Climate Activist Patagonia Clothing Chain Founder: Buying Clothes off Other Chains is Evil

Yvon Chouinard
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, back when he believed in freedom. Chouinard purchased a coal fired forge to make his unique climbing equipment. By Tom Frost –, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard thought other companies would follow his green example – but so far only “tiny” companies have embraced green ideology the way he has.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard: ‘Denying climate change is evil’
The octogenarian entrepreneur, who prefers gardening to meetings, says capitalism is destroying earth

Oliver Balch
Fri 10 May 2019 21.26 AEST
Last modified on Sat 11 May 2019 03.15 AEST

I’d like to see an end to public corporations because we’re not going to revolutionise them, we’re not going to change them,” the self-confessed reluctant businessman told the Guardian.

It is easy to dismiss such comments as sour grapes or market envy. As a private company (Chouinard remains sole owner), Patagonia lacks the investment clout of Nike or The North Face.

Not that that has necessarily restricted the plucky Californian brand, which posted sales revenues of more than $1bn last year.

Patagonia is far from perfect, however. By his own admission, the idea of a fully sustainable business or product is impossible: “There is no such thing as sustainability. The best we can do is cause the least amount of harm.”

Chouinard may have his acolytes among eco-conscious consumers, but he doubts mainstream companies are listening to his reforming message. “I used to think that if we could show that being a responsible business is good business, then others would follow. And some do, but they’re tiny little companies. But the public companies, they’re all green-washing. I have no hope that they’re going to change.

Nor does he hold out much hope for government to force big business to act more responsibly. Politicians are “pawns of corporations” says the man who, together with a coalition of indigenous North American tribes and grassroots groups, is currently suing the Trump administration for attempts to reduce the size of ancestral lands in Utah.

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Yvon Chouinard’s rant provides an interesting insight into what has gone wrong with the green movement.

When did greens start demanding the government coerce people into behaving “more responsibly”. When did they start ranting against companies owned by members of the public, as opposed companies owned by people like him?

Can anyone imagine the gentle hippies of the 70s demanding more government coercion and suppression of alternative life choices? Would Yvon Chouinard himself had said such things when he was younger?

Patagonia maintains a blog which details green efforts around the world, such as the long drive to a coal site greens had to endure in their quest against jobs and investment in Northern Queensland.

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Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 6:31 am

Nothing new here. Environmentalism has always embraced socialistic ideals.

Reply to  Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 8:18 am

While individual environmentalists have concentrated on doing what they can to clean up the environment, the movement itself and especially the leadership of it has always turned to government first to force others to behave as the leadership wanted them to. (Note: the leadership itself rarely, if ever, lived the lifestyle it demanded for everyone else.)

Reply to  Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 8:20 am

From the guy who invented “green-washing,” that’s pretty rich. This company started at the right moment to ride the “crunchy” wave of all things “outdoorsy” when it became suddenly fashionable for the Leisure Class to be seen doing strenuously unnecessary things in uncomfortable locales, requiring expensively “correct” gear to keep them from hypothermia and skid marks.

Last I looked, polyester came from oil, goose down from geese, and all this stuff was assembled in the Third World and shipped here via fossil-fuel, so this is nothing but PR to make the fashionable rich feel righteous. Hey, even those hand-forged pitons and carabiners leave holes in the mountains, Chouinard! One rich 60’s leftover phony selling to wannabe phonies, it’s the American way.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Goldrider
May 12, 2019 10:22 am


Reply to  Pop Piasa
May 12, 2019 11:38 am

correct and correct again. I climb rocks in the 70’s, his sanctimony in selling his products was obvious then.

Greg Robinson
Reply to  Goldrider
May 12, 2019 6:50 pm

Some of the stuff youre saying is inaccurate.

Reply to  Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 8:53 am

you means communism

Andy Ogilvie
Reply to  Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 10:24 am

James Dellingpole called them watermelons. Green on the outside and red to the core!

