them. The coffers are therefore guaranteed. Loyal friends of the government are financially secured and will be offered Royal patronage and other powerful positions of cultural and economic influence. Despite the Russian lesson, foreign wealth will still be embraced. Neo-colonial forces ensuring uranium supplies and other materials will, again, be set in motion. Hydrogen cells – as stored energy – are simply replacements for natural gas as a globalised commodity, the fossil fuel industry’s preferred fuel of replacement, a fuel of the loco-motive, to keep stuff moving ~ and selling ~ at even higher levels than today. These planet-sized corps can even use the same pipelines and ships. Never mind saving costs from the “public purse”, there are continuing overheads attached to such schemes paid for in the deaths of entire flolocas, symlings wrenched away from symlings, vast broken ecologies, for the sake of whitemanthropocentric business-as-usual, grid-leak inefficiency over distances (more dollar for waste). At best, these people are visionary-less to all but increasing narrow pressure to reduce emissions and, at a push, cleaner air (not clean).
More, do not ever consider that military forces around the world do not map and plan attacks, including tactical nuclear attacks, on centralised energy sources and processing plants. Someone very close to me studied and worked in this field, including tracing potential radiation pollution – at high levels of security, even if in a “defensive” capacity and unable to reveal to me any detail except with his facial expressions.
I ask myself whether I am more or less depressed by this news. I think I’ve gone into an intensive state of trauma-laced-suspended optimism. Few will want to listen – really listen – to what I am saying. Even the climate science community, now desperate for people to listen to them, seem bent on simply shouting louder, grabbing attention via protest (fair enough, it gets in the papers), but continuing to exclude from their main circles experts on human values and vital pedagogies that are PRE-REQUISITE for an egalitarian, equitable r-evolution of the masses. At least, I will have made this note for my own mental state if not for repeating incessantly on Twitter. Though I truly love my friends, I am giving that particular dysenergy a break!
PS I am currently listening to the UN expelling Russia from the Human Rights Council. There’s no current mechanism for them to be ousted from the Security Council, but they should suspend them pending acts of aggressive war and war crimes against the Ukrainian people, including the elderly, disabled, children, but also foreign migrants and students. If they don’t, the UN itself is at risk. Far too many people, including senior members of the Conservative Party, wish to see that whole institution burn down. We need to reform it to protect it! Its core philosophies are absolutely worth protecting. IPCC supporters, take note.
Without you, I would not have known enduring love, no matter how complex, because it is complex.
Without you, we would not have the most stunning child, who takes my breath away in all she does and says.
Without you, we would not have known and loved Ben.
Without you, I would not have read Riverwalking and walked the philosophical path since. This blog was your idea, one I will always treasure because it was yours. Your name is mine, and always will be. It’s a good strong batty name.
Without you, I would have remained parochial. I would not have read Lopez and Matthiessen. We have lived and experienced, haven’t we, all the “stuff” in the world could never ever match.
Without you, I would not have regained myself after Mum’s death; enjoyed our daughter and her absolute vibrancy; I would not have embraced the camera that you bought me and “seen” this beautiful world again alongside you, Gracie, Ben. I would not have walked the rivers again. I would not have really listened to music. Music is life, laughter, and dance. There is so much more. So much.
You have been the most thoughtful lover, father, son, brother, and man. I have missed you, miss you now, and will miss you until the day I leave this plane of existence we knew to cherish.
Without you. I am utterly and totally bereft.
I have truly lost my best friend. I will care for our daughter and take her where she needs to go on behalf of “us”. I will listen to your voice in all things. Relish the cadence on that dream bike and those biggest views. “Kudos” to you.
Dark rum, rumbullion, rummage, scents, essences and escents (forming adjectives expressing a flux state or action). Now is the time of falling deciduous leaves in the northern hemisphere. For a long while now, I have mulled on a word that describes the prevailing smell for me ~ a sweet, musky, peppery aroma of decaying leaves, depending on the leaf mix ~ as well as the activity of soil enrichment and kicking through them on misty mornings and cooler evenings.
