General Question

Highbrow's avatar

My part for environmental protection?

Asked by Highbrow (366 points ) December 3rd, 2012

What can we do to help protect and save nature? As far as you are concerned, what steps do you take to help protect the environment? What are they? How about you ? Are you ready to take action against pollution and to protect the environment ? How ?

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40 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I recycle everything, even down to removing the small glassine covers on paper envelops before I put the envelop in the paper recycling bin.

I compost everything possible; since I eat no animal products, that simplifies that.

I buy many of my daily grind clothes from the Second-hand Rose shop in town.

I throw the dirty cat litter into the woods where, I would guess, some animals recycle that as well.

I am torn about buying a new car with better emission quality and gas mileage; my car has only 30,000 miles so will compromise for a few more years.

I rarely joyride and piggyback errands.

I take books, CDs, and DVDs out of the library rather than purcharsing them.

When I do buy books, I get them used online…bad for our lovely little local book store, but again another compromise.

fremen_warrior's avatar

I try not to kill or cause the death of any living thing; I hug trees when nobody’s looking ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

@fremen_warrior: Thanks for the reminder.

I am eating way down on the food chain now…

Coloma's avatar

I live on acreage in the Sierra Nevada foothills and keep my property pesticide and herbicide free.

I conserve my driving as well, doing as many in town errands as I can on the same day.

I feed the wildlife and have a “No hunting“policy on my land.

I recycle the goose pool water to water my trees. The best fertilizer water on earth.
My geese also keep the lawn trimmed and fertilize on the hoof, er, flappys.

I bought a rotary push mower for lawn touch ups between the gardener and it doubles as an extra exercise machine too.

My neigh-bors got into my yard last night and left me several huge piles of horse poo in the driveway this morning, I will shovel the poo onto my baby trees.
I live in a green poo paradise, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep and geese. How green is my valley. lol

I don’t compost anymore as I don’t grow a big garden but all of my leftover foods gointo the woods as well for the critters.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I recycle.
I burn wood for heat.
I do not waste water or electricity.
Food waste gets fed to animals so it does not turn into methane.

All of the above are small potatoes compared to the next one:
I do not covet women who demand a large carbon footprint.

LostInParadise's avatar

I recycle, compost and take other small measures, but it does not come anywhere near compensating for the half hour commute to work. I could get to work by public transportation, but it would take two buses and a train and 2 hours each way. I don’t think that individual actions are sufficient to make much of a dent in energy consumption and carbon emission. It requires government action to make cars more efficient, public transportation more available and zoning laws to stop suburban sprawl

Cupcake's avatar

I educate myself.
I participate in community supported agriculture.
I do not purchase foods with genetically modified ingredients whenever possible.
I turn lights off.
I keep the thermostat low.
I use reusable diapers and feminine hygiene products.
I recycle.
I live near work/school.

syz's avatar

I recycle/compost/donate/volunteer.
I don’t eat meat.
I carpool.
I advocate.

RocketGuy's avatar

I renovated my home, and added a huge amount of insulation and a whole house fan. Together, they allowed us to re-use our original, small AC system instead of spending resources on a newer, bigger unit. In summer, our house is cooler than it ever was before.

Also added lots of windows and skylights (double paned, of course) to reduce use of lighting. Use CFL downlighting throughout.

Installed a reverse osmosis system to cut our bottled water use by >90%. [Tap water in our area tastes horrible.]

Been driving a Prius for the past 6½ years, so have been burning half the gas I would have if I had been driving any other 2006 car. Wife downsized from minivan (17 MPG) to VW Sportwagen (26 MPG).

Here is an interesting video of CO2 monitoring:
http://www.space.com/18737-nasa-satellite-sees-earth-breathe-video.html
We humans produce a lot of CO2, and it shows on a planetary scale.

wildpotato's avatar

I try to buy local for everything.

For meat, I go for the least tortured animal I can afford – for example, I wasn’t able to get a heritage turkey this year, but at least I got a nice non-antibiotic, non-GMO bird. I go for pasture raised beef, when I can find it. I follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Fish Guide for seafood.

I minimize my use of paper towels in favor of real towels, and whenever I have to use one I use it again to clean more stuff if it’s not totally filthy from the first use.

I take the middle seats out of my minivan most of the time to save on gas.

I recycle everything I can and avoid buying products packaged in non-recyclable or hard to recycle materials (plastics labeled 5 and 6), and overpackaged products.