Reply to  Timothy Doyle
May 12, 2019 11:03 am

I think they have gone beyond Socialism and Communism. It looks to me like they are embracing full-scale totalitarianism. What they believe is good; what everyone else believes is evil. They must take full control of society and eliminate all that is evil.

Reply to  jtom
May 12, 2019 1:16 pm

You can’t have communism without full-scale totalitarianism. You can’t have socialism without totalitarianism light.

Reply to  jtom
May 13, 2019 1:28 am

You are correct jtom. The green movement is a false front for totalitarianism. Control people’s energy and you control them.


I want to thank all for your kind and thoughtful comments. To be clear, this treatise is not about awards – I already have several.

This treatise is primarily about the homicidal nature of radical greens, who have killed tens of millions of innocents, especially children, through their deliberate actions. It is also about the overt and covert motives of these extremists: radical environmentalism is a false front for their far-left political objectives.

The actions of radical greens are clearly anti-human and anti-environmental. They have already done enormous harm to humanity and the environment.

Radical greens have subverted climate science as a means of stampeding the uneducated and the gullible. Every one of their scary predictions has failed to happen. They have perfectly negative scientific credibility. No rational person should believe them.

The scientific reality is that increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause increased plant and crop yields, and possibly some minor, beneficial global warming. There will be no catastrophic warming and no significant increase in chaotic weather resulting from rising CO2 concentrations.

Another important observation is the corruption of institutions. The green movement has been taken over by radicals, as described in 1994 by Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace. That takeover by radical greens has now extended to universities, scientific associations, professional societies, media and governments.

Whenever you hear comments about global warming and climate change, you are listening to propaganda, not reality. The leaders of the radical greens generally know they are lying to you; their followers often believe the falsehoods, and do not have the education or the intellect to do otherwise.

This global warming / climate change mania will eventually cease, but not before more tens of millions of people, mostly children, are killed and trillions of dollars of scarce global resources are squandered on a false crisis.

Radical greens are the great killers of our age.


Craig Rogers
May 12, 2019 6:51 am

Its all just false religion!

Amazing how easy it is to deceive the masses.
REV 12:9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devill and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.

David Chappell
May 12, 2019 6:54 am

” Chouinard purchased a coal fired forge to make his unique climbing equipment.”
At least he is helping to green the earth.

David Irons
May 12, 2019 6:56 am

As a skier I stopped buying Patagonia when they sided with an enviro group against a ski area expansion.

TG McCoy
Reply to  David Irons
May 12, 2019 10:56 am

chucked what little Patagonia stuff had a long time ago-because of exactly that..

May 12, 2019 7:02 am

A perfect example of “It is easy to be a socialist when you are rich”.

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
Reply to  R2DToo
May 13, 2019 4:41 am

Like rich rock and film stars.

May 12, 2019 7:04 am

The tribe of Climate Change (international socialism) is well established. The capitalist (free exchange) tribe is well established. Which is stronger? Which is growing?

Which side isn’t even engaged in the battle?

Why doesn’t the Climate Change tribe care if Asia goes along?

Which tribe do you think Asia supports?

May 12, 2019 7:10 am

“The octogenarian entrepreneur, who prefers gardening to meetings, says capitalism is destroying earth….”

He’s a capitalist, isn’t he? Or does he just give away the stuff that he produces? If it’s freebies, Chouinard, I could use new hiking boots, preferably knee-high, waterproof and insulated. Two pairs, so that I can switch off. I’m hard on my stuff. And while you’re at it, one of those zippy Nikons that does everything for you but wash the dishes – the Z series will do.

What a hypocrite. If capitalism, which puts money in his pockets, is so evil, then why doesn’t he just stop selling his products? Self-righteous dorkwad!!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Sara
May 12, 2019 10:32 am

A typical leftist elitist who feels that no one is qualified to judge him, but he is more than qualified to judge everybody else.

michael hart
May 12, 2019 7:19 am

Chouinard may have his acolytes among eco-conscious consumers, but he doubts mainstream companies are listening to his reforming message.

