5-6-2020: Five Reasons To Be Hopeful This Wednesday
May 6, 2020
We are almost 2 months into COVID-19 quarantine, and there is positive news for the environment. Flamingos blanket the mudflats of Mumbai and turtles are nesting freely on empty beaches. Initially I thought these reports were overblown, but I’ve seen the increasing number of backyard birds and my sister describes deer and racoons taking over her Virginia neighborhood. Dr. Plastic Picker has to be careful with these posts, because hope for the environment has to be balanced with compassion for the human lives loss due to COVID-19 and repercussions of the downspiraling economy. So rather than celebrating the financial losses of the cruise and airline industries, I focus on the secondary environmental benefits of all of us living through a time of scarcity.
This is the first time that many people in the middle and upper-middle-classes have had to confront scarcity. I remember after spending a summer doing HIV research in Vietnam, and coming back and walking into Costco. The shock of the abundance was somewhat nauseating. There are actual shortgages in the US now, albeit minor. Costco is limitng the amount of meat one can by, yeast is on back order, and it’s hard to find flour in the stores. Let’s not forget the early quarantine insanity with toilet paper. But this scarcity will help us value these items later. My father-in-law is always in awe of bananas and milk, because back in the 1970s in South Korea they were in short supply. I am in constant awe of water, having lived through Southern California droughts. My father-in-law never wastes bananas. I never squander water.
So here are Five Things We Value more, and will hopefully will use judiciously. This leads to less waste and a healthier planet. Here are Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday, 5-6-2020
- Toilet Paper: We must start off with toilet paper. I think everyone blogged about toilet paper including myself https://drplasticpicker.com/who-gives-a-crp-toilet-paper-coming-get-ready-for-covid-19-a-message-to-my-patients/ . I will never look at a square of toilet paper quite the same. I hope that less trees will be cut down to produce it as more folks change over to bidets and just use less TP when the need arises.
- Board Games: I think the entire world is playing more board games . We had a stack of board games that we have collected over the years, and at times I have thought about donating them or tossing them. But now that stack of board games is special. Scrabble, Pictionary, Monopoly and our deck of cards has provided our family lots of quarantine entertainment. My daughter and I regret losing Life, as that would have been a lot of fun to play during these times. I believe everyone is playing the board games they have. These games will carry a special fondness for all of us who played them.
- Masks: There are many disposable masks littering the streets. But many beautiful reusable masks have been made. N95 masks are precious. My hope is the methods to decontaminate N95 remain in use after this pandemic. No matter how long we will need the masks that we have, I will cherish the ones my sister made us and store them away. We will be ready for the next pandemic. I believe bandanas and neck scarves hold more value now.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Running to the grocery store just to grab more strawberries is just dangerous now. We have had to pause and think, do we actually need that item enough to risk an additional exposure? Mr. Plastic Picker and I are essential workers in medicine, so we already have exposures at work. This makes us even more careful outside the home. But now, we have a greater appreciation for the vegetables and fruits that are in our garden. I have also seen many friends take up gardening or expand their existing gardens. Hopefully this love of gardeninig will define the 2020s. It has been wonderful to eat the fruits and vegetables from my mother-in-law’s garden because it saves us from having to rush to the grocery store. Pictured below is a purple kohlrabi that belongs to the brassica family. It can be made into a fritter, or eaten raw with some salt and pepper. It is from our front yard.
- Nearby Nature Areas: I have noticed on my personal facebook that many are discovering the beautiful places that are near them. Since we are only able to walk outisde for exercise, people are venturing on foot sometimes 1-5 miles from their houses. One highschool friend who lives on the outskirts of London, discovered Crane Park Island Wildlife Preserve. He posts beautiful images of leafy walks. Rather than frequently traveling all around the world, perhaps this will remind us to protect the natural places that are in our own neighborhoods. My hope is that we become better stewards of the rivers, beaches and forests near each of our homes.
These are the Five Reasons I Hopeful This Wednesday. These are five things that have become more valuable druing quarantine, and hopefully we will value them more and not waste them. Preventing waste is an important way to combat climate change.
Click here to read the next Hopeful Wednesday installation, I skipped one week because I was sad. But on 5-20-20, I was indeed Hopeful! https://drplasticpicker.com/5-20-20-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/