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

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



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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 25, 2017


Broadband Access Impacts Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Jobs

In This Episode:

01:20 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate talks about the Local Government Commission.
03:11 Kate shares the LGC’s upcoming events.
05:00 Kate makes known the next two podcast guests and what the podcast topics will be.
06:43 Mike mentions that access to broadband is a national issue.
07:56 Kate comments about how cutting some of the services in the infrastructure makes broadband access that much more important.
09:47 Guest Trish Kelly is introduced.
11:23 Trish tells how she became involved in the broadband-access issue.
12:18 Trish gives some statistics on who’s being left behind in the digital divide.
13:50 Trish defines the term “underserved.”
14:32 Trish informs us of the demographic breakdown of underserved communities.
16:22 Trish conveys the economic-development impacts of the rapid changes in the job force.
19:11 Trish highlights the connection between broadband and the environment.
22:21 Trish comments on the use of technology in agriculture.
24:38 Trish states some steps to position communities for job opportunities.
27:07 Trish supplies what we should be asking from our community leaders.
29:34 Trish speaks to the accessibility of information and people feeling more connected in their community.
31:52 Trish tells how people can learn more about her work.
32:46 Kate provides what she noticed this week in the news.
36:42 Mike adds his thoughts to Kate’s observations from this week.


Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest & Organization:

Trish Kelly is the Managing Director of Valley Vision. Trish joined Valley Vision as Senior Vice President in 2014, having been involved with Valley Vision on several projects over the years. As a consultant, Trish has contributed to Valley Vision initiatives in such areas as regional food systems and agriculture, broadband, economic vitality, and quality of life indicators. She is managing Valley Vision’s agriculture and food system projects and the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, and is supporting other Valley Vision regional leadership efforts. Trish has a passion for projects that provide strong research and accessible information as the basis for engaging community leaders, stakeholders and partner organizations in collaborative, solution-driven strategies that will ensure a Triple-Bottom Line for the region – with shared opportunity, environmental quality and economic prosperity for all.

Valley Vision is a leadership organization dedicated to making the Sacramento region a great place to live, work, and recreate.

Take Away Quotes:

“In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world. No other technology has produced as much innovation, competition, and economic growth.”—Congressional letter to the new administration

“I started this process more than 10 years ago. We were working with the governor’s cabinet, looking at issues that really impeded or affected rural economic vitality, and broadband kept coming up as the number-one issue. So that led to a series of activities which have culminated, for many of us in the regions, in a program that’s supported through the Public Utilities Commission, that provides funding for regional broadband consortium and then also funding for infrastructure and other opportunities to help meet our infrastructure gaps.”

“Every year there’s a public survey that tracks overall adoption and infrastructure deployment across our regions and across the state. So we are making progress. But we know, for instance, a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission showed that only 47 percent of our rural areas have the same Internet access as urban areas. So that’s a huge divide. In our region, we looked at the grades, using Public Utility’s data, on our infrastructure in four of our counties that make up our consortium, and the grades ranged from C- to F+. So, clearly, we’re very far behind.”

“‘Underserved’ might mean that you don’t have enough competition in service, so your service might be unreliable; it might be too cost prohibitive. You might not have access to the technologies that you need to connect; maybe you’re connecting by a cell phone, but you don’t have access to a computer, so you can’t write a paper for school on a computer, or it’s very hard to do a job search, or it’s very hard to get healthcare services online. So we have a lot of variations of what ‘underserved’ looks like.”

“The data shows, through the PUC and other surveys, that the hard-to-serve markets or the underserved markets include high levels of poverty, economically disadvantaged, people who have disabilities, communities of color, and then we also have challenges in some of our older neighborhoods and our kind of industrial parks or job centers. Those are areas that didn’t have forward-leading broadband infrastructure.”


