8-5-2020 Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
August 5, 2020
Yesterday was surreal. Dr. Plastic Picker waded into politics yesterday. Like many doctors, I have shied away from partisanship. But AB345 was too important to ignore https://drplasticpicker.com/yes-on-ab345-press-conference-today/. This bill would improve pediatric health by protecting schools from gas and oil drilling wells. I didn’t realize fully what a large impact this bill would have on overall climate change by reducing fossil fuel production within California. But I was and am focused on the kids. And for the kids, we made the statements that we had to make.
This is the text message I sent my colleagues who cosigned the letter in support of AB345.
“Hey guys. Just wanted to say thank you for co-signing the letter to support AB345, setbacks for gas/oil drilling from schools/daycares/hospitals. I spoke on behalf of us as private citizens who are concerned about air pollution and pediatric asthma health. Tried to stay simple and humble and keep to the letter. I think is resonated and the policy director said Huesos read the letter and appreciated your input as you all take care of kids in the southbay. Nationally the climate activists wanted to tahnk you, and I think the community groups appreciated that as Pediatricians you spoke up.
So did press conference with 350.org group and mayors from National City and Imperial Beach, KPBS interview, and just finished call with Huesos office. It was kind of surreal. I think it went over well but more importantly I think we can sleep tonight knowing we did what we could. Vote is tomorrow at 9am to see if it passes committee and will let you know. Thanks for showing up for the earth and our patients. Big HUGS to you all.“
I hope my 14 pediatrician friends realize that by supporting this bill and speaking up, we did a good thing. I hope it passes the committee and goes to the full state senate to vote. It is so true the greatest antidote to despair is action, and I hope they realize that they took true action yesterday.
But between the three events yesterday – I was tired but all my action. I admit it. I was exhausted and I did about 1/100th what these other activists usually do. Although I do consider myself an Environmental Activist, I think I need to remind myself this morning that just like there are many different types of people. There are different ways you can be an Environmental defender. I know the interviews went well yesterday and more importantly I showed up at the time my particular identity and experience made my voice impactful. But I work full time, and spent the entire day essentially on my “OFF” time working on these interviews yet still trying to put out little fires within the department.
I have now met more engaged and wonderful people, who I will meet more in depth later. Leaders of other groups working on other climate issues. They want to link hands and move together, tap some of the resources and people I know. I told them that I would reach out later, but that I needed to catch my breathe. I need to refocus and head back to the beach, my happy place and pick up trash. And always I love returning to this blog and typing away early in the morning thoughts. I have some bits and pieces of ocean plastic I picked up yesterday, and I have some ideas of different trash art pieces to do. So let’s continue with the point of this post, which is a weekly installment!
Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday.
- UK Carbon Emissions dropped 30 million metric tons March 2020-July 2020: This was due to COVID-19 pandemic and reduced travel and power consumption. This pandemic is not good but I still need to acknowledge the reduced carbon emissions. The numbers always boggle me. 30 million metric tons sounds like a lot. https://inhabitat.com/covid-19-reduces-uk-carbon-emissions-by-30-million-metric-tons/
- BP is Planning on Slashing Oil and Gas Production: BP’s chief executive said ““This coming decade is critical for the world in the fight against climate change, and to drive the necessary change in global energy systems will require action from everyone,” BP chief executive Bernard Looney said in a statement Tuesday.” Even environmentalist were cautiously happy. Their plan is to “stop oil and gas exploration in new countries, slash oil and gas production by 40 percent and boost capital spending on low-carbon energy tenfold, to $5 billion a year.” Even Green Peace had some praise. I will need to tell