I turn off light switches wherever I can.

I pick up litter when I walk in the woods and fish it out of rivers when I kayak. My fiancé and I have this game where whoever grabs the most bits of trash gets something special, like chocolate or oral sex or something.

I take public transportation quite a bit.

I do not throw away useful things but post them for free on craigslist, and I rescue useful stuff from curbs before the dumpster truck comes.

@Cupcake There are reusable feminine hygiene products? Are we talking tampons or just pads?

@gailcalled I was always told that those glassine covers are recyclable along with the paper. This is not the case?

gailcalled's avatar

@wildpotato: I was being careful. Possibly you are right. I’ll look into it when I have a minute, which is not now.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@gailcalled If your car only has 30,000 miles on it and it is newer than 2001 the environment (and you) are much better off if you keep driving it. The energy and emissions required to produce a new vehicle dwarf vehicle emission during driving.
The best you can do for the environment is to keep your car properly maintained and drive it until you can no longer find whatever media goes into the music/entertainment system.

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy: I have an app’t on Thurs. to get new windshield wipers and to ferret out the mouse nest inside the console that is generating tiny bits of white foam rubber on the driver’s side mat.

I just got a sneak peak at the 2014 Forester. I hate the new shape (slanted tail gate window) and the slightly larger (h,w, and l) size.

So, I will be planning to baby this baby, if the mice don’t devour it first.

Seek's avatar

I’m responsible for purchasing all the office supplies for our company.

All our coffee and sugar is fair trade and organic.
All of our paper products are made of the highest post-consumer recycled content I can find. This includes plates and toilet tissue as well as envelopes and labels.
Our pens are made of recycled plastic and eco-friendly ink. Pretty much anything else I buy is recycled. We recycle all trash paper here as well. And our kitchen is stocked with organic fruits.

At my home, we don’t even use paper products, except for 100% recycled toilet tissue. Everything else is cloth. My son wore cloth diapers as an infant. My car is pretty ridiculous on emissions – an 88 Crown Vic, but at least it’s not new.

We have recently gone pescatarian, and as such no longer buy meat, and any fish we purchase is wild. No factory farms.

Cupcake's avatar

@wildpotato Diva cup and flannel/fleece pads.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Coloma living the American dream, eh? (could you show us some picks of Koloma’s Krazy Kritters?)

@Seek_Kolinahr We have recently gone pescatarian, and as such no longer buy meat, and any fish we purchase is wild. No factory farms. For that you have my deepest respect, if it counts for anything.

Anyone (Jelly) who consciously chooses to refrain from eating / harming living creatures, and has respect for all living things, plants included, is in my book a real live hero, and a paragon of humanity.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

@gailcalled “Baby that baby.” Exactly! That is best for the environment, and your pocketbook.

I know we don’t see eye to eye on this issue but your mouse problem is a perfect example of why I feel they should be swiftly eliminated from any location where they can do damage. They can and will easily gnaw through wires causing electrical problems at best, or entire car fires at worst. I would use my bird seed marinated trap method and hit them hard with a dozen traps for a few days.

dabbler's avatar

I fix things.
I won’t toss something out if it stops working until I’m convinced it will never work again. And then before I toss it I might harvest parts for some future repair adventure.

With the exception of cheese, as a vegetarian I eat pretty far down the food chain.

‘Baby that baby’ Indeed. We still drive a ‘96 Saturn that still consistently gets over 30 mph.

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy; For the moment, I am using the Havaharts. I do forget to set them in the car, however, when I am in for the day.

And I will see what my mechanic finds. It may well be I change my tune.

I did buy two new Havaharts that are not bent or squished (I probably ran the old ones over with the car.) They seem more efficient. I have trapped four mice (sequentially) under my kitchen sink before I had the wits to seal the openings around the pipes with steel wool.

Seek's avatar

@fremen_warrior Thanks! I know my efforts aren’t much on their own, but I hope there are enough little helps out there to make a big one.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I truly believe that humanity has perhaps one or two more generations left on this planet. For the past 200 years or so—ever since the beginnings of modern industry—mankind has been removing carbon from the earth—carbon that had been safe and buried for millennia—and releasing it into the atmosphere. Even if we could stop all of this tomorrow, it would likely still be too late to reverse the damage. (Feel free to hate what I’m writing, but please don’t hate me.)

Given all that, I do my best not to add to the problems.