That’s probably because so many of his hypocritical eco-conscious consumers are too busy trying to ban the synthetic fossil fuel-based materials his company uses in such large amounts.
For the record, I bought Patagonia fleece jacket back min the 1980’s. Expensive, but well designed and marketed for the time. I wore it for many years. The rest of the industry caught up though. They are living on past glories.

May 12, 2019 7:21 am

Is he also investing beachfront resort property like Richard Branson did just after his virtue signaling episode?

May 12, 2019 7:26 am

He should move to Chernobyl.

Reply to  Cube
May 12, 2019 8:21 am

Lots of people are. The only places that are still dangerous are areas right around the reactors.

Reply to  Cube
May 12, 2019 9:44 am

I would not mind having a full two years in the Chernobyl area with a camera, a sat uplink to send my photos to me, and a lot of patience. The wildlife there is something like 5th generation, at least, maybe more and thriving. What a place to go get real photos of undisturbed (scary place) critters.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Sara
May 12, 2019 10:47 am

Sara, check out anti-nuke journalist Elena Filatova and her daughter’s video and photo collection of Pripyat and the exclusion zone. She was a child resident of Pripyat and her father was a nuclear official at the time of the reckless incident.
Although I disagree with her paranoid perspective that the atom cannot safely be split, I admire her photojournalism skills and commitment.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
May 12, 2019 5:31 pm

Her photos are orchestrated fakes, shot early in the spring when leafless trees looked “dismal” enough. In fact, anymals and plants around Chernobyl are thriving as never before. Obviously, “Mother Nature” loves small doses of radiation.

Bryan A
Reply to  Alexander Feht
May 13, 2019 12:51 am

About the only potential negative I’ve heard about is the radiation having killed off the soil microbes that process the leaf litter on the forest floor. So 30+ years of leaf litter build up

May 12, 2019 7:33 am

From reading this, I assume that all Patagonia’s sweatshops are located in California – i.e . their products do not have to be shipped halfway round the world from Bangladesh.

May 12, 2019 7:35 am

He needs to read “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley, and give himself a reality check as to whether Ridley is right or not, after only 9 years since publication.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 12, 2019 8:06 am

Rational Optimist is a great book. A must read.

Gary Pearse
May 12, 2019 7:35 am

He’s part of a real imminent lesser mass extinction. He at least realizes a piece of the truth that nobody is really going to do anything. Schellenberger has also found a partial truth that renubles can’t do the job. Richard Betts, head of the ‘climate impacts’ section of the Met Office says a 1.5C rise will not be a big deal, no disaster. He’s getting closer to the big truth and he’s been uncomfortable with the hype by his colleagues over the past half dozen years. He’s even conceded that knowledgeable sceptics should be heard.

Honesty has that effect on those who possess the trait to a greater degree, but its unfortunately rarer than it used to be. The biggest, most robust experiment in climate science is underway, though, and I find this quite exciting. The big experiment is doing nothing.

The zealous fear this. They want to enact policy and do ineffectual things so that they can take credit for saving a planet that will do just fine without any help.

May 12, 2019 7:43 am

“Environmentalism has always embraced socialistic ideals.”

This is the most prophetic global warming documentary I’ve seen and it effectively addresses those socialist claims.

The Changing Climate of Global Warming

May 12, 2019 7:45 am

i liked it for exposing the idiocy…especially the fools driving to qld then back to canberra
funny the media sorta stopped mentioning them after the idiot woman stood behind the gate to stop a horserider;-)))

Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 7:49 am

“Can anyone imagine the gentle hippies of the 70s demanding more government coercion and suppression of alternative life choices?”

I can. But I was around back then. A lot of those idiots were communists. I am sure that Chouinard was among their number. Some of them wanted to be thought of as “gentle”, but they were just stoned.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 8:13 am

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 11:09 am

Walter, what code did you use to embed that video?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  CO2isLife
May 12, 2019 12:53 pm

CO2islife: All I did was copy the URL of the YouTube video from the address bar of my browser, paste it into the comment box on this web page, and left click the Post Comment box. The rest of the work was done by Anthony’s gremlins.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 1:19 pm

“left click the Post Comment box”

wrong. I meant right click.

