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


All Episodes
Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 27, 2017


Innovative Solutions for Resilient Water Management

In This Episode:

02:43  Guest James Workman in introduced.
03:42  James tells about his book and what motivated him to travel to Africa.
07:13  James shares why he created programming based on what he saw in Africa.
08:50  James describes AquaShares.
11:51  What measures are people taking to reduce their water use?
13:37  James addresses AquaShares’ partners and the incentives for homeowners.
16:43  James informs us of how many people have signed on to participate in the program.
19:07  James expresses what success looks like for this program and for water resilience in general.
23:05  James states where people can go to learn more about AquaShares.

Guest and Organization:

James Workman creates conservation markets for water and marine life. He wrote the award-winning Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, and is co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming Sea Change: How Fishermen Are Irreversibly Restoring Life Offshore – and On. Workman studied at Yale & Oxford, taught at Wesleyan & Whitman, but his real education came blowing up dams, releasing wolves, restoring wildfires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to dissidents, breaking down in Africa's Kalahari Desert, and becoming a dad. An investigative journalist, he served as White House appointee to U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, later joining the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela. In San Francisco, he writes for Environmental Defense Fund, edits the International Water Association’s magazine, The Source, and is founder of AquaShares Inc., the world’s first online water savings market.

Follow James Workman on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of problems, especially environmental problems, can be solved by regulation alone. You just say, okay, that factory over there is pouring its waste, its sewage, its pollution into the air, into the water; we’ve got to just put a cap on that, lock that. But what do you do with the 50,000 people who are all competing with each other for the same resource? And that’s the tragedy that…makes all, to me, conservation issues interesting.”

“The approach of AquaShares is to give people a sense that they’re not just renting access to as much water as they want, as cheap as they want, but they have an ownership stake, that they’re stewards of that water that they save, and that they can profit from saving water, not just feel good about it.”

“One of the biggest water users in every city is the city itself. There’s lots of water loss, in some cases, 10, 20, 30 percent, and while, for more than a decade or more, utilities have been pointing a finger at families and firms, saying, ‘You should save water, you should save water,’ utilities themselves had real no incentive to spend $100,000 to systematically find and fix their leaks, manage their water pressure, and address that, because it might only save a few thousand dollars’ worth of water.”

“It’s a crazy business model for me, but success is when we go out of business; there’s no need for AquaShares anymore because everyone is autonomous, they’re using the bare-minimum water, there’s nothing left to trade, there’s no more water that can go towards a higher-value use.”



Smart Markets

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Jul 20, 2017

Creating Successful Communities Through Positive and Determined Leadership

In This Episode:

  • 02:36 Guest Mayor Rey Leon is introduced.
  • 02:56 Mayor Leon describes his community.
  • 05:54 Mayor Leon tells how long he’s been mayor.
  • 07:16 Mayor Leon conveys what he would like to accomplish during his time as mayor.
  • 19:20 Mayor Leon gives the status of three projects.
  • 21:38 Mayor Leon identifies some of the challenges he faces as a mayor in a small community.

Guest and Organization:

Rey Leon is the Mayor of Huron, California. Leon is also president and founder of ValleyLEAP and a member of the Air Resources Board Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) in California.

Take Away Quotes:

“Huron is a farm-worker city. It’s got the highest rate of Latinos for an incorporated city in the nation, at the national level. And, of course, it’s a small community, around 7,000 on paper. I venture to say that there’s at least 10,000 residents. We, having an agricultural base and being a farm-worker community, we have a population that good amount of folks that are, I would say, economic refugees… It’s a community that speaks a good nine languages at least, which, to me, is amazing.”

“[A plaza is] just a magical space where you’re able to bond with the rest of the folks in your community, some way, somehow. It’s where young men, young women meet their mates; it’s where entertainment is shared; it’s where farmers’ markets happen; it’s where you do some exercise out there; it’s just ’the’ place.”

“The vision, the goal, my dream, in the period not just as mayor because it was prior to this but as we continue forward whether as mayor or just as a leader that I’ve been even before getting into elected office is making Huron the greenest farm-worker city in the country.”


“Changing Huron for the Better”


Jul 13, 2017


Carbon and The Paris Agreement

In This Episode:

03:10 Guest Tom Kerr is introduced.
03:26 Tom explains what the World Bank is.
05:00 Tom describes the kind of work that the climate change group does.
07:37 Tom tells of the change he’s seen since Kim Yong became the World Bank’s president.
09:27 Tom speaks of his work at the IFC in engaging the private sector.
12:20 Tom addresses the response to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
14:11 Tom shares his thoughts on if there will be a ripple effect from the U.S. pulling out of the Agreement.
16:21 Tom conveys if there is a financial-commitment hole that the U.S. will no longer fill with regard to developing countries.
18:43 Tom gives his thoughts about the upcoming bond talks and if ambition will be there.
21:27 Tom provides his sense of where the Trump administration is going to end up with regard to carbon.
22:39 Host Mike and co-host Michael discuss the Paris Agreement.
23:48 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.
24:31 Michael identifies what he noticed this week in the news.
25:18 Mike and Michael discuss the economy of renewable energy and the Paris Agreement.