—I haven’t eaten any kind of flesh in 25 years. Growing crops to feed livestock; using vast tracks of land for grazing; generating copious amounts of animal waste…all of these things are disastrous for the environment. The lower down the food chain, the better.

—I buy recycled goods whenever possible. Nobody needs to kill a tree just to wipe his/her nose or clean a kitchen spill.

—Limit, reuse, and recycle. I use the blank backs of paper, such as third class mail pieces, in my printer; then, I recycle the paper. The goal is to use something as much as possible and try to keep it out of landfills.

—I don’t waste food. If I buy something, I make sure that I wash, cook, and eat it.

—I have a fuel-efficient automobile, which I keep in good repair.

—A couple of years ago, I replaced my heating and air conditioning with an efficient HVAC system.

—I garden with native, non-invasive plants that share a common evolution with the local insects and birds.

Highbrow's avatar

I regard environment as a matter of great significance to me. That’s why everyone should consider a bit closer how important this is for the future. On top of this, against this background, everyone can do something for the environment.
I’m well aware of the fact that our planet is a very fragile place as it can easily be polluted by day-to-day human activities or habits. Our world we are leaving in it is at stake so we should respect it but my point is : “Why are so many people destroying this good living place as we know it today?”, “What can we do”?
As a first step, by making a few simple changes to the way we live, I’m sure we can make a big difference to our lives and to the lives of our children. I don’t deny the fact that there are just bits, but if everybody does just a bit everyday, then we could achieve a satisfying final aspect out of it.
To stop this from happening again, follow my following tips : I can try to consume less as an individual, by doing things such as recycling when possible, alternative transportation ; such as bicycles. Here are some more exemples :
I can help protect nature by giving it love(=watering it enough, giving it enough water, and sufficient sunlight). I might turn lights off when I leave a room and turn households appliances when I’m not using them, no less than using canvas bags rather than paper or plastic when shopping. I can as well make use of reusable containers ; such as metal bottles for water, instead of disposable plastic or styrofoam ones. Also, I can start some community projects ; such as car pools by way of example.
It woudn’t be a bad idea to choose a home close to work or school. I recommend using resources efficiently and generate as little waste as possible. I ought to buy locally grown and produced food and protect prime agricultural areas to maximize regional food self-sufficiency. One of the best things to do, as far as my opinion goes, is to plant a tree in my yard or community every year so that this may improve the air quality of our environment and replaces one of the thousands lost each year to illegal cutting and harvesting, or development in general. I’m thinking of buying biodegradable soaps and pesticide-free produce. I may develop more of an interest in the biodiversity consequences of my consumption. Unplug chargers for cell phones, cameras, and other hand-help products when they aren’t charging could prove to be effective in the long term. I’d better ask my school district to replace diesel school buses with natural gas, or better still, with electric school buses. I can conserve energy at home by buying energy sufficient appliances, using compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs, using natural light whenever possible and using blinds to reduce heat and the need for an air-conditioner. I can reduce further production of greenhouse gases by lowering my use of fuel. I have every intention of starting a lift club and share transports instead of driving alone. I am going to buy local fruit and vegetables that haven’t used enormous amounts of fuel to get to me. I can select organic products that have been produced without the use of pesticides and fertisilers that are harmful to natural ecosystems and biodiversity. What I have also in mind is to practice green consumerism by buying environmently friendly products and refuse plastic bags when these are given to me. I have set my sights on shutting off my home laptop or desktop computer, monitor, and printer when I’m not using them.
I can do some more exercise by walking or taking a bike because cars pollute the air and this is not a good thing because if you realise we’re breathing all that air in : it certainly is a big plus point. To save my water can turn to be useful on the long term, the worst of it is that there are many people who don’t have nice clean water and nowadays we are using too much of it. Everytime I leave a room I must make sure that lights are turned off. There must be no littering because it builds up waste, because one day we may run of power stations. I can protect the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling items. My opinion is that not using cigarettes may prevent the ozone layer from depleting, this will also protect the environment. To my way of thinking, not using pesticides anymore would be a good solution. I can spread the environmental message and influence others. I can go a step further by educating family members, friends, classmates or colleagues I know. Turn off the tap when brushing my teeth is a good way to follow. Have a shower instead of a bath. It’s better for the planet. I’d better banish plastic bottles of water and invest in a water filter to purify.