Anthony: Edit Function. Please.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 2:18 pm

Actually, check that. I panicked. I really meant left click.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 8:23 am

“Liberal: a power worshipper without power.” – George Orwell

Bill Powers
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 8:51 am

You are correct Walter. The hippies back then didn’t want a Representative Republic they wanted a socialist government run by them. They wanted Government out of their Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll and into every other aspect of our lives.

May 12, 2019 8:02 am

‘Denying climate change is evil’

Is there anyone on the planet who denies climate change?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  philincalifornia
May 12, 2019 8:46 am

People who say such things seem to deny that climate changed all by itself before industrial CO2 came along. So yes, I’d say there are people who deny climate change.

Walter Sobchak
May 12, 2019 8:13 am

May 12, 2019 8:17 am

The gentle hippies was always a myth.
Yes, there were a minority who just wanted to be left alone and to leave others alone, but the leaders of the movement have always been about forcing others to be more like their ideal.

Christopher Chantrill
May 12, 2019 8:37 am

So I guess that Nietzsche was wrong when he predicted we were getting Beyond Good and Evil.

May 12, 2019 8:46 am

Pepsi: Buying Coca Cola is evil.

On another note, more than half of Patagonia’s materials are sourced from outside the US.
If these head-in-the-clouds environmentalists wish to achieve a carbon neutral world by 2025, where are they going to source the materials from? And if they want to practice what they preach, why are they not leading by example when the company as first formed?

Furthermore, these environmentalists don’t appear to be able to see beyond their nose to realise the consequences of their actions and beliefs. Patagonia, for example, states quite clearly in the above that their goal is to minimise what they source from overseas to reduce their carbon footprint. But aiming for a carbon neutral world with little or no overseas commerce is going push domestic prices sky high. Patagonia and many many others would be unlikely to survive.

D. Anderson
May 12, 2019 8:59 am

People like him not only believe they are the most moral people on Earth, they think they are the most moral people who have ever lived.

Reply to  D. Anderson
May 12, 2019 1:19 pm

Which in turn gives them the right to completely ignore their morality as long as it’s for a good cause.

May 12, 2019 9:10 am

The original 1st Generation extended cold weather package issued by the US Army in the 1980’s to replace the cold weather package that dated from the Korean war era included a Patagonia Pile jacket and a overalls. My team and several others in 10th SFG(A) operationally field tested that package for Natick Labs, which developed that package. We were oriented towards cold weather and alpine operations and Natick was just down the road from Ft. Devens where we were stationed so were the very first to be issued the stuff to test in the field operationally. Lots of changes to various components were changed and some dropped completely based on our feedback.
We were also the first to test the current ski package now issued and “eye armor” glasses both of which are now still issued. Also tested several different types of tactical boots.

Unfortunately we were not selected to test the Beretta M9 side arm because if we would have our feedback would have been strongly against adopting that 9mm POS. We, nor any other SF unit, ever gave up our M-1911A1s even after the M9 became standard issue for the rest of the Army until SF started getting their own sidearms that were not 9mm.

David Hoopman
May 12, 2019 9:20 am

A clarification: In this context, “socialist ideals” needs to be understood as, “Make your fortune, then pull up the ladder.”

Michael Jankowski
May 12, 2019 9:28 am

Just over a decade ago. Patagonia listed Nike as an inspiration for publishing its own cut-and-sew factory list, claiming “… factory list disclosure is an integral step towards changing common practices around social responsibility.”

Now Nike is a bad guy.

Shoki Kaneda
May 12, 2019 9:42 am

Another brand to cross off my list.

May 12, 2019 9:47 am

So another guy with skads of geld in the bank, soon to be, or already on the exit ramp, who realises the last shirt dont have pockets ?

It may even be that folk like this guy, and Attenborough, have figured that the only thing that reaches beyond the grave is influence ? Although thats a dangerous play as history shows that the ridicule piled upon failed prophets outlasts the reverence that those who got their predictions right attract by years 🙂

May 12, 2019 9:51 am

The octogenarian entrepreneur, who prefers gardening to meetings, says capitalism is destroying earth.
The wealthier you are the easier it is to say this.

