6-17-2020: Five Reasons To Be Hopeful This Wednesday
June 17, 2020
One of the most powerful things that has happened to me during this journey of becoming Dr. Plastic Picker, is that I’ve been able to now reframe my tasks. I used to feel so busy, always so overwhelmed. Yet I wore that badge of busyness as a symbol of pride. But thinking of the world and plastic and litter and the earth and people as all interconnected, and then trying to figure out my place in decreasing the plastic and the litter and trying to help the world – has made me less busy and given me freedom. Picking up litter is the most empowering act because one chooses to pick it up or not. And knowing that it is a choice and it’s an act of benevolence and love for the earth, has spread that love to all other parts of my life. I think that is why I am happier now. This also enables me to reframe my previous onerous tasks in life as voluntary acts of love.
And so I did a quick litter pick yesterday and found the mother-load of vaping pen litter at a nearby parking lot near our commercial district. Now I know where to go when I’m finishing a vaping-pen art piece. I get excited because this vaping litter can now be turned into an art piece that at least makes me laugh at how ridiculous it all is, and at the most can become a talking-piece about dangers of vaping for another pediatrician.
I have a long to do list today on my vacation day but I remain hopeful. The reason why is that picking up litter has helped me reframe how I see my children the most. I have always had a fierce love of my children, but I would say prior it was a possessive type of attachment. I wanted the best for them, and wanted them to excel beyond others as they were a reflection of me. But now, I realize that they are part of an ecosystem of other humans and that living harmoniously with their own bodies, their own communities and with their family – is the greatest lesson I need to teach them. The ironic thing is that it has enabled them to continue to excel scholastically. I’m not sure why.
So today I wanted to list Five Reasons to Be Hopeful this Wednesday, and just to list the most impactful environmental changes we as a family have made that have been so easy! It’s like a muscle, and we practice it now and it’s made our family life happier.
Five Easy Environmental Changes We’ve Made, That Has Made Our Family Happier
- We Have Dramatically Stopped Buying Things. Thinking about trash and litter has helped us frame our purchases as potential future trash. We still buy things we need. For example our 5 year old printer had it’s final run, and we had to buy a new one. The printer is still sitting in our bathroom and I’m actually dismantling it for fun to add interesting pieces to my trash art. I don’t think most people will start making trash art, but thinking about litter and the waste we create – has naturally prompted us to buy less. And with buying less, we look around our very large house that still has a lot of stuff and we realize often times we can just go without, reuse or repurpose something. It is so freeing!
- We Are Eating More Plant Based Foods, Trying Veganism. I thought this would have been very difficult. I always knew that this would be an impactful change our family could make. But when we got to the point where we were ready and had met enough inspirational people, it ended up being much easier than I thought. For me it has been the Instagram vegan community that presents veganism and vegetarianism as again an act of benevolence. That each vegan meal we choose to eat, is one act of love we give to the earth. If we slip up once in a while, that is okay. But again, it’s been surprisingly easy. I buy plenty of dried beans and cook at least 1 pot in the instapot a week. We buy 1-2 blocks of tofu and mushrooms now, and I have learned to make them savory with spices and no meat. We buy Beyond Meat “ground beef” and Beyond Sausage as well. I’m trying to use the weekends as an opportunity to try one new vegan dish to add to our repertoire. I honestly have been trying to get Mr. Plastic Picker to eat my cooking for over 20 years, and finally making vegan dishes – he eats my food! Go figure. We are healthier and hopefully the earth is a bit healtheir as well.
- We Donate Money to the Earth Every Month. Every month without fail we enjoy discussing how we choose to help the earth with focused donations. This is so powerful https://drplasticpicker.com/donation-round-up/.
- We Choose Less Carbon Intensive Family Activities. By framing our family activities as opportunities to help the earth, we have then chosen activities that have naturally bring us together as a family. Last Christmas we drove to Salt Lake City instead of flying, and spent an absolutely wonderful vacation with both sides of our family. What would have been a short flight from Southern California to Salt Lake City became instead a driving adventure where we stopped by Las Vegas and tried not to buy plastic there and did food reviews together at Buger King trying the Impossible Burger https://drplasticpicker.com/christmas-dinner-drplasticpicker-family-tries-to-satisfy-the-cousins/. Last night our daughter was out of sorts as she is off this week without any virtual classes, and her schedule and emotions were off. She is such a loving person and without the interactions from her friends, she can have a difficult internal struggle. I cannot rely on buying her more things and making her busy by outsourcing her to someone else. That’s the antithesis to being a plastic picker. I give of myself now, and giving of myself and my time to my own child is actually less carbon-intensive. Last night as she was descending into her irritableness, I told her “You know it’s time we went back to learning some Vietnamese.” And I very quickly typed up some lessons and found another fun video for her to watch. She practiced her phrases and I corrected her tones. She got to lay around our bed and wandered around our bedroom, alternating interacting with me and her father – as I typed up her lessons and did speaking exercises with her. I’m actually fluent so it’s easy for me. I pull up fun youtube videos of Vietnamese lessons and put them up for her to listen and practice. And it took me becoming Dr. Plastic Picker to really now give of myself to my own child. Check out our separate Facebook page project if you want. It’s been really fun https://www.facebook.com/Two-Sisters-Teach-Our-Half-Vietnamese-Children-Vietnamese
- We Changed Our Toilet Paper to Who Gives a Cr@p and Have 1 Bidet. This sounds silly but now every 4 months we have a large cardboard box of recycled toilet paper that is wrapped in paper delivered and there is no plastic. We are also using less toilet paper just because we have a bidet in one of our bathrooms, and we’ll probably install one more. The toilet paper represents the power of automating some of our environmental actions. I never think about toilet paper anymore. It just comes and I use the ones I have. I don’t stand in the middle of the grocery aisle anymore thinking bamboo versus recycled toilet paper? How many rolls do I need? Did my in-laws buy some already? Now we get that toilet paper. It’s slightly more expensive than the virgin pulp but we can afford it. It gives me piece of mind. My sensitive behind is not causing the wholesale destruction of ancient Canadian forest. Other things we have automated is a lot of bills and our banking,
And that is it. Five Easy and Impactful Environmental Changes our family has made. Five Reasons to Be Hopeful for the Environmental because we are a very normal family, and if we can do it – any family can do it. And those actions, especially if one shares it within one’s social circle, begin to have cascading effects. Like making hummus, those changes are so easy to make! We already had the Instapot and the KitchenAid device. It was just a matter of getting over the mental hump of buying dried garbanzo beans at Sprouts, soaking them and making them. But like any muscle, I’ve flexed my hummus making muscle – and I like how it feels! I’ll be making it at least once a month! Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone from our family to yours.
Here is last week’s Hopeful Wednesday post if you are bored or want to keep on the Hopeful Wednesday roll!!! https://drplasticpicker.com/6-10-20-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/