Decaying leaves are broken down to soil nutrients by bacteria, fungi, and tiny invertebrates, and they give off organic compounds and sugars in an air-cocktail that is fairly unique in any given place and in our minds, though there may be commonalities at certain temperatures and times of the day.
Climate change and struggling ecologies mean such things could be afforded more names in our depauperate language, articulated and treasured in our consciousness and affirmed by the discussion of them. Let there be many names, helping to shape the way we think and evolving in time and space.
Perhaps my word here will not resonate with you. If it does, I am so glad. Why not think about a word yourself if it does not, and please do share it in the comments box below. Thank you and enjoy all the good things that Autumn will bring this year.
Ah, yes, those corporate men who pay lip service to equity and resilience. Who might abuse those surviving under the most extreme circumstances?
Please, let me point out that, according to Carbon Brief and other well-known carbon data analysis organisations, concrete (largely Portland cement) accounts for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions
not accounting for any other mineral or ecological extractions required along supply and demand chains. Lafarge is top of the pops in the game of global concrete. And the Americans lap it up, by far the biggest importer of the stuff.
Let’s be careful driving forward any “Green New Deal” infrastructure purported to protect the most vulnerable and to facilitate a new era of ecological and “zero” emissions in daily life, without looking with intense scrutiny at the land (LIFE), materials, and energy extracted and used-up in that mission. We (all life) can no longer afford to make the same mistakes in this damnation of an Anthropocene.
Should such an ethic be nobbled by those who celebrate the green dollar or pound sterling under the disguise of jobs and equity? It’s not hard to imagine, at scale. “Eco”modernists are persistently very sneaky and content to gaslight us all with their sympathies to various causes or concern for the expediency of “compromise” under time pressures. I’m rather sick of it. So will be those suffering at the frontline of extreme climate change and the ones who will suffer down the line.
What is good for LIFE comes, by nature, in flows. Concrete blocks flow, or at least it slows it down a thousandfold and more until it breaks down with the same forces that break down rock. Let’s stop with the concrete, even when it comes to rising sea levels, coastal “protection,” and river flooding. All we are doing, yet again, is knocking problems downstream in time and space. There are alternatives; ancient proven methods. They may not be so easily commodified (eg rammed earth), but they exist, bioregionally.
Concrete (French, Chinese, Green New Deals), wherever it is poured as if from an infinite tap, is an experiment that has failed and will continue to fail. Just like fossil fuels.
I have been walking the dried up paths by the river, thinking about emotions of the prescient and ever-increasing burden of Earth Crisis upon everyone (at least everyone who is sane).
Climate or extinction “dread” or “doom” can seem such hopeless words, yet maybe have a rightful place in the hearts of some; those in total despair. For others, life is surviving regardless, caring for others in the face of whatever comes next; no time to allow a creeping then torrential flood of negative emotions that could hamper chances.
So I offer a word that means simply a deficiency of peace (mind, body, soul, ecological, social, and even planetary), a lack of confidence – an edgy feeling on a par with eerie, of craving peaceful conditions that are amiss. There is still a purpose to the feeling, as all emotions have purpose ~ to achieve peace; a life of peace in climate, biodiversity, equity.
Pax ~ Latin for peace, Pacis ~ of peace
Penia ~ Latin root, suffix for deficiency in medicine.
Paxipenia ~ an emotional state of disquiet caused by the multitude of uncertainties and brutality of an ongoing Earth Crisis.
“I don’t get depressed, I get angry,” says Johan Rockström, Breaking Boundaries, Netflix.
Me too, Johan. I am furious.
I am furious because I listened to you in hope, and imagined millions doing the same. Yet your vision of the human global reign continuing, but within your “safe operating space”, is morally defunct.
Why on Earth would I ever say such a thing? You have a vast platform; earned, I am sure of this. Your collaborative work on planetary boundaries and Earth systems is hugely valuable to modern society. But when that very modern society is THE fault-line in Earth’s discordance, you, therefore, can’t fix it. Things have to shift away from the modernism you are protecting. And I am not writing of a return to cave-life ~ but of a return to a wise way of understanding LIFE.
Please don’t use your platform to dismiss ethics as if science is the “torch” to show us the way. Science gives us “light”, but not all light, and how best to live through the light. And to live through the dark. Both ancient indigenous ways of thought and emerging forms of ecologism springing up in fountains all over the world have serious contributions to make. And they may not look and sound like you.
Yours is a job of listening as well as warning.
You dismiss the moral calling; exquisite beauty is irrelevant, you say. But real beauty IS the interconnectedness, the symnexia of LIFE, and that cannot be dismissed. We are, like it or not, moral beings – the calling goes deep into our symbiotic existence, within and without; even our neural pathways, like flowers and roots in symbiosis with bacteria and viruses, are shaped in that very same pattern.
We save nature not to save us, but because it is us.
Now may be the time for some unlearning. No symling may be left behind in sacrifice for saving the human race. No symling should be enslaved “in service” or servitude to humans, but instead in Fluministic devotion to the communal cause as they were born or divided to do.
As should we all.
Please stop dismissing the moral cause, when you continually use it yourself under the guise of “science” – morality shapes even the work you do. Ask yourself again why you do what you do. What emotivates you? What ethic do you abide by? An ethic is the enactment of your own moral code.
That the biosphere should exist, therefore, evolve to prop up human civilisation is the ultimate foolishness of our young immature experiment of a species. We cannot and should not pursue this ethic of enslavement and frustropian servitude of all life to one cause.
Trees planted? Trees are perfectly evolved to grow themselves, given place. But remember they are community species, only part of something much bigger and older than themselves, an order of magnitude older, higher, broader, deeper than humans – a symbioethic. Our planting is ancillary, the gardening at the edges. LIFE is full-on love for evolutionary processes, much of which we cannot participate as ecological consumers. We must be patient. Let the trillions of symlings be Fluminists, so that we too can be Fluminists.
Food? Yes, we know what we parasitise and consume is a huge driver of ecological distress rooted in all those inter-flowing planetary systems you so rightly highlight – we are nature, so the responsibility is ours to generate LIFE in the process of its becoming, not destroy life. Shelter, clothes, waste (do we and our waste become ecological food once more), travel, we have become a “boundary” to all life – you missed humans out in your nine systems taxa – the Anthropocene puts us right in there NUMBER TEN (and equity between humans does fucking matter – you should know that better than anyone. Inequity drives the desire for more exploitation).
Back to language.
“Safe operating space” is a Westernised expression of THE language deficit ongoing right now, a continuation of the moral deflection from union with all living beings. WE ARE NOT STANDING ON A FACTORY LINE.
Instead, please use your platform to thread the nature of nature through each and every one of us, and through the symbiotic species that power this fragile, beautiful, unique biosphere – LIFE, a metabolising global kindship of community. LIFE is CLIMATE (Margulis/Lovelock/many more, including me).
That’s where “security” for ALL species lays. In them we trust.
LOVE IS FOR ALL processes that sustain life, including symbiosis. The mystery is ever-present in that love – a deep faith in processes, known and unknown. I call it Fluminism.
Dear Professor, there is not AND NEVER WILL BE a good Anthropocene. There is a falsity, an arrogance of “universal knowledge” peppered into the flesh of everything as if scientists are the masters of their aim. For all your valuable insights, what remains essential, Johan, is the recognition that our species may stand in humble rank, and that we shall not (and should not) ever fully “know.” Then, and only then, may we have a chance at aiding LIFE into very uncertain futures caused by vast human iniquity. And then… to un-belong as NUMBER TEN planetary “boundary”.
This week, pre-IPCC policing of critical thought on Twitter has reached an outrageous level. I’m out, for now.
We know the failings of Twitter, the personal snipes, the fakery and the pack-hunting trolls. And we keep trying anyway. What started out as a Silicon Valley version of “equal “voice has ended in a scrap and a place of verbal oppression.
Now “Jack” the billionaire is backing cryptocurrency, and thinks this will unite “the world”. What non-sense. His culture is the very thing that is destroying “the world.”
Twitter, propped up by capitalist advertising, was never going to be for “everyone”, only for those with access and the luxury of the time to commit. Just like bitcoin. * Money attracts money in the Capitalist system. You need property and cash to buy more property and cash.
