11-27-19: Five Reasons to be Hopeful
November 27, 2019
Yes there is gloom and doom. There is an existential crisis, and carbon emissions have peaked yet again. But sometimes it does not help our cause to be sad. Personally, I need hope to be able to trudge along and continue doing what I am doing to fight ocean plastic pollution. So on Wednesdays, I am going to start 5 Reasons to be Hopeful. Wednesday is a hopeful day, because every hour you are closer to the weekend and getting past the “hump day” as we say in the office. And I want to give myself and my readers some reasons to be hopeful for the environment so we can make better earth friendly decisions and not be paralyzed by fear. We should not delude ourselves that “greenwashing” actions are enough, but neither should we stop trying.
- Hope for the Northern White Rhino: Amani a southern white rhino at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park gave birth to the 188th rhino baby this week, but this is also only the 2nd rhino baby to be conceived by artificial insemination. This gives hope that the Northern White Rhino may be able to be brought back with southern white rhino surrogates.
- Four Fellow Plastic Pickers: The last two days, two separate people came up to me on the beach with large pieces of plastic they picked up and asked if they could deposit it in my bag. I looked up surprised when they talked to me. When I am plastic picking, I am in my zone. But after being initially startled, I smiled and said a loud “Of course!” and “Thank you for picking that up!” This is the first time in 3 months anyone has ever approached me. Also the last two days, I saw two other humans with bags picking up plastic not part of an organized clean up. A young man in his zone with headphones. I waved hello to him. And another older gentlemen cleaning on the hill down to the surfers’ beach. I said a bright “Thank you!” and waved to him, and he smiled and waved back.
- Our Hospital Cafeteria switched to Paper Take-Out Containers: Mr. Plastic Picker picked up lunch for our children from the hospital cafeteria. They are on school break and old enough to be home for a few hours by themselves. Yes I know this is sad, but it is the reality when both your parents are working clinicians that your dad sometimes picks up lunch on the go. He usually gets a lot of salad for them. Today, it was in a sturdy paper Take-Out Container! Paper yeah!
- Kenyan Women are Successfully Saving Coral Reefs: I follow a lot of the environmental related news. The Guardian reported that coral reefs along the Kenyan coastline have rebounded with fish, octopuses and lobsters after a team of 250 from the Wasini Beach Management Unit (150 of whom are women) began raising coral fragments in coral nurseries and replanting them. The women are also restoring fish populations by cultivating seagrass, and replanting the seagrass on the ocean floor. The transplanted coral has a survival rate of 75%, and 80% of the community now can rely on ecotourism (from previously 30%) for their livelihood https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/26/lobsters-and-octopuses-are-back-kenyan-women-leading-coral-reef-revival-wasini-island
- Our Own Save the Persimmon Tree Campaign: I checked in with my nursing friend, who is trying to convince his sister to keep her beautiful and productive Persimmon Tree. My nursing friend is aware of all the efforts of our community via Instragram and Facebook and this blog. He is hopeful his sister will agree to keep the tree, and expects to bring some fruit back for the clinic and more pictures on Monday. Let us send positive thoughts to our RN friend https://drplasticpicker.com/save-this-persimmon-tree/ that he can save that tree which will have so many benefits for the world and that family. Here is another story about persimmons https://drplasticpicker.com/a-rainstorm-persimmons-and-childhood-friends/
- 240 Plastic Plates Averted: I know I said five, but I have to sneak this one in! I won’t take double credit for this one in my November Secondary Environmental Net Positives. I continue to be a reluctant but very effective middle manager. After middle managing for a few hours, and dealing with credentialling/scheduling/personel issues with our schedulers and administrative staff (our chief is out of town). I said to our lead administrative person, “Last thing XXX. Do you mind asking the place where we order the monthly breakfast, if they can give us paper instead of plastic/styrofoam plates? Tell them the assistant middle manager is obsessed about plastic and it is really bothering her.” And just like that, she replied on the internal instant messaging system, “No problem. I’ll let them know.” And just like that 20 plates for the monthly meeting for 12 months, equals 240 plastic plates averted for the year.
Five (no six!) reasons to be hopeful this Wednesday, 11-27-2019. A large reason I started this blog was for myself. I get scared at times about the environment, and I need to know where I am going. Like any big task, if you break it down into small parts – it can be done. I look back on my notes just for this month and with still 4 days left – I have already collected 27 bags of ocean plastic and collected 104 salvagable items and deployed back into the economy via recylcing, reusing or gifting. Since starting, our family has donated strategically the same amount we would pay for a high-end “fitness” programs and instead saved in total 590 acres of Peruvian rainforest and 150,000 existing trees. That is just one person after less than 3 months. Imagine what we could do together over the course of several years. Friends, lets keep on going!