I musn’t overheat my home and must install a thermostat to maintain a temperature of 16°C in bedrooms and 19°C in others rooms. I must replace ordinary lights bulbs with high-efficiency ones. I must turn off my TV, hi-fi, PC and DVD player and switch the lights off when I leave a room. When washing my clothes, I should switch to phosphate-free washing powder and never run a machine half empty.
I should think twice before I throw anything away. I must recycle what ever I can and use my council’s service if there is one. I intend to give away clothes, CDs, books that I no longer want to charities. I should use reusable shopping bags, canvas bags, boxes when I go to the supermarket instead of plastic bag that take so many years to degrade. I must choose seasonal and local products to reduce pollution produced from transporting exotic good from faraway shores.
I must buy reusable/washable nappies. I’d tend to shop ethically. I must encourage my circle to go green by using heating and air conditioning reasonably, recycling paper. Take the train for long trips, if possible, might be better. I’d make up my mind to use my legs – the most ecological form of transport – for short distances. Walking is good for my health just as for the planet!
Car pool with colleagues, friends, parents. Most car only currently take 1 or 2 passengers, which equals a lot of pollution for a half-full car. I’d be well-advised to try to buy as close to home as possible. I can convince my parents to make “green” changes in the families like buying more economical cars, recycling wastes, and so forth. I’ll spend everything wisely. I’ll join campagns of our goverment on how to protect them. I won’t violate rules or laws that will destroy our nature. I should plant trees on a daily basis, as they provide us a number of things. Instead of using petrol, diesal or LPG vehicles, everyone should use bicycles, much more environmentally friendly, just as I do. I should take public transport or encourage walking(=whenever possible) rathen than taking the car.
I must set up the selective sorting of household waste. Carpooling is the way ahead. I can use bicycle for travelling near distance. I can use solar energy and wind energy for household purpose. I resolve to plant more and more trees more than ever before. Fight is the way forward! I should keep my eyes peeled for people who do not respect nature like throwing rubbish away right in the middle of a place. If a forest is being cut down, I must protest and in earnest! I musn’t buy anything made of real fur. From my point of view, I must use rain water to water plants. I’m toying with the idea of awaring others to take some action on their part too.
My part is to help the environment by recycling, reusing and reducing waste. I’ll certainly spread the work by telling my school, classmates and beyond. I’ll remind people how delicate the Earth is and that we only have one chance to take care of it. Sure I’ll plan to make signs to tell people in my community to recycle. In our house, we try hard to reuse everything we can. We use the environmentally friendly bags to do our gracery shopping. We try very hard to take quick showers too! I can think reusable when I drink! I can slip into something a little more healthy. I can simply make the world a greener place. I may choose a greener way of cleaning clothes. I musn’t leave water running needlessly any longer. I’d be well-advised to save some of my washing machine water and gargle my mouth with a cup of water instead.
I’ll make my voice heard in my surroundings. Maybe I could clearing out old pond plants, and should remember to compost them carefully. I might as well as join an organization or an Internet group that is working to protect rainforests or wildlife.
I must think about where the things I buy come from and how they are made. I’d better encourage my parents to drive fuel-efficient cars and not to overheat our house. I will walk or cycle whenever possible, if the journey is a short one. I think that to follow the recommended dose of detergent when washing my clothes or dishes is a great idea. I should make sure I always throw my waste into the rubbish bin. I ought to eat meat free meals. My view is that simply turning off the water when I’m not using it, like when I’m brushing my teeth, can help a lot. Another way is to support an organization like the WWF.
These are my ideas on how to protect our Earth and prevent global warming. We need to work hard to find ways to help the environment. If everyone recycles, it would make a huge difference in the world. It is important for all of us to play our part in helping planet. I’m glad to do mine! As you can see, a little goes a long way!

wundayatta's avatar

We just insulated our 110 year old house. We drive a hybrid car. I ride my bike to work most days. We compost. Our thermostat is on a timer. We use a high efficiency furnace. We buy food at the farmers market when possible. We try to buy local. I’ve earned tons of points in our city’s recycling program, although I never use the points. We try to use less energy.

But I’m not sure any of it matters. The earth has warmed and won’t stop warming until the sea levels are two or three feet higher. The ice caps will melt. We’re going to have to deal with it. I don’t know if we’ll make the planet too hot for human habitation, but I doubt it. Canada is going to become a popular place. Where I live will become a tropical paradise.

