4-15-2020: Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
April 15, 2020
We are in the middle of unprecedented times, when much of the world is in quarantine and COVID-19 is a menacing danger. I am sitting at home in Southern California, and most of my department are not doing any heroics. Most outpatient pediatrics is doing virtual visits. As Dr. Plastic Picker, I don’t know when I can return to the beach to start picking up plastic again. As Pediatricians, we don’t know when we will return to seeing face to face patients or what medicine will be like after this is all over. We are blessed that for the most part children are doing okay. Rates of respiratory illnesses are down because kids are not swapping germs anymore, a side effect of quarantining. Even with New York City still in the midst of a true crisis and the rest of the country is anxiously watching to see if the curve truly flattening – I still have hope.
It’s easy for me to have hope, because I have not been asked to do much. I have tried to help as much as I can but it seems woefully inadequate in comparison to the sacrifice others are making. I have helped distribute a few thousand masks, tried to make sure my little corner of the medical world is flattening the curve, and continued to have the environment on my mind. But I have hope because from great hardship the world can change. It sometimes takes momentous challenges for us to reach our true potential. Personally for me, the greatest times of personal growth have been after great personal and professional failures. So I am hopeful that we will make a better world post COVID-19.
Five Truths that We Have Learned from COVID-19 that Make Me Hopeful for the Environment
- Female Leaders Have Paved the Way: The glass ceiling is shattering. As reported by CNN, only 7% of world leaders are women but those women have disporportionately led their countries admirably during the COVID-19 pandemics. New Zealand, Germany, Nordic Countries and small Carribean island nations that are democracies led by women have been lead by a steady hand and kept infection rates low and morbidity low. This gives me hope for the environment because as women gain proportional influence, I believe that the environment will also benefit https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/asia/women-government-leaders-coronavirus-hnk-intl/index.html. There is something to the Pacha Mamma.
- Air Pollution Recognized as a Killer: Any pediatrician who cares for asthamtics knows this. Children who live in households that smoke or in the inner cities/near freeways suffer worse asthma due to particulate matter. COVID-19 pandemic has shown that mortality is linked to air pollution https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/climate/air-pollution-coronavirus-covid.html. All the things we do to reduce air pollution will help decrease carbon release into the atmosphere and will slow down climate change.
- We can all COOK more! This quaratine has seen the rise in the sale of basic food stuffs: rice, flour, sugar, yeast and on. The world is learning that we all can cook, and pretty darn well! Even Dr. Plastic Picker made the above odd looking cabage into a delicious stew today. Between the Instapot, Air fryer and oven – there are so many ways to learn new meals. Just in the last few weeks, I have cooked dishes I have not made in months or ever including Panang Salmon https://drplasticpicker.com/panang-salmon/, roasted potatoes, cabbage and fish stew modified from the recipe attached https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-cabbage/, Vietnamese canh chua (sour soup), and played around with new vegetables like chayote. Even Mr. Plastic Picker discovered he is actually really good at Salmon, and our son made cookies twice. Our daughter cooks all the time, but has also broadened her recipes. There is so much joy in cooking at home and sharing food with family. It’s better for the earth, our health and produces so much less plastic waste!
- Economy is Reorganizing: Certain sectors of the economy are being decimated by the pandemic. Dr. Plastic Picker is going to be selfish for the environment, I hope the cruise industry which is such a major pollutor and exploits cheap labour does not recover. They don’t pay any taxes anyway. Wasn’t that a shocker??!!! We took a cruise about a year ago, our first and only cruise. We still feel so much guilt as we had no idea that these are only made possible by exploitation of cheap overseas labour. Also cruises discharge pollutants into rivers and oceans.
- Pop Culture Icons are Losing Influence: Every superhero needs a villain, and in my mind it has always been the Kardashians. My feeling was, why are my teenage patients listening to them? Why do they take up so much of society’s mental space? This pandemic has shown the world how tone-deaf and unfeeling some cultural icons are. Who cares what they are going through? Who cares if they are having a hard-time home-schooling their children? Perhaps we can name new heros like the female world leaders and the pulmonologist. Our own mayor who has done a fantastic job coordinating programs to shelter previously homeless people, so that they (and the broader) community can stay COVID-19 free. They are the true rockstars of this new world. The amount of water that the Kardashians used for the their pool during the drought drove me crazy! While the rest of us are trying to rainwater harvest https://drplasticpicker.com/rain-barrels-are-awesome-rain-water-harvesting-sounds-very-romantic/.
Thank you for following along, and I am so excited that I finished this post before Wednesday ended! Better late than never. I will attach a picture of the cabbage soup later and let you know what Mr. Plastic Picker and the kids thought. I worked all day on updating our finances I am so frugal! We had a 50% savings rate 2019. Isn’t that crazy???!!! I definitely saw our savings rate go up after I started officially plogging and plastic picking. It’s amazing that environmental stewardness dovetails with fiscal responsibility. 50% savings rate even when we take into account the donations we now regularly give to true Environmental groups! https://drplasticpicker.com/donation-round-up/
Last week’s Hopeful Wednesday, click here to read about the Giant Pandas! https://drplasticpicker.com/4-8-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/
Click here to read the next Hopeful Wednesday’s post, it was three weeks until I felt hopeful again and that was because of COVID-19. But hope came back https://drplasticpicker.com/5-6-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/