December 2019 – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Month: December 2019

I always find money on the beach. $8 that I donated by buying food for the local foodbank.

December 31, 2019

by drplasticpicker

I want to coin a new term. If I blog about it enough, perhaps it will gain traction and enter into the internet/instagram/English speaking lexicon. FISE – Financial Indepedence and Save the Earth. FIRE is well established. It’s Financial Independent Retire Early. I used to follow these FIRE blogs religiously about 15 years ago, when they were just getting started. I’ve been reading 3 bloggers pretty regularly, Retireby40, LenPenzo.com and Mr. Money Mustache. I read intermittently Financial Samurai as well. These financial bloggers pretty much just talk about their lives, how they spend their money, how much they save, and then all of them (except LenPenzo) left the workforce. Mr. Money Mustache is actually a closet environmentalist. He is probably the most popular of the FIRE bloggers. These bloggers all make money off their blogs through advertisements, links to financial planning services, links to credit card offers.

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Super cute personalized hydroflask belongs to Lead RN.

December 31, 2019

by drplasticpicker

Today I had great fun subbing in at one of our other pediatric clinics. Someone needed to be on sick leave, and I moved myself from my home clinic to our “sister” clinic. It usually does not make sense to move a paneled doctor to another clinic, because a paneled doctor has their 2000 patients to care for. But in this case, we were stealing from Peter to pay Paul and evened out the staffing numbers. One of my patients found me but otherwise I was seeing other people’s patients. I don’t mind so much because I need to check in with the other physicians and nursing staff as a middle manager. It’s fun once in a while to sit at someone else’s desk and have a different lunch routine.

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December 30, 2019

by drplasticpicker

This is the fourth post in this series. Since ocean plastic picking, I now spend a few minutes every day to dissect out what other easy actions our family can make to help the environment. I am still not sure who is reading this blog but the pageviews are steadily trending up. Discovering this joy of writing has been a Secondary Net Personal Positive for me. This series is not that popular per the Google analytics but probably the most important for the environment. The physical act of collecting ocean plastic has motivated me to make other changes in my life. And then with this monthly blogpost, I have to be accountable for 15 changes. I never take double credit, so the environmental moves for the Christmas holiday I posted on “How Did Our Greener Christmas Go? 10 Ways We Changed” https://drplasticpicker.com/how-did-our-greener-christmas-go-10-ways-we-changed/ – I did not account for again. So this is my summary for December 2019 and changes I made for our family and the Net Environmental Positives. I try to list from greatest environmental impact to least, but it is kind of subjective.

List of 15 Secondary Environmental Net Positives (December 2019)

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Overflowing trash receptacle from a random vacation rental. Photo credit by drplatsicpicker.

December 29, 2019

by drplasticpicker

It has been hard to silence the siren call of consumerism during the holidays. But on December 7, I declared on this blog “My plans to have a GREENER Christmas season,” and listed concrete actions we were planning on taking https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-is-not-judging-anyone-my-plans-to-have-a-greener-christmas-season-just-do-what-you-can/ So how did our family do? The above picture is of a garbage bin I snapped while Mr. Plastic Picker was driving around lost. I only picked up 5 plastic bottles and 2 aluminum cans during our Christmas vacation trip. I focused mostly on reducing our trash footprint while we were is Utah’s beautiful aspen forests. It is so easy to be wasteful on vacations. We tried to treat this vacation destination like our own home and continued our waste reduction efforts.

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Park City, Utah. We drove from So Cal. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 27, 2019

by drplasticpicker

Our family cooked again! Thanksgiving was the first time we attempted a holiday dinner and it was a big hit. Our family of four cooked for ourselves and my parents. Expectations were low, and my mother had a back-up meal ready, but we did a good job with a small 7 pound herb-butter turkey, boxed stuffing, salad, french baguettes and two kinds of home-made pie https://drplasticpicker.com/cooking-a-turkey-saved-money-used-less-plastic-and-finally-felt-at-home/ We tried to minimize food waste with a semi-traditional dinner, but still had enough to make Turkey Soup that fed us for another few meals https://drplasticpicker.com/turkey-soup-how-can-homemade-soup-save-money-time-family-and-the-earth/. I took my mom’s back-up meal home and we had it later that week.