Valley Vision

Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium

May 18, 2017


Incorporating Public Health Considerations in the Local Government Planning Process

In This Episode:

02:40 Co-host Paul Zykofsky is introduced.
02:48 Guests Miguel Vazquez and Erik Calloway are introduced.
03:10 Miguel tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
04:13 Erik tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
05:02 Erik describes ChangeLab Solutions.
05:41 Miguel describes the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH).
09:09 Miguel shares about the National Healthy Communities Platform.
09:44 Erik expresses why there’s a need for a National Healthy Communities Platform.
11:13 Erik evaluates the state of the healthy-communities movement.
12:25 Miguel gives his evaluation of the state of the healthy-communities movement.
13:42 Miguel identifies what he hopes will come out of the National Healthy Communities Platform.
15:04 Erik comments on the breakdowns of the social limitations of health.
15:51 Erik supplies his recommendations of how to get started to address the issues of the social limitations of health.
18:30 Miguel states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.
20:45 Erik states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.


Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests & Organizations:

As a senior planner at ChangeLab Solutions, Erik Calloway focuses on the links between the built environment and health. He conducts research, prepares strategies, and develops tools to help communities support healthy living and sustainability. Prior to joining ChangeLab Solutions, Erik worked for 13 years as an urban design consultant. He has led multidisciplinary teams on streetscape and public space design, district and corridor restructuring, city planning, neighborhood development, and downtown revitalization projects.

Learn More About Erik

Miguel Vazquez, currently serves as the Healthy Communities Planner for the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) (formerly known as Riverside County Department of Public Health) in California. Our work directly impacts the quality of life of 2.2 million people living in 28 cities and the unincorporated area of Riverside County. For the past five years, my leadership role has focused on the integration of planning and health through policy, programs and outreach.

Learn More About Miguel’s Career Journey as a Planner

Take Away Quotes:

“My journey has been kind of strange in a sense that I’m an urban planner, but urban planners typically don’t work for public-health departments. Now, a conference like the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has provided an open door for everyone to understand each other, so my boss saw that connection of public health and planning, and at some point he decided to hire a planner. So, somebody said, hey, there’s an opportunity, would you be interested in applying for it; so I went for it, and here I am.”—Miguel

“ChangeLab Solutions is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is healthier communities through law and policy. And so we work…to help communities integrate health into their everyday actions of planning—land-use planning, community outreach, complete streets. So we do model policies, we do technical assistance, and we help communities build their own capacity to transform themselves.”—Erik

“In Riverside County, we’re responsible for the health of 2.3 million people, and the statistics have shown that 63 percent of our deaths are related to mainly three major conditions: they have to do with cancer, respiratory conditions, and diabetes. And they are correlated to three behaviors—behaviors are actually given by the places in which you live, work, play, and learn—and they are how much physical activity you have, access to healthy foods and vegetables and clean water, and smoking.”—Miguel

“I think that a National Healthy Communities Platform can provide some clarity to those various sectors—development sector, planning…health departments—so that the actions that they do, they’re aware of what other sectors play, what role that they play, in supporting their own outcomes so that everybody, when they’re doing their work, can all be aligned and heading in the same direction.”—Erik


Climate X Change – Carbon Pricing Awareness Raffle – Buy a Raffle Ticket!

Health in All Policies

ChangeLab Solutions

Riverside University Health System-Public Health

May 11, 2017


Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plants, and the Impacts on Communities

In This Episode:

01:58 Mike shares information about Island Press.
03:18 Mike mentions what will be covered in today’s podcast.
05:15 Vernice identifies why the EPA was focused on regulating the emissions from coal-fired power plants.
10:50 Guest Jacqueline Patterson is introduced.
11:31 Jacqueline defines the term “urban resiliency.”
12:49 Jacqueline shares what she thinks motivated the NAACP to create the energy and climate-justice program.
14:34 Jacqueline tells of the reactions she gets for the NAACP taking on environmental issues.
15:53 Jacqueline expresses if there is a legal advantage to looking at environmental issues as a civil-rights issue.
17:02 Jacqueline tells about the NAACP’s “Coal Blooded” report.
19:41 Jacqueline conveys her thoughts on the seeming lack of conversation around the negative impacts on communities of color and people living near power plants.
21:30 Jacqueline discusses why uninterrupted energy service should be looked at as a civil-rights issue.
25:35 Jacqueline addresses how to alleviate the hardship for people who can’t pay their utility bill.
28:55 Jacqueline states the accomplishments she’d like to see in the public-policy conversation.
31:14 Mike shares what he noticed this week in the news.
32:10 Vernice conveys what caught her attention this week in the news.


Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. She has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘ s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’ s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’ s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV & AIDS.

Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.

Take Away Quotes:

“The reason that EPA was so focused on trying to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power plants is that those emissions create huge pollution issues that then create and trigger huge public-health challenges…the combustion of coal has a lot of adverse impacts.”

“Resilience, I guess in any context…would be the ability of a community to withstand disturbances, basically, to life and living. And as we define resilience in our work as a civil- and human-rights organization, we look at the structural inequities that make certain communities more vulnerable—whether it’s disasters or sea-level rise or other types of shifts—and as we build resilience, it includes eliminating those vulnerabilities.”

“Communities of color; low-income communities; women, to some extent; and other groups are being disproportionately impacted by the environmental injustices—whether it’s exposure to toxins, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, etc.—to the effect that these communities do hold these pre-existing vulnerabilities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shifts to the agricultural yields, etc.”

“The price of poverty should never be death.”


Island Press

Urban Resilience Project

NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Coal Blooded Report

Lights Out in the Cold: Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter

May 4, 2017


Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:37 Co-host Michael Green is introduced.
02:23 Mike and Michael talk about “Years of Living Dangerously.”
04:50 Mike and Michael mention the Put a Price on It campaign.
06:44 Guest Camila Thorndike is introduced.
07:22 Camila shares the origin and goal of Put a Price on It.
08:39 Camila describes how the partnership with the “Years of Living Dangerously” team came about.
12:12 Camila reflects on carbon-pricing stories that she’s heard.
17:53 Camila expresses if celebrity involvement is an advantage in terms of communicating the climate-crisis message.
21:42 Camila states her response to the question, “What can I do?”
26:30 Camila tells where people can go to connect with Our Climate and Put a Price on It.
28:33 Camila provides how she stays positive during the climate-change issue.
32:06 Michael identifies what in the news caught his eye this week in the news.
33:40 Mike conveys what caught his eye this week in the news.


Camila Thorndike has been an environmental advocate and social entrepreneur for 10 years. At Whitman College, she led the largest campus club and founded a tri-college leadership network. After graduating with honors in 2010, Camila directed outreach for a regional urban planning project in Arizona; advanced green jobs for the mayor of D.C.; worked at the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution; and co-founded COAL, a nationwide musical theater project about fossil fuels. She is a Udall Scholar, Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, Mic50 Awardee, and member of the 2016 class of the Young Climate Leaders Network.


Our Climate mobilizes and empowers the generations most affected by climate change to pass inclusive, science-based climate policy through creative civic engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“It takes a lot of education and encouragement to make sure that young people, especially, feel confident advocating for the policy, but once they’re hooked, it’s amazing what they’ve been pulling off.”

“We’re finally getting more creative in how we bring people in, and there’s nothing more powerful than story. It’s not unique to the efforts around carbon pricing, but I think the climate and sustainability movements as a whole have really gotten the memo that you can’t just broadcast facts and figures and graphs and charts—it won’t resonate emotionally—and that when you don’t have that emotional link, then you can’t expect folks to prioritize this above their grocery list or paying the bills or whatever it might be.”

“Something that young people everywhere need to realize is that you don’t wait until some magical moment—that you have this right title or the right position—to speak out on something that you care about. It is actually your youth and your perspective of being in the most imperiled generation and facing down the barrel of this gun that is the core message that will resonate and move the rest of society, and, in fact, if you don’t speak out, you’re missing this incredible opportunity which is going to fade with time.”

“…more and more people are waking up and taking action, and I think that comes from refusing to take no as an answer and doing the hard work of honing your skills and your knowledge base and, again, making use of this precious time that we have when we’re alive on this earth to advance something that we believe in, whether or not we win. The victory is not guaranteed, but the effort is in your hands.”


Our Climate

Years of Living Dangerously

Watch Years of Living Dangerously

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