8-26-2020: Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
August 26, 2020
This Wednesday kind of crept up on me. Since we went on a short trip to Palm Springs and returned on Monday, Tuesday seemed like Monday and Wednesday seemed like Tuesday. But the reality is that it is Wednesday. I realized that yesterday and knowing I needed to write this Hopeful Wednesday post lifted my spirits. My spirit is generally good these days, but the California Wildfires and the annoyance of the RNC nominating convention that I’m trying to actively ignore depresses my spirits a bit. But then one of our pediatric nurses sent this image to me of an upcycled trash art piece “Rainbow Fish” that she completed with her daughter. It is indeed beautiful and trash art gives me hope. Because through Trash Art, I have learned to look at the world a little bit differently.
I skipped last week’s Hopeful Wednesday, I think it was because I found the Democratic National Convention vere hopeful already. I know I try to be nonpartisan, but I think most people would agree that the RNC is depressing and indeed the entire state of the Republican Party. As a former Republican in my childhood that proudly supported George Bush the Elder and someone who embodies fiscal responsibilitiy and individual accountability, I hope those that are left on the Republican side figure it out. The world is moving left, and we need reasonable Republicans to anchor the new center. Really, you are hanging out with a bunch of crazies right now. Just saying. But let me be nonpartisan and HOPEFUL! Here are
Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday 8-26-2020!
- Wind and Solar Power At Record Highs in 2020. This is from the Bright Vibes feed. For the first half of 2020, “wind turbines and solar panels produced a record 10% of the world’s electricity in the first half of 2020 as coal-power declined.” We still have a lot of work to do as “coal plants still produce 33% of the world’s electricity . . . Europe and the UK saw the largest contributions from wind and solar, at 21% and 33% respectively during the first half of the year, with China at 10% and the United States at 12% . . . Coal power generation in the US and Eruope fell by 31% and 32% respectively while coal power is down in China by 2%.”
- Skycrapers Will Likely Start Generating Electricity Through Their Windows! Meanwhile the brilliant scientists at the University of Michigan “In a step closer to skyscrapers that serve as power sources, a team led by University of Michigan researchers has set a new efficiency record for color-neutral, transparent solar cells . . . The team achieved 8.1% efficiency and 43.3% transparency with an organic, or carbon-based, design rather than conventional silicon. While the cells have a slight green tint, they are much more like the gray of sunglasses and automobile windows. “Windows, which are on the face of every building, are an ideal location for organic solar cells because they offer something silicon can’t, which is a combination of very high efficiency and very high visible transparency,” said Stephen Forrest, the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering, who led the research. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200817150449.htm
- UC California Comits to Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics! This I heard from the Washed Ashore Project initially and then have included an article from the San Diego Union Tribune. The entire University of California system “will phase out single-use plastics as part of a bold committment to achieving zero waste.” Most importantly they have a timeline! This makes me so proud to be from California.
- Jan. 1, 2021: Plastic bags in on-campus retail and food establishments to be eliminated.
- July 1, 2021: Single-use dining accessories, such as straws and utensils, to be replaced with compostable alternatives.
- July 1, 2022: Dining halls to provide reusable plates, cups, clamshell containers and other items. To-go eating facilities to provide reusable or locally compostable alternatives.
- Jan. 1, 2023: Food-service operators to no longer sell single-use plastic beverage bottles. Campuses will be encouraged to install more water fountains to encourage the transition to reusable containers. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/environment/story/2020-08-25/university-california-single-use-plastics
4. San Diego River Park Foundation is Restoring the San Diego River Park in our Mission Valley Area. Environmental activism is inherently a local issue. We have rivers that need to be rewilded and restored. I follow closely our one major river here. There will be a Grant Park and River Center built in Mission Valley and new community park space. The San Diego River Park Foundation reports “work has already begun to restore the riparian ecosystem on site, giving these ducks and other wildlife a safe regue in busy Mission Valley.” https://www.sandiegoriver.org/discovery_center.html
5. University of Virginia School of Pharmacy Invites Dr. Plastic Picker to Speak! Sometimes I question myself and what I am doing. I’m almost to my 300th bag and almost to my 1000th salvaged item. We are comfortably becoming almost vegetarian, but mostly pescatarian. Yesterday Mr. Plastic Picker and needed to pick up groceries and we consciously made the decision not to go to Costco, because we always leave with unnecessary things. So instead we went to our local strip mall, and returned seven tiems to Michaels that had been long sitting at home. With the credit, I got more glue sticks for my trash art, yarn for our daughter’s scarf project, and thread for our “new to us” sewing machine. We went to Vons , our local normal grocery store, and just bought what we needed with a lot less packaging and things than if we had gone to Costco. In addition to reducing our own family’s consumption of material goods, I have two climate meetings this week as part of Climate Actions Campaign and the AAP CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee. I will attend both as showing up counts. San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air is going well, and I’ll blog an update later. Our wonderful UC Berkeley Junior developed a logo, and she is going to write a mission statement soon. And I was contacted by follow plogger and student activists at the University of Virginia School of Pharmacy “Sustainable Helathcare Project.” Their goal is environmental health and ecopharmacovigilance. They wanted me to be a speaker at one of their lunchtime conferences. We conntected through instagram and they wanted to hear from actually me, Dr. Plastic Picker. And that made me so hopeful.
And when we went to Vons, I like to browse the aisles and see everything I don’t need. And this was what I saw below! Whose cold brew is better? Did I tell you I abhor Starbucks? They have so much plastic trash everywhere. Better to make your own. We have decided to buy Green Mountain Coffee and Caribou Coffee as they are sustainable Rainforest Alliance Certified brands. In genreal though, we drink a lot less coffee now. Thanks for reading my friends. I’m still on vacation so will go plogging this morning and get a bag. I hope you have a wonderful hump day, and hopefully this post will help you get through the RNC and gives you a bit of hope!
Need more hope! Check out the post from two weeks ago! I skipped last week because it was the DNC and that gave me so much hope, I didn’t need to look for extra. https://drplasticpicker.com/8-5-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/