March 3, 2024
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It’s interesting being at the intersection of generations. Mr. Plastic Picker and I had kids relatively early for those with graduates degrees. I had my two at 27 and 30, which is insanely early if you talk to most doctors. But that makes it interesting being a climate and health doctor now, because I’m at the peak of my professional career and influence with teenagers and thinking about their future. It’s so easy to be distracted by silly departmental politics or having FOMO regarding traveling to exotic locations, when literally the prospect of having grandchildren might elude me because fossil fuel companies continue to destroy this earth.
It’s true. I was with my daughter and celebrating her wonderful wins at the State Qualifying Tournament and she made finals in Impromptu and Original Prose and Poetry. Her accomplishments are remarkable and she’s in the mix to be part of that rarified world of kids at those schools who all know each other, and that can be influential. Especially as a former preemie baby, I don’t take anything about her life for granted.
But seeing her soar and win, begs the question – what about the rest of us? What about all of us in our 40s and 50s who went to those rarified Ivy League+ institutions with money and positions and power? What are we doing? We have already reached where these young high school speech kids are trying to reach, and what have we done with all that we have been given. I always remind my children that common adage, to those that are given much – much is to be expected. If I can guilt anyone of my generation to step up or ramp up their climate work, than that is actually the most impactful thing I can do. And I’ll be honest with the blog readership (and this is talking to the choir), I am vastly disappointed in a majority of physicians, pediatricians and adults out there. Obviously they don’t read this blog. But they listen to me speak. They see me parade myself around the blogsphere, and maybe even like an instagram post or two. But shame on you. I’ll be a big negative today, but absolutely shame on you. You can do more. You can absolutely do more.
When you have teens, you realize that despite the fancy dresses and despite the eloquent words – they are children. They are children organizing, and like Youth Vs. Oil – changing the conversation. And what have most physicians done? They’ve bought themselves a status Tesla and patted themselves on the back. That’s honestly what I think of most of the physicians out there.
But I have hope, because in reaching out to hundreds of colleagues, I’ve met a handful who get it. Who 100% get it. And we have big climate wins that I can’t fully announce yet. But I appreciate a certain ophthalmologist, a certain internist, a certain family practice physicians, and many many medical students and premedical students. When we are ready to announce some big climate wins on behalf of climate and health, I’ll announce it. I have to keep these two under wraps for a bit until they go through the proper channels.
Just wanted wanted the blog readership know that our teen did so well at her state qualifying speech tournament, and that Dr. Plastic Picker is still plugging away and organizing and recruiting. Thank you to all (mostly premedical students and medical students sadly) who have linked arms with me to do this vital work. And if I guilted you a bit, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. DM me, text me especially if you have an MD because there is so much for you to do, like I have a lobbying meeting coming up regarding wetlands and honestly it doesn’t have to be me. It could be YOU. I’ve been on the news and done enough public speaking that I’m 100% willing to share.
This is the true feelings of Dr. Plastic Picker. Who started off as a litter picking pediatrician. and now an eco-warrior!