If we need to reduce the heat of the planet, we’ll do it. We’ll use a technological solution. Our ability to predict how we will accomplish these goals is probably nil. We just can’t predict future accomplishments. I believe in reducing, reusing, and recyling, but I just don’t believe it will be enough.

rooeytoo's avatar

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t
good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or future generations.”
She was right—our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts—wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house—not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

wildpotato's avatar

@Cupcake Thank you; I had no idea those exist! I never received my copy of the Girl Handbook, I think.

To you folks who only eat wild caught fish – I am curious about where you got your info that wild caught equals better for the environment and/or the fish. I haven’t seen this data, and the site I reference above puts a lot of wild caught fish in the Avoid category. My impression has been that the best source is specific to each fish – but is this incorrect? Should I always go for wild caught?

@rooeytoo I got that chain FB post awhile back too. Seems to me that the problem stems more from the generation between the two referenced in the passage than from either the old guard who had no non-green options and the new guard who are trying to unlearn the ways of the explosion of non-green options which proliferated in between the two.

Coloma's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin I agree, we so called “intelligent” beings are really quite stupid and selfish as all get out, our days are numbered for certain. That said, I am the one that rescues the over populated critters, what to do? Once they are here and domesticated we do have an obligation to care for their well being. I have a blind goose, a victim of a careless fisherman, and have a PMU rescue horse next door, the sheep are efficient grass and brush eaters for fire safety in these hills and I have adopted a BLM rescue burro too.

It’s not the fault of the domestic herbivores that they are over populated and need to consume large amounts of forage to sustain themselves.
BTW….welcome to fluther….same to you @Highbrow ! :-)

dabbler's avatar

Except for one big fish farm in Spain, where they have a system well integrated into their environment, I haven’t seen any evidence of a fish farm that is by any reasonable standard sustainable. They typically feed the fish tons of other sea life, often collected by bottom trawling.
The practice of fish farming, in general, does the ecosystem no good whatsoever.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Coloma I think that we’re a suicidal species. We’ve known, for a long time, that we’re creating a world in which we can’t survive, yet we turn the issue into a political football and argue rather than act.

Kudos to you for rescuing all those beautiful creatures in need. Animal rights is my #1 passion.

josie's avatar

Clean up after yourself, and you will be doing quite a bit.

JLeslie's avatar

I try to remember to bring my own bags to the supermarket. When I forget I either recycle the bags or reuse them as trash bags.

I recycle other things only hap hazardly. I probably recycle half of what I could if I was more diligent, but I feel it is better than nothing.

The last car we bought I pursuaded my husband to buy something with good MPG, we get about 32 mpg on that car, and it is the car we use the most.

I never thought I conserved energy by washing my sheets once every 1–2 weeks and towels every 4–5 days, but a few girlfriends of mine recently told me they use a new towel every day and change their sheets twice a week? I have no idea how common that is. I even use my towels in hotels 2–3 days before changing them out. I bought a high energy front loader washing machine several years back and there is no way I conserve energy nor water with that thing I don’t think. Maybe some water, but I don’t care I don’t live in the desert. And, not even sure I save water after having to soak things so more water goes into the drum, doing extra rinses, etc, because the front loader is not satisfactory for washing sweaty, dirty, clothing. Or, having to do a small second wash of whites after bleaching a load to make sure the bleach leftover does not ruin the next load. These are complaints all my close girlfriends have about HE front loaders. Sorry for the rant.

I always turn off lights when I am not in a room.

I turn down the heat when I am out of the house. I divide my house into three zones in the winter, I actually have TYVEK styrofoam blocking off areas of the house, so I only heat the zone I am in.

I almost never drink bottled water. (I’m not sure if I can say it is an environmental thing, my primary motivation is cost and trying to reduce consuming things stored in plastic.

I plan errands so there is less driving, less gas used, less polution. Main motivator is saving money and time though.

Seek's avatar

@wildpotato

My reason for purchasing wild-caught is in semi-protest against factory farms trying to get their fish counted in the world population of wild fish of the “same” species, so as to reduce protections on wild fish habitats.

It would be like counting the Butterball breed in a survey of wild turkeys.

Coloma's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr LOL…I have a ton of wild Butterballs wandering around over here.
Dumber than dumb they are. I put out a huge can of scratch grains for them the other day and they were afraid of the pile of feed on the ground. haha

wildpotato's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Gotcha, I didn’t know about that. Thanks for the heads up.

dabbler's avatar

@incendiary_dan Great video. Sad and sobering. Similar to Surviving Progress.

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