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A less-plastic-life means eating more fruit with peel. I bring it in a cloth napkin. An apple for myself, and one for each child. An apple a day (5g of fiber!) truly can keep the doctor, constipation, and tension headaches away!

December 26, 2019

by drplasticpicker.com

I have been a middle manager now for 2.5 years. In our organization my position is a 6-year-term, so I am 41% of the way through this term. For about 2 years, I had tension headaches (80% of the time as a middle manager). I had never had many headaches before I became a middle manager, and since becoming drplasticpicker about 4 months ago – my tension headaches are gone (0% of the time as drplasticpicker).

I want to emphasize that before going into middle management, I had gone through the gauntlet of medical training with children and had never had any headaches. Sometimes the stress of moving up the professional ladder can be too much.

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Aspen trees in Utah. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 25, 2019

by drplasticpicker

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.

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Dr. Gustafson is somewhere in there! A fun photo from our group’s virtual medical center.

December 24, 2019

by drplasticpicker

Today, I was humbled to be published in KevinMD https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2019/12/how-ocean-plastic-picking-made-me-a-better-pediatrician.html which is the top social-media site for physicians. I am humbled because I am surrounded by amazing colleagues who are talented and also environmentally minded. I feel lucky to live and work in this community. Part of the reason I blog is to show the world this microcosm of goodness exists and we are fighting for the environment. Thank you KevinMD for shining your spotlight on what we are trying to do.

The irony is that this blog is supposed to be semi-anonymous as all pediatricians can be Dr. Plastic Pickers or super-heros in their own communities. Well today, I wanted to continue our weekly series of interviews with pediatricians who are children-advocates and also advocates for the environment. I cannot think of anyone more suited than Dr. Jill Gustafson. She is literally somewhere in the photo as a semi-anonymous superhero.

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Our 3 impossible burgers with 2 reusable cups. We drank tap water! Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 23, 2019

by drplasticpicker

It’s 6am and my circadian rhythm is set and drplasticpicker is up! I am an early riser especially now that my sleep is more restful. Our family is in Las Vegas for a brief night at the New York New York hotel. When the plastic picker children wake up, we will head out and drive to our final vacation destination. We decided to drive rather than fly, as we take the climate crisis seriously. Mr. Plastic Picker is driving our trusty red Prius which averages 50 MPG on the highway. We don’t need to rent a car when we get there! Ca-ching ching! The 1500 mile round trip from our home to our mountain destination would have expelled 1.12 tons of carbon if we had flown, instead we will contribute 0.23 tons of carbon. Driving expels only 18% of the carbon of an equivalent flight according to carbonfund.org since we have four in our car. And this adventure of environmentalism has given us new experiences. Let me describe how choosing to drive and not fly made the Impossible Burger possible, but reminded us the home-cooking is best for our health and the environment.

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Plastic lanyard and celebratory plastic thingamigiggy. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 21, 2019

by drplasticpicker

This post is 1 week late, but better later than completely forgotten! Having to be accountable to our blog readers is great. There are so many made-up tasks we have given ourselves in life, but at least the tasks I have assigned myself through drplasticpicker.com have environmental positives. We are about to leave on our road trip from Southern California to Utah. This trip will entail a different series of blog post – so I want to mentally close out what happened in Newport Beach. Plus, my mother-in-law (who I love and respect) is annonying me slightly and writing is a good way to let off steam. Mr. Plastic Picker’s parents live with us and we get along 99.9% of the time, but it’s been 15 years and once in a while my mother-in-law and I will annoy each other.

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