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: June, 2017
Jun 29, 2017


Adjusting to the Rapid Pace of Change

In This Episode:

02:20 Guest Carl Guardino is introduced.
03:03 Carl talks about what is being done to stay relevant in technology and innovation.
05:45 Carl describes what leaders can do to be resilient and to continue to come up with innovative ideas.
08:05 Carl informs us if this administration’s tax reform proposal is where we need to go in response to the changing economy.
09:06 Carl shares if this administration is more responsive in terms of listening to the business community.
12:34 How has congestion impacted business in Silicon Valley, and how have you responded?
16:34 How are you addressing the housing crisis, and how is it impacting local businesses?
18:40 Carl speaks about the region’s response to the evolving workforce.
21:41 Carl shares what cities can do to retain and attract businesses.
25:10 Carl describes what current leaders should do to prepare and what types of innovation are on the horizon.
27:21 Kate shares what caught her attention during Carl’s interview.
28:28 Mike supplies what caught his attention.
29:14 Kate mentions what she noticed this week in the news.
33:15 Mike talks about what he read this week in the news.

Guest and Organization:

Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley’s most distinguished business and community leaders, is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents nearly 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers.

In February 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Guardino to a four-year term on the California Transportation Commission, and he has been reappointed twice by Governor Jerry Brown. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardino has championed a number of successful ballot measures, especially in the areas of transportation and housing.

Guardino was born and raised in San Jose and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus. Carl is married to Leslee Guardino. In their spare time, they compete in marathons, triathlons, and duathlons.

Take Away Quotes:

“What we try to explain to executives constantly is, we have a choice as executives: we can be engaged, or we can be enraged. And it’s much more productive and positive to actually be engaged with policymakers making incredibly difficult decisions in their difficult processes. And we, again, try to remind executives, if you’re just going to sit on the sidelines and be frustrated and wring your hands, not only are you not going to be successful in explaining to policymakers the ramifications of a product or services, but you are probably going to end up as dinner rather than at the dinner table when those decisions are made.”

“It has been since 1986 — 31 years ago — since our federal government has made major changes in federal tax law. Thirty-one years ago. eBay didn’t exist, PayPal didn’t exist, Google didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t exist…Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft — none of those companies even existed let alone a twinkling in our eye of the technologies that they would be creating, and the tax laws haven’t changed in a major way in this nation for three decades.”

“In the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, when we ask individuals about the concerns they talk about in their living rooms, or we’re asking CEOs and senior officers about the concerns that they face as companies here in the region in their boardrooms, the common themes are the same, and they’re the flip side of the same coin: housing and traffic.”

“When it comes to education, we always try to remember in Silicon Valley, it’s cradle through career; from the moment we’re born to the moment we retire, we have to focus on education.”


Silicon Valley Leadership Group


Jun 22, 2017


The People's Climate March, the Economy, and Policy Making

In This Episode:

01:40 Vernice Miller Travis is introduced.
02:14 Vernice tells about the Climate March.
04:50 Vernice gives her thoughts regarding the amount of press coverage of the Climate March.
07:23 Vernice describes the impacts of the various recent marches.
10:55 Is there evidence of impact on the direction the government is taking?
12:13 Vernice shares if there will be a change for various groups who have overlapping agendas but who don’t work well together.
16:58 Are we doing enough to overcome “tribalism”? Or are we working with other “tribes” just because it’s expedient?
25:35 Mike speaks about the modern economy.
26:48 Vernice talks about the possibility of future climate marches.

Guest and Organization:

Infinite Earth Radio Co-host Vernice Miller Travis is a nationally recognized expert in brownfields redevelopment, community revitalization, collaborative problem solving, multi-stakeholder design and planning and environmental justice.

Her interests have focused on economic and environmental restoration and the inclusion of low-income, people of color and indigenous communities in environmental and economic decision making at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels. Vernice enjoys listening to and singing gospel music, visiting her family in the Bahamas, traveling with her husband, and eating Maryland blue crabs and barbecue.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s an initiative that is training young people, particularly young women of color, to run for elective office…it’s really to get a new generation of people engaged in the electoral process and to really put themselves out there, because a lot of the hard-core politics of our country, particularly the electoral national politics, have really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and really pushed a lot of good people away from ever thinking that they may run for office, whether it’s a local school board or a county council or a planning commission or, certainly, any higher office than that. People like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that;’ but if they’re not a part of that, you get folks in office, making decisions that actually adversely hurt people.”

