12-25-19: Christmas and Five Reasons to be Hopeful
December 25, 2019
I am sitting at 610 AM and our two children are safely asleep in their rooms, and Mr. Plastic Picker is probably in stage 3 REM as well. I have always been an early riser and enjoy these quiet mornings to blog. It is time for Hopeful Wednesday and it is also Christmas. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas today, and also Happy Holidays to those who celebrate other traditions. I think we can all agree to love the Earth. I included a picture of Aspen Trees we snow-shoed through yesterday. Aspen are living connected trees, one large organism that are clonal and share a root system. Walking among them yesterday, I saw them dance and sway together. It was beautiful and I am renewed to continue this journey of plastic picking and environmentalism for as long as I have left on this beautiful planet.
Wednesday are so helpful for me, as it enables me to reassess where I am as one person who is busy raising children, working and not much different than anyone else. One person and in 4 months what have I been able to do? 110 bags of ocean plastic pollution collected, > 500 items salvaged from the beach and gifted/donated/reused, 82 blog post published, donated $245 directly but given strategic matching became $895 and preserved 1,314 acres of Peruvian rainforest and Kenyan range lands and preserved 150,000 trees. Organized 1 office beach clean up, and not to mention all the secondary environmental net positives and also the domino effect on others in our shared community. Featured in our local paper the PB Monthly, featured in KevinMD and had 47 shares of “How ocean plastic picking made me a better pediatrician,” and now 150 instagram followers.
I want to emphasize that I have done this is the same time and money I used to devote to Weight Watchers. Everyone asks me “how do you have the time?” My answer is that we all squander a lot of time on unimportant things. Literally the time I used to spend reading about the Kardashians and politics and using my Weight Watchers app, I now spend on the environment. And my weight has been stable, and I feel better with better balance, strength and my clothes fit. So here we go!
Five Reasons to Be Hopeful
- Less Cigarette Butts and Vaping Pens!!! On Monday, December 23, 2019, legislation was signed that raises the minimum age to buy tobacco in the US to 21. This means less cigarette butts and vaping pens hopefully on the beach. Also better health for our children.
- Saving Wetlands Gives Us Hope: The summer after ninth grade, I spent a glorious summer taking Marine Biology at the then Chula Vista Nature Interpreter Center now Living Coast Discovery Center https://www.thelivingcoast.org/. We learned about sea urchins, fiddler crabs and bird watching. That is back when public schools were well funded and anyone could take enrichment classes in the summer. Wetlands provide an important tool to battle climate change. The Marine Biological Laboratory recently reported that “We found even though sea level will continue to rise at different rates, sediment accrual rates in coastal wetland will outpace sea level rise,” says MBL Ecosystems Center scientists Jim Tang as published in Nature Communications. That’s a win for all wetlands and why these beautiful places need to be saved. I am an active supporter of Rewilding our local marshlands which has been dredged in the early 1900s. Click here to read my poem about it https://drplasticpicker.com/the-earth-whimpers-where-there-once-was-a-marsh/.
- Scotland’s Red Kite Population Growing: I saw this news on BBC Earth, which is very uplifting if you every need to escape politics. The red kite is a native bird of prey in Scotland and became extinct in the late 1800s due to sporting, taxidermy and egg collecting. They were completely gone from this nature range for 100 years. They have now rebounded in Scotland with the methodic reintroduction of mating pairs in various locations. They provide a boost to local economy through eco-tourism, and much happiness to humans who now hear their calls again http://www.scottishraptorstudygroup.org/redkite.html
- Norway’s Parliament Withdraws Support for More Oil Drilling: As reported in the Independent, Norway’s parliament surprisingly withdrew support for explorative drilling off the Lofoten islands in the Arctic, which are considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There are thought to be 1-3 billions of barrels that they are keeping in the ground for now https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/norway-oil-drilling-arctic-ban-labor-party-unions-a8861171.html.
- The Children Care: We are here visiting family on Mr. Plastic Picker’s side in Utah. I told some of the adults about drplasticpicker, self-deprecatingly but half-serious. As with many adults, I am not sure if they listened. They were curious as to why we drove instead of flying. Mr. Plastic Picker kind of brushed it off and said we were doing it for convenience. The other adults left to run an errand together and often as the pediatrician-aunt I am left to babysit nephews/nieces and my own children. I admitted to the children when the other adults were gone, that we drove 2 days to get here “because it’s better for the earth.” All the children understood. The youngest said, “I was at the climate strike in New York. I met Greta Thunberg.” And then my eyes widened, and I asked her to tell me all about it.
So drplasticpicker continues to be hopeful and moving forward step-by-step! I am hopeful because you may have read this blogpost which means you care as well. Please feel free to comment. Let me know about what makes you hopeful. We should go plastic picking together!
Click here to read the first Hopeful Wednesday post of the year 2020! https://drplasticpicker.com/1-1-2020-happy-new-years-and-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful/