Dr. Plastic Picker – A Personal Plastic-Picking Blog: Fighting Ocean Plastic Pollution One Piece At a Time
 
5 pieces picked up by one of our drplsticpickers! She was on vacation and picked up 5 pieces. Beach cleaning can be quick and easy and part of your routine.

February 26, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It has almost been 6 months now since I started this journey when I wandered onto the beach, and saw all the plastic. I just started picking up the little pieces and getting some exercise, and I began to see more clearly myself and the earth. Almost 160 bags of ocean bound plastic and over 600 salvaged items later, what makes me hopeful are those around me. Six months ago I wanted to retreat from the world after having splitting tension headaches from work and my back pain and foot pain that kept me from running as much as I used to. As nature healed me, I then saw how damaged our natural environment has become.

But as I grew in awareness and began to really see the plastic and the earth, I have also now seen the beauty of our human community.

The little children who submitted pictures to our drawing contest. Daniela, aged 11, who drew the stunning turtle that adorns our Dr. Plastic Picker Reusable Grocery Totes. A high school friend who donated his graphic art skills to help with the Vector files I needed for the bag. My sister who designed our logo. Dr. Dear Friend who has been here since the beginning and encouraged us to pick the next big clean-up date, which will be April 25. RN Plastic Picker who is as dedicated to reducing ocean plastic pollution as I am, and cancelled the single-use plastic water bottles for our clinic meeting. Done! The growing community of >500 Instagram litterpickers, ploggers, plalkers, zero/low wasters, and cigarette butt-pickers who encourage each other to clean our environment. A vegan anesthesiologist, a pediatrician who is a lover of bunnies and whose daughter studies wetlands, another pediatrician who loves butterfly bushes, a pediatrican/photographer who will lend us his studio for a big project, mommy friends who lend recipes, and on and on.

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Girl Scout Cookies. The greatest irony is that Girl Scouts are selling them, but if they eat too many (due to high glycemic index) it will make their acne worse. Dr. Plastic Picker is also our Co-Troop Cookie Troop Manager with Mom-friend Usa.

February 23, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I saw one of my long-time teenage patients recently. Her little sibling had a follow-up appointment and she was just with her family that day. Outside the clinic walls, I exercise my social awareness and skills and do not just blurt out comments. But when I enter our building and I put on my HMO badge, I am YOUR PEDIATRICIAN. I take my role seriously. I even wrote in my HMO on-line bio ten years ago.

There is no greater honor than being the doctor for your child. I take that role seriously and try to provide you with sound advice and guidance based on the latest medical research, along with common sense. I believe we function as a team (family, teachers, and doctors) to make sure our children grow into productive, contributing, and healthy members of society. I believe in fully vaccinating your children and the power of prevention.”

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My patient who is in kindergarten, eagerly telling me about her Reuse-It Club at School!

February 23, 2020

by drplasticpicker

As I go on this journey, it is really my children and my little patients leading me to where I need to go. They are the ones who immediately understand the importance of their pediatrician picking up ocean plastic. They are the ones convincing their parents to “Skip the Straw” to save the sea turtles. They are the ones who contribute all the beautiful art to our blog https://drplasticpicker.com/splash-by-daniela-aged-11-wins-our-turtle-is-our-spirit-animal-drawing-contest-reusable-grocery-tote-bags-coming-soon/, and come out to our beach clean ups to physically clean the earth they will inherit https://drplasticpicker.com/feb-office-beach-clean-up-final-results/. The children are leading this movement and know how to fix the world. They were the ones that taught me about Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees https://drplasticpicker.com/ecosians-drplasticpicker-has-always-liked-alien-like-names-change-your-search-engine-to-ecosia-they-plant-trees-you-become-an-ecosian/. So one of my little kindergarten patients told me about her Reuse-It club that meets on Tuesdays at school.

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The view from the HMO parking lot as I was leaving work. Trees were always there and the sun sets every evening. I just noticed it’s beauty for the first time in 10 years.

February 22, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It is 441AM on a Saturday morning and I am typing away. In about an hour and a half, the sun will be rising and it will be time for me to plog to the beach and pick up another bag of ocean plastic. Daylight Savings time is coming. On March 8 at 2AM, we will move forward an hour and it will be 3AM. That means on March 8, I will likely instead of waking up at 4AM will wake up at 5AM. The blogging and beach cleaning most mornings and the deep restful nights of sleep, has reset my body to be with the earth. On March 8, I am going to be fine just as I was fine the last time our clocks “fell back.”

I am sitting at the kitchen table looking at the first house plant I have ever purchased. It is a “ponytail palm” from Home Depot. Last night, we had to go shopping for our daughter’s History Day project. Her middle school friends are coming over later to have a marathon work session, and we had to pick up supplies. We went to the local Michael’s and Home Depot. As someone who has been picking up ocean plastic pollution for the last 6 months, walking into a deserted Michael’s on Friday night with the light reflecting off all the new plastic and glittery things was a bit discombobulating. I know at some point all those shiny plastic things will become more weathered plastics for me to pick up.

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Dr. Plastic Picker and Dr. Dear Friend strike again! We brought our own mugs to the clinic coffee cart.