Try as you might to gaslight that we all have agency, Jack, capital is power in modern linear ways of thinking. And no, it isn’t “natural”. It doesn’t fit the natural pattern. It’s nurtured by this mendacious, cultural blat – individualistic, traumatising capitalism.
Anthropocentrism, WhiteManthropocentrism in reaction to extreme weather events in the global north, is, once again, spinning out of control. So few bothered to listen to the voices from the global south for decades.
For my Non-WhiteManthropocentric Ethics blogs to reach others, it often takes a white man to RT before anyone will read it. And that’s if I am *lucky*. Black people know, and Trans people, and Disabled people, if I didn’t have the “privilege” of white skin on top, would I even get a look-in. Who truly speaks for teresapien lives without a direct conflict of interest? The Anthropocentric Right and personal desire of “use” is pervasive. Twitter’s “Environmentalism” category barely touches on the intrinsic worth of Earth’s myriad species. It’s all about one species. Wildfires, floods, droughts miraculously don’t appear to impact any other species. More categories (my god, what tosh – everything is connected), and it’s mostly about the wealthy sector of that one species. It’s about the eurocentricity of the Whiteness. It’s the stubborn refusal by the influential to accept any criticism.
It’s ABSOLUTELY necessary to have rules, to tell truths, to refrain from harm, to end racism, bullying, and any other kind of injurious “othering”. To point these out is VITAL. Society should be grateful for those who step up, especially those already suffering! My point is not about these basic, decent, fundamental responsibilities.
As Earth Crisis worsens more widely (where has that moral imagination for those already suffering for decades been hiding), what we are now seeing on Twitter, at least, is a shutdown of reasonable ethical debate, particularly WITHIN movements for progressive change, as the so-called environmental movement. Step out of line, and you can’t be “with us” – a Bush-Cheney-ism. Suggest anthropocentrism will fail, and you are labelled naive. Suggest causality is not a linear top-down force, and Michael Mann will block you. Suggest the ethics of early data release is warranted given the emergency and you are told you are “not a dedicated scientist” (rolling eyes emojis by North American sci-comm groupies), worse you are supporting denialists. Criticise this grotesque UK Government for their hypocritical hosting of COP26 and you are persona non grata. Suggest low traffic neighbourhoods have been rolled out without consulting those social groups already suffering, and you are told their pain is worth it and you are against climate change action. The list goes on.
There is no progress without critical thought. No good at all. Look closely at who is doing this policing, the politics of the shut down. It matters.
It’s happened before ( to me personally, and others) over the Save our Woods and Natural Capitalism campaigns. And one or two of the very same influencers behind the attempts to shut down criticism now. Sorry, no matter how hard you wish to cling to norms, nothing short of radical will do. And radical love is – by its very nature – not harmful like, say, Capitalism and “biodiversity offsetting,” Mr “Nature in service to humans “Natural England.
Twitter Blue tick outbreaks absolutely make it a tiered system. Algorithms mean most of the words I contend are needed, radical ideas of community and interconnectedness, and indeed wish to see people reading, are split away from my timeline. I have to dig for them, like bitcoin! And my own tweets seem lost in a sea of rationalist economics and science as the only (Twitter-worthy, at least) instruments of change. I don’t know whether it’s my ADHD talking, but the noise of it all is now unbearable.
We know full well via the Kate Clanchy debacle that editors and media gatekeepers are also imperfect and can proliferate harm but I do remain hopeful that Twitter may also facilitate an apology to the right people. Mass media trumps books, books trump essays, essays trump voices. Twitter tramples the fragile nuances of relationships. You can’t get a book out without a Twitter following, you can’t get a Twitter following without publishing. Pretty pictures won’t do it (actual or verbal – guilty as charged). But Middle-of-the-Road is reigning, policing, sniping. Human exclusivity and Western notions of individual Rights and desire are first and foremost in most campaigns. I’m muting and muting, and that’s not why I joined.
Twitter is too fast, too reactive. Busting chains of healing happen at the drop of an incendiary or thoughtless Tweet. I am not stupid, and I know that over 12 years I have allowed myself to be pulled into the mire (impulsivity is another sign of ADHD). The more I follow, the more trouble lays waiting. I want to slow things down, think more about my responses.
Twitter has been an important part of my personal stake in ecophilosophy. It has brought me connectedness and friendship (though absolutely no monetary gain) and I hope I’ve given as much back. But so pivotal are our times, that equal voice is paramount. Criticise me, yes, for stepping away from even trying. But these recent events have helped me conclude that Twitter is not that platform. Discussions in “environmentalism” and “conservation” are northern Europe-America-centric enough – Science, Tech, Economics and Rights and Land Title dominate the political realm. Values, relationships, rational discussion about the power of emotions? Little to nil. Even Education – the real root and possibility of inclusive change – falls down the gaps. If you can’t sell a pedagogy, who cares?
Algorithms, and more, are closing down the voices of the majority of the human species. Like bitcoin, you need tech to get more tech, influence to gain influence. And with Earth Crisis intensifying comes an intensifying of policing, especially by White men or media owned by white men. Blundering, opaque verbal-age on Language, Morality and Ethics happens at the same time, despite the ignorant rejection of Language, Morality and Ethics being relevant at all. Snarky comments are fairly common towards anyone who is scholarly in that area.
For whatever reason (it’s complex) Twitter is dominated by the nexus of domination, blue ticks (I know, some are only just defending their identity), conformity, and Whiteness. Aside from the insidiousness of bots and the anonymous death threats, it’s not the filth and lies that are necessarily the continuous surprise on Twitter – people can be pretty awful in the flesh. But it is the streams of influence, the followed and the following, the PIED PIPERS of business-as-usual in the face of nothing-is-usual that freak me out. And they are doing it IN PLAIN SIGHT. Such popularists are not given to working, in my experience, for the vulnerable and the voiceless, and that includes teresapien lives. Whatever they may “say.”
WhiteMAnthropocentrism is intensifying in synchronicity with climate volatility and ecological stripping – the atmospheric energy transference loaded into apathy and neglect for LIFE in our one shared biosphere like a gun going off. And it is a Westernish human trait right now, the legacy of gargantuan theft and slavery, now neo-colonial, globalised through international institutions.
Good voices do float, sometimes. Good voices also drown. There’s too much “broadcast” and not enough “receive”. Bigfooting is widespread, as is idea theft. I’m fed up with raising specific ethical and scientific points, cited or linked to evidence or articles, only to be ignored, sometimes with zero feedback, whilst blue tick White men or TED talkers raise them lazily and get thousands of RTs (a recent example, sea-bed mining for EV minerals). It’s fucking exhausting. I’ll be honest, I don’t believe I have the media savvy to get my message of Fluminism, Symbioethics, and Ethics of Care through on Twitter, and I’m not thinking that a discussion about love and ethics will be particularly missed. New literature genres? Experimental writing? Hits to my blogs referred from Twitter have plummeted. Who gives a shit about these things anymore when there’s so much panic and authoritarian policing of the Earth Crisis movement to be done, IPCC reports or not. I’ll carry on resisting capital, commodification and the patriarchy through the written word, just not on Twitter. At least, for now. Call it a semi-retirement.
My sincere gratitude to Twitter friends – for all you have brought. Please, if it’s possible, do stay in touch. I am here, and I am on Instagram (@seasonalight – just a photo diary at this point).
Twitter users 206 million. Global population 7.8 billion (Gov.uk)
Twitter population by Nations: Top 20 Nations only 1 African Nation (Egypt), despite the African Continent being one of the worst-hit by the climate bomb, ecological depauperation and global inequity. America and Japan dominate usership. (Statista)
The majority of the top-followed 50 are American entertainers. (Brandwatch)
38.5 % of users are aged between 25 and 34 years old. (Statista)
63.7% of Twitter users are male, while only 36.3% are female (Omnicore)
77% of Americans who earn $75,000 or more use Twitter. The pattern is more or less global. (Omnicore)
Twitter Revenue (adverts, majority by global corporations) 2020 – $3.72 billion. (Statista)
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