2-5-2020: Five Reasons to be Hopeful this Wednesday
Feburary 5, 2020
The thought that any one individual knows what humanity can and cannot do in the next decade is the utmost arrogance. I know about arrogance, because I am an MD and we are all a little bit arrogant. But 6 months ago I checked my arrogance and narcissism at the beach and began relearning the true lessons of humility, nature and the power of collective action. I have seen doctors look briefly at a single “chief complaint” and by just glancing through the chart, they have already diagnosed the patient before even talking to the family or examining the patient. At those moments I have called colleagues out. So now I also call out those naysayers regarding environmental action, I call them premature. Finish collecting your data. Finish your work. Talk to the patient and family. Examine their lungs, listen and palpate. Use your stethoscope. Don’t just jump to xray. As I was taught the first day of medical school by a beloved pediatrician-professor Dr. Robert Masland from the Children’s Hospital of Boston, 99% of everything is history and physical. And our most important patient, our earth, I see small clinical signs of hope. This is not false optimist, but earned hope.
I hope you celebrate these Five Reasons to Be Hopeful , and create your own five reasons to be hopeful for the environment by making changes in your own lives or donating the cost of a gym membership to a vetted environmental organization like the Rainforest Trust.
- Britain bans new gasoline, hybrid and diesel cars by 2035. This was reported by CNN and is five years earlier than previously planned. Despite Brexit, Britian is moving more quickly toward cutting it’s carbon emissions. This will accellerate the timeline for the UK to transition to all electric vehicles, hopefully pushing the rest of the world forward https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/04/business/petrol-and-diesel-ban-uk/index.html
- The Monarch and Pollinator Highway (MPH) Act of 2019: There is hope to push through bipartisan legislation to help the butterflies. I learned about this through writing the blogpost about the Western Monarch Butterfly. As you know their epic migrations is threatened as their population has plummetted https://drplasticpicker.com/xeres-invertebrate-society-can-a-pediatricians-avatar-drplasticpicker-help-save-the-western-monarch-butterfly/. This is proposed new “bipartisan legislation to help states create pollinator-friendly habitats along roads and highways. This legislation would help address the steep decline of pollinator populations, which poses a serious threat to American farmers and the Amercian food supply.” Specifically the MPH Act of 2019 if passed would establish a “federal grant program available to state departments of transportation and Indian tribes to carry out pollinator-friendly practices on roadsides and highway right-of-way.” This is from US Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, co-author’s, website. I wrote the Senator of his US Senate on his webpage, “I am a pediatrician and resident in San Diego, California. I lead a group of concerned citizens that are invested in helping the Western Monarch Butterfly migrations. I saw that Senator Jeff Merkley wrote the MPA Act of 2019. I also am part of the American Academy of Pediatric Climate Change and Health Committee. In what way can I be helpful is pushing forward this legislation. Last I checked it is still in committee.“
- Illegal killings of South African rhinos decline from 769 (2019) to 594 (2018): World Wildlife Fund reports this news. I follow their instagram feed. Poaching of the South African Rhino is down but they remain under serious threat. Our blog has donated to the WWF Rhino Conservation Fund, as it was one of the first charities we gave to. Rhinos have a special place in the drplasticpicker family’s heart https://drplasticpicker.com/donation-round-up/.
- The Guardian Bans Fossil Fuel Company Advertising. It is a British publication that is left-leaning. I like their stories and read them semi-regularly. They write, the Guardian “will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies, becoming the first major global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels.” https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jan/29/guardian-to-ban-advertising-from-fossil-fuel-firms-climate-crisis Perhaps this will put pressure on other publications. I thought about donating to them, and in general we need to support journalism. But Mr. Plastic Picker has just started donating monthly to our local Public Radio Station. But I do want to give them a shout out! Perhaps if you are reading this and are local, consider reading and donating to the Guardian. But I think also just viewing their page helps with advertising revenue?
- Ashville North Carolina Declares a “Climate Emergency.” As reported by local media outlets including the Courier-Tribune, Ashville “has become the first in the state to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and has now set goals on warming greenhouse gases and renewable energy. Asheville City Council unanimously voted for the declaration Tuesday after months of negations between officials and young climate activists, news outlets reported. The council committed to an “equitable and just” citywide mobilization to end greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The council also agreed to accomplish already existing goals, such as switching municipal operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and the whole community by 2042.” https://www.courier-tribune.com/news/20200130/north-carolina-city-declares-climate-emergency-sets-goals Our older son has often expressed frustration at how little power the young have. I will let him know about this. It sounds like the youth there had great power to push the city to work on the climate crisis.
I am so Hopeful this Wednesday. This pediatrician won’t go down fighting, and in the end I will know that I did everything in my entire being possible to save our beautiful planet. I am into my sixth month of ocean plastic picking. One hundred sixty days of cleaning most days a 1/2 mile stretch of beach that lies along a Marine Protected Area on the Pacific Ocean. I am on my 144th bag of trash, and salvaged 577 items from the beach and deployed them back into circulation and recycled them. I have finished 3 trash art pieces, and have 2 more in the works. While wielding my hot glue gun happily making my trash art, I have also written 122 blog post and my spelling and grammar have remarkably improved back to college levels. At some points a year ago, I believe I was becoming incoherent as I was steeped in middle management work.
And now my headaches are gone and I am coherent again, and I enjoy work and my middle management job. I am a better pediatrician for my little patients, as I try to heal them and the earth and myself – as we are all connected. And in the end, that is what matters. Let’s go together and clean up the ocean and save the butterflies! Let me know if you want to join the butterfly committee. Seriously. Our other middle manager whose name starts with a J and her last name rhymes with Gong, is really really excited. She is a passionate gardener, she grows plants and grows children and grows young pediatricians. You have always known her as the more nurturing middle manager, and I have always been the fixer and picker up of emotional trash. It totally makes sense now that I am a plastic picker! Our department secretary is also excited about our butterfly committee. We have grand plans to do a group milkweed planting on an empty plot of land one of us owns! So stay tuned!