May 12, 2019 9:59 am

I was amazed to see Yvon Choinard’s name mentioned and thought it surely must be a son or other descendant. I met Choinard, in passing, in Yosemite Valley back in the 1970’s. He was well past the forge in the trunk stage at that point with his rock climbing equipment being sold in outdoor stores at that time. I had a hundred dollars or so of his stuff. Mainly Pitons. He was one of the Uber Climbers at the time alone with Royal Robbins, Tom Frost who took that photo above was another. His pitons currently take the blame for the sad condition of Yosemite climbing routes these days. The rock looks like it’s been jack-hammered. So maybe guilt is driving him.

They were a hippy-ish group, my climbing buddy and I was just outsiders passing thru. Some of them carried LSD and other dope on climbs with them. The park rangers at one point had to break up the camp, most of them stayed at, with mounted rangers en-mass. So that hasn’t changed….heh.

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  agesilaus
May 13, 2019 5:19 pm

I remember Chouinard in my high school 10th grade history class 1953-1954. I presume his family moved before graduation in 1956, as there is nothing about him in that yearbook. The next thing I remember about him he was in Life magazine for he and his group climbing El Capitan in Yosemite around 1965. I doubt anyone in our high school would have put him on a list of “most likely to succeed”.

May 12, 2019 10:12 am

“gentle hippies of the 70s”. You mean stoned. Anti-establishment at the time, but now they are the establishment.
“We were stealing hemp ropes from the telephone company,” he recalled with a laugh

“Would Yvon Chouinard himself had said such things when he was younger?” Yes, not the “demanding more government coercion” from the government of the time, but the “everybody should think/act like this” part was there. He was part of the climbing purity, climbing ethics movement.
Long ago, Chouinard and his contemporaries committed themselves to an unofficial set of climbing ethics, which foremost mandate that a cliff be left as nature made it; for the next climber, so went the idea, there should be no evidence of a prior climber’s passage. “If you’re going up a route that’s been climbed without gear a thousand times and you’re putting bolts into the rock, you’re ruining the whole experience for the next person,” Chouinard explained. He cites what he calls the “manifest destiny idea, especially in Europe,” about “conquering the mountain and making it easier for the next person.” By such a process, Chouinard says, the magic is all but lost as cabins and cable cars are built on its slopes.

“capitalism is destroying earth” Hypocrisy? Irony? Ignorance? He is super rich because he is a capitalist. He had ideas for a ‘better mousetrap’ and went ahead by himself and made them. He didn’t ask the government to form a committee to talk about it. He bought the tools and did the work himself and got rich. It’s the American dream. Up to a point: “In 1989, Chouinard Equipment, Ltd. filed for bankruptcy protection in order to protect it from liability lawsuits.

May 12, 2019 10:21 am


Randle Dewees
May 12, 2019 10:25 am

Not much to add except when I started rock climbing back in the early 70’s Chouinard was a living climbing legend, had done some hard climbs in far flung places and was still doing some hard stuff. He, along with some other Yosemite giants like Royal Robbins, brought the “clean climbing” ethic into being. That was a good thing. Chouinard equipment (earlier Peninsula Equipment was John Salathe trademark, way collectable now) was considered pricy and worth it. Later I think because of a lawsuit the equipment segment was spun off to be Black Diamond, a pretty hardcore company that makes good gear, I have lots of BD stuff. Clothing and whatnot became Patagonia, and I lost interest in them because of the incessant heavy handed corporate preaching. My impression is Patagonia clothing is the go to choice for the not quite in the climbing scene. Good quality, blously and comfortable (sized for the Lycra Sausage), in certain crowds it is de rigor. I’m partial to Montbell myself.