February 19, 2020

by drplasticpicker

We are getting there. I am at 153 bags of ocean bound plastic collected, 590 items salvaged. I have written 133 blog posts and 134 Instagram posts, and have passed 450 Instagram “followers.” The Instagram is more for fun and motivation and I am not seeking more Instagram friends, but somehow everyday there are more. About 200-300 people click onto the blog every day, so some folks are seeing the less-plastic-please help ocean plastic-pick message.

But what gives me hope are the tangibles, the changes that I know are happening in the real world. I know I picked up a lot of plastic, and I know that we are close to getting our organization to agree to bring in Eco-America training to our HMO. I see more and more reusable coffee mugs and water bottles at work. We actually cancelled all the single-use water bottles for all the MD meetings, and will just send a reminder out for everyone to bring their own water. We also changed our lunch order to half vegetarian, and for everything to be in large trays and not individual plastic clam-shell containers anymore. That way there is less food waste and less plastic waste in general. And a father in clinic told me his daughter’s school has asked all parents to avoid single use plastic items and moving toward zero-waste lunches.

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Panang Salmon

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Picture provided by mom-friend Usa to help you prepare.

February 17, 2020

by mom-friend Usa (who is originally from Thailand) and drplasticpicker

Dr. Plastic Picker: Our youngest daughter is in her 6th year of Girl Scouts, and I am in my 6th year as her Co-Troop Leader. We have a cohesive and very involved troop and set of parents, which makes it much easier to run the troop. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season and all of our Cadette Girl Scouts are canvassing their neighborhoods and selling cookies. We had a wonderful meeting last Friday afternoon on Valentines, as we went over women leadership and gender inequality that still exist in the workplace. We were surprised that this topic very much resonated with them, now that they are in middle school. What followed was a lively discussion.

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Dr. Plastic Picker is so financially free! I make trash art. LOL

February 16, 2020

by drplasticpicker

If you know me in real life, you know that if I had not been a pediatrician than I really should have been a Trust and Estates Attorney or a Personal Financial Advisor. I find personal finances fascinating, because the same way folks make irrational decisions in their personal lives or in their health decisions, they do the same in their finances. Personal finance is at it’s core pscyhology. It was taken me to my 40s to realize you cannot fix people’s financial problems. Even if you draw out a personal financial plan for them and hand them essentially every detail they need to make themselves financially free, they still won’t.

But since I have become drplasticpicker, I am very hopeful! Just like my mission to save the planet, I have to do it by not telling people what to do – but rather showing them different possibilities. Most won’t listen, but some will begin their journey and hopefully end up in a better financial place.

I am hoping that I give you small glimpses into our personal finance journey, especially to our Young MDs. So here are Ten Financial Tips to Young MDs.

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A dear friend bringing joy to all of those around her. She was in Maui. This is the picture I got back when I texted her about whether she wanted to pick up an extra shift one night. LOL. The commute was too far that day!

February 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

There are those rare people in life that embody joy and happiness. They are sometimes irreverent but always positive, and make those of us who are staid middle-aged middle-managers look at events and people from a different angle, maybe even upside down! And when one of those rare people is a MD, than they are even closer to unicorn status.

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Highlands of Scotland. It was beautiful. But it is all deforested. We are lucky still in America. Let’s help the Scots by supporting rewilding Scotland, but we can enjoy our natural spaces nearby without spewing carbon into the air. This is our trip last summer. But I feel a great sense of guilt since it was quite a bit of flying. We did buy carbon offsets, but do those even work? Our family has drastically reduced our flying. Honestly, it is not sustainable and the 1% (yes us physicians) are contributing to this. Just do what you can though. Maybe that one trip that isn’t that exciting or that cruise you were thinking, maybe go visit a National Park instead?

February 14, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Martin et. al. just published this month an article that explains it all, “Nature contact, nature connectedness and associations with health, wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviors.” I have to email the HMO librarian about getting the article, because it cost $39.99. But the highlights are that

  • Visiting nature > once/week was associated with better health.
  • Nature connectedness was positively related to eudaimonic wellbeing. I had to look up eudaimonic, it means “a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.”
  • Nature connectedness was positively associated with pro-environmental behaviors.

This explains it all. I sometimes was unsure if I was going on the right path, but this is my path. I need to lead people to the beach to experience nature and also to clean the earth. I will try to pick our next dedicated beach cleaning soon.

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Introducing Harish Joshi, CleanupGuy and Litter Picker and community organizer and overall great-teenager from Nepal. He is now part of @drplasticpicker (until he gets his own blog going but we hope he stays) and will be blogging regularly every Thursday at “Harish Joshi: Thursday Trash Reflections from Nepal.”

February 13, 2020

by Harish Joshi

Hello! My name is Harish Joshi. I am from Nepal. I am 18 and a high school graduate. This is my first blog which is about my journey of environmental activism.

Like many of us, I sometimes used to think about the environment in my childhood. But these thoughts used to fade away after a while. There is no proper waste management system in my village. When I used to study in grade 9, I made a dustbin in my house for the first time. There aren’t much dustbins in the towns. The condition is worse in villages. People are not much aware about pollution here. But slowly this is changing. This is the current situation here.

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