“You cannot continue to operate and try to affect national policy by representing the top 10% of wage earners and mostly affluent and middle-class white communities—-those are not the only communities in the United States—-and if you want to have broad-based impact, you’ve really got to reach a much broader, much deeper constituency that really is activating and doing things and trying to drive change in their local communities.”

“We talk about shutting down coal-fired power plants, but I don’t hear any environmentalists talking about what happens to the people who work in the power plants, or who work feeding the stock digging the coal.”

Jun 15, 2017


The Future of Cycling as a Mode of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:59 Guest Carlton Reid is introduced.
02:49 Carlton explains the history of the bike boom.
07:24 Carlton tells why there was a bike boom in the early ’70s.
09:18 Carlton talks about cycling as a mode of transportation, not just for recreation.
10:32 Carlton informs us of the degree to which bicycling is popular in the U.S.
13:07 Carlton addresses the percentage of modal sharing in the Netherlands compared to the U.S.
14:34 Carlton discusses having the bicycle infrastructure be more favored than the auto infrastructure.
19:58 Carlton mentions his support for cycleways.
22:05 Carlton gives his thoughts on the unpopularity of cycling among women, ethnic minorities, and the urban poor.
24:21 Carlton addresses Mike’s comment about the trend that may reverse the number of cars on the road and individual car ownership.
27:20 Carlton answers the question, what is the future of biking?

Guest and Organization:

Carlton Reid is executive editor of BikeBiz magazine and is writing a book about the recent history of roads. He is author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars and Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. He also writes adventure travel articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian – his forte is cycle touring. Founder and rider-manager of the first ever British mountain bike team – which competed in the World Championships in France in 1987 –Reid was inducted into the MBUK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008, one of the first 20 inductees. He has ridden solo in the Sahara and Kalahari deserts and, from his mountain bike in 1994, he researched the first guidebook to Lebanon since the end of that country’s civil war.

A digital native, Reid’s then one-man website tied for second with in theEuropean Online Journalism Awards of 2000. Working for the Bicycle Association of Great Britain he also commissioned the world’s first cycle-specific 3D satellite navigation, which has since been through a number of upgrades and can now direct cyclists on bike paths via beeps and wrist-buzzes on the Apple Watch.

Take Away Quotes:

“I would say the book is very much more interested in the advocacy side of cycling, the getting around as an everyday form of transport form of cycling, because at the end of the day, that’s actually what keeps cycling afloat.”

“Cities who want to increase their cycling modal share have, pretty much, got to bite the bullet and restrict the use of motoring.”

“It’s inescapable that many communities don’t see the bicycle as an aspirational form of transport; it’s very much the opposite of an aspirational form of transport. The white, hipster cycling thing is a thing because it’s genuinely a thing. Cycling, for some strange reason, now is this relatively middle-class, white activity.”


Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Island Press – Bike Boom

Bike Biz

Bike Boom

Jun 8, 2017

The State of Carbon Pricing

In This Episode:

05:41 Michael tells what brought him to working on carbon pricing.
08:12 Michael addresses how people would feel the impact of a carbon tax.
10:38 How would putting a price on carbon play out?
12:17 Michael comments on the cost of carbon pricing.
13:19 How is carbon pricing implemented at the state level?
14:38 Is there a proposal in the state of Massachusetts to implement carbon pricing?
16:00 How close is Massachusetts to implementing the proposal?
17:18 Michael shares if other states or governmental entities have passed putting a price on carbon.
19:37 Michael states how close the vote was in the state of Washington.
20:26 Michael explains how British Columbia’s system works.
23:06 Michael indicates if any of the proposals in Massachusetts are modeled after the one in British Columbia.
23:42 How does Massachusetts compare with other states in relation to passing carbon pricing?
25:08 Michael addresses the concern of making a state less competitive than others.
26:32 What is California’s stance on carbon pricing?
27:42 Michael gives his thoughts on where we’ll first get some form of carbon pricing.
29:50 Michael shares what he noticed this week in the news.
31:12 Mike tells what he noticed this week in the news.


Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.


Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Take Away Quotes:

“My original goal, going into college, was that I wanted to be a forest ranger. I’m from upstate New York and really wanted to be working out and preserving our forests and the Adirondack mountains. As I learned more about the challenges of climate change, I realized that being way out in the woods wasn’t going to be enough to really protect our natural habitat.”

“If people are starting to respond to a carbon tax because it’s already implemented, then, essentially, we’re losing the fight already because what it’s going to mean is it’s going to mean more expensive reliance on fossil fuels. So for those who are not able to make the transition, or are not willing to make the transition, they’re going to see an increase in cost.”

“We’re also going to create huge market signals for renewable-energy development and financiers who are questioning whether or not these transition technologies and opportunities stand to gain financially over time. So as much as we would see a price on our fossil-fuel reliance, at the same time you’re going to see a rapid decrease in cost in other technologies and other opportunities.”

“The number-one challenge that they faced wasn’t from the fossil-fuel industry, it wasn’t from conservative lawmakers, or climate deniers; it was actually from the Left. It was various groups that were concerned about making sure that the ballot initiative was written in a way that would be the most equitable way of going about putting a price on carbon.”


Climate Action Business Association

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 70: Years of Living Dangerously, with Camila Thorndike

Jun 1, 2017


Broadband Access in Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Mike gives a recap of last week’s podcast episode.
03:53 Guest Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is introduced.
04:51 Cecilia talks about why the issue of broadband is important to her.
06:19 Cecilia speaks of the relationship between under-connected communities and Internet access.
07:55 Cecilia informs us about AB-1665, the broadband-access bill.
10:42 Cecilia discusses if she’s in federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure services in rural areas.
12:49 Cecilia expresses the role that broadband plays in agriculture.
14:33 Cecilia shares the application she sees in helping people access state government in relation to smart-city applications and open-data portals.
16:10 Cecilia states her thoughts on how to continue innovation in smart technology, without leaving rural communities behind.
17:55 Cecilia addresses the decline of retail.
22:39 Kate shares what she noticed this week in the news.
25:54 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.


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:

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an American politician who has been elected to the California State Assembly. She is a Democrat representing the 4th Assembly District, encompassing Wine Country and parts of the Sacramento Valley.

Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.

While growing up, Cecilia was surrounded by agriculture. As a youth, she cut apricots in the packing shed and helped her father in the walnut orchards in the area. She is still involved in local agriculture to this day as she and her brothers own an 80-acre walnut orchard.

Take Away Quotes:

“It was really important for me to make sure that the families had the digital literacy training. I didn’t want anybody, ever, left behind, and I don’t think anybody in a rural community, as well as urban community, should be left behind and not be able to be part of the digital age.”

“People always said, well, in a rural community, you don’t have, necessarily, an educated population to be able to take on this digital literacy. I say that’s wrong. And the problem is that you’re not exposed to these opportunities. So bringing this kind of education to the forefront in our schools, in our libraries, in our community, is really important to all of us — it helps with the economic development, it helps with telehealth, it helps with so many things.”

“We wanted to make sure that the rural communities were connected, because it’s very easy to say the state of California, 95 percent of the people had Internet capabilities, but quite frankly, that 95 percent could be just taken up with the populations of the San Diegos, the Los Angeles’, the Silicon Valleys, the San Franciscos — the bigger communities — but rural communities weren’t included in that, so on this bill, it was really important that we included rural communities had to have the connectivity the same as 98 percent as everyone else had throughout the state.”

“Many people know that I farm 80 acres of walnuts, with my brothers, outside of Winters…now a lot of the requirements is that everything has to be filed electronically. Well, lo and behold, at our ranch, we have really, really poor connectivity where we can’t even get some of the forms over to the government agencies for filings. So it’s really vital to the future of agriculture that we have this Internet capabilities. For example, many of the farmers are now replanting their orchards, or they’re planting new orchards, and we really need to monitor water more precisely. Obviously, it helps with the conservation of water, but we can do a lot of that via the Internet if we had the capabilities as some of these areas.”


Cecilia Aguiar – Curry

AB-1665 Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund

Winters, California