Reply to  Randle Dewees
May 12, 2019 12:12 pm

I think it’s rather funny. If you look back at the old photos, before Yosemite Camp 4, the people climbing mountains wore their everyday clothes: tweed suits, ties, and long dresses for the ladies. Now the people, the ones who are not climbers, their everyday clothing is Patagonia, North Face, and other name brands. And every day, REI (still a co-op, but obviously capitalist) sends me e-mail encouraging me (and everybody else) to by the latest fashions in gear and clothing. The big money is in the urban crowd who fancies the outdoors, but who might never go there.

BTW, Yvon Chouinard, Emma Thompson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates, and all those other super rich people who like to tell us what to think — I think they feel guilty that they are so rich, and probably they think to themselves that they are undeservedly rich. They won’t admit that of course.

Ann in L.A.
May 12, 2019 11:02 am

The Patagonia catalog ranks up there with Restoration Hardware as a huge waste of resources. The catalog doesn’t seem to actually be trying to selling product, but is more a photography magazine, all misty hills and rocky streams. You really have to search through it to find a jacket to buy. There really is no reason to have those things printed and delivered.

May 12, 2019 11:05 am

Buy clothing from Goodwill — anywhere else and you don’t really believe in a climate crisis — oh, and if you drive faster than the posted speed you are putting unnecessary stress on the environment and are a bad person.

Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2019 5:34 pm

Saw this on an off road site:
Paved roads, another example of wasteful government spending.

Patrick MJD
May 13, 2019 1:51 am

Doesn’t want much does he? People buying clothes from another chain and that is evil? What’s the betting that, if he could, he would ban all other chains.

Doug Huffman
May 13, 2019 4:18 am

Y’all old Yosemite rockclimbers need to know about a burgeoning film genre, seminally Alex Honnold’s Free Solo and Tommy Caldwell’s Dawn Wall. Valley Vandals was eye opening, I was so innocent. Also Steve Roper’s book Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber (Mountaineer, 1994, 4th 2010).

Last year I visited for my 70th birthday and 50th anniversary of my previous visit. We can never go home again. Camp 4 now requires lottery reservations. Your memories are better than the new reality.

YC and Patagonia went green AFTER they became raging commercial successes. ‘Gear’ of all sorts became de rigueur at about the same time. Eddy Bauer is chichi apparel. It’s kool to carry a carabiner.

God bless y’all.

May 13, 2019 8:08 am

There are plenty of good options for outdoors enthusiasts. Plenty that don’t involve self loathing sanctimonious customer hating twits like Patagonia.

May 13, 2019 9:43 am

Chouinard is suffering in the illumination of the differences between Preservation (no impact) versus Conservation (limited impact). It reminds me of an old Gary Larson Farside cartoon – an auditorium is filled with dinosaurs looking to the stage, and the dinosaur at the podium has summed it up – the temperature is rising and we have brain’s the size of walnuts. Old frontiers fade as new frontiers and the challenges they present become apparent.

John the Econ
May 13, 2019 11:05 am

Once again, the Progressives vindicate every argument made by the right, in this case that socialism always turns coercive: The “peaceful hippies” all turned to totalitarianism after attaining affluence, influence, and power.

Steve O
May 13, 2019 12:04 pm

If people don’t make the choices you want them to make on their own, well, they have to be forced.

Al Miller
May 13, 2019 12:44 pm

Seems to be a pattern here…get really rich as a capitalist of the highest degree, no it doesn’t matter how or what CO2 creating platform made you rich, then change your beliefs so everyone else has to do what you say and must live like serfs in feudal England. Never mind the obvious and horrible hypocrisy of these statements. The bleakness of a “green” future is not for me. If you wish to live like that go ahead with my blessings, but you will be all alone in your self-important world.

May 13, 2019 2:02 pm

Ask Ol’ Yvon how he gets around the world for all his fishing and climbing and trekking trips. It ain’t by sailboat, surfski, paddleboard, rowboat, or solar-powered anything (all of which use power and raw materials to produce). As for his company: I bought one jacket decades ago, still have it, but haven’t bought or will buy anything else from Patagonia. Not when the company is as hypocritical and sanctimonious as it is.

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