Guest and Organization:

Tom Kerr has worked for 20 years designing and implementing public/private efforts that transform markets for resource-efficient climate business solutions. He currently leads the IFC’s private sector climate policy engagement, which involves working with emerging economy governments and major corporations to develop investor- and climate-friendly national strategies; designing coalitions to advance carbon pricing and performance standards; and providing private sector input into international policy processes such as the G20 and the United Nations climate talks.

Mr. Kerr was previously the director of climate change initiatives at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he worked with international organizations, government leaders, and industry executives to advance practical solutions via platforms such as the G20, the United Nations, and the Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos. While at the Forum, he designed and led the Green Growth Action Alliance, a public-private coalition launched at the 2012 G20 with over 60 leading companies developing solutions to unlock private investment for sustainable growth. From 2006-10, he worked in Paris for the International Energy Agency, leading the development of global reports, including the Technology Roadmap series, the flagship Energy Technology Perspectives publication, and the Clean Energy Progress Report.

Mr. Kerr started his career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, where he designed and launched a suite of innovative voluntary programs such as Energy STAR, Green Power, and methane programs that today continue to engage thousands of businesses to adopt clean, efficient technologies and practices.

Take Away Quotes:

“Where I sit is the IFC. The International Finance Corporation is the private-sector arm of the Bank, so we work in developing countries, lending to private-sector clients and helping them to find profit in development, and in my particular group, trying to find profit in climate business. So we work across the world and emerging markets to really try to tackle poverty—that’s the main mission; then, development—make it smarter; and then, in my case in particular, we try to make profits out of climate business.”

“[Kim Yong, president of the World Bank] wanted to know what the current problem was, and once he found out, he got quite alarmed and made it a top priority for him personally and raised attention externally and also within the World Bank’s priorities. So, we’ve always been doing this, but he put an increased urgency behind it and really tried to push the agenda.”

“The [Paris] Agreement is…190 plus countries making their own national commitments, and so other than the U.S., we haven’t seen any other governments come forward and say, okay, now I’m reconsidering my pledge. And I think that was also another element to this resilience of the Paris Agreement is that it’s not a top-down process where if one big party, like the U.S., pulls out it completely collapses; but, instead, it’s got all these different commitments that are from the bottom up.”

“I think the biggest worry I have is that we do need to now make good on those pledges that were made in Paris and help those countries really go from a pledge to implementation, to see shovels in the ground and money going out the door to these lower-carbon investments.”


World Bank

Jul 6, 2017


Using Design to Create Positive Impacts

In This Episode:

01:29 Guest Lynelle Cameron is introduced.
01:39 Lynelle describes Autodesk.
02:48 Lynelle shares her journey to becoming the vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk.
04:06 Lynelle discusses Paul Hawken’s new book, “Drawdown.”
05:17 Lynelle tells about the Autodesk Foundation.
06:41 Lynelle defines the term “design.”
07:08 Lynelle talks about climate change through the lens of design.
09:58 Lynelle states how the Foundation provides support to companies and organizations.
14:03 Lynelle gives examples of organizations that are working domestically on issues of urban design and social and environmental justice.
15:44 Lynelle provides where people can learn more about the Foundation’s work.
16:07 Lynelle explains how investing at an intellectual-capital level has impacted Autodesk and its culture.
19:00 Lynelle speaks to the benefit of Autodesk employees’ ability to make a positive impact in the world.
20:57 Lynelle addresses what the current state of corporate social responsibility is and what the outlook is of sustainability and equity being a part of a business’s core mission.
22:40 Lynelle supplies her thoughts on if the current administration’s roll back of the climate progress that was made will have an impact on the business community.
24:05 Lynelle makes known how people who might benefit from the Autodesk Foundation’s programs can get more information.
25:17 Lynelle mentions if there is an effort to share the lessons, or best practices, that have been learned.

Guest & Organization:

Lynelle Cameron is president and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation and vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk. She established both to invest in and support people who are designing solutions to today's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Under Cameron’s leadership, Autodesk created the Sustainability Workshop, an online learning platform for sustainable design that has reached over 2 million students and professionals worldwide, and launched two software donation programs: the Technology Impact program for nonprofit organizations and the Entrepreneur Impact program for early-stage clean-tech and social-impact companies around the world. Cameron has also led the company in setting ambitious science-based greenhouse-gas-reduction targets, committing to 100 percent renewable energy and integrated reporting. Since Cameron joined nine years ago, Autodesk has received numerous awards for sustainability leadership and innovation. A published author and regular speaker, Cameron has degrees from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Middlebury College.

Take Away Quotes:

“Autodesk is a leading provider of 3D design software that is used to make quite literally anything on the planet. Whether you’re building a car, a highway, a building, or even a whole city, there’s a good chance that you use one of Autodesk’s products.”

“The turning point for me was reading a book called ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ by Paul Hawken, and that’s when I realized to really make the kind of transformative change that I was looking for, I needed to go work from within the private sector.”

“We launched the Autodesk Foundation about three years ago, and we have historically as a company always given back to communities where we work. So the idea of philanthropy was not new for the company, although the actual foundation is … As a foundation, we invest in people and organizations who are using design to address, initially, a whole range of social and environmental challenges.”

“Design is the creation, the idea, and then the actual making of anything, quite literally, on the planet…it’s all about imagining and creating things that, in our mind, are going to make the world a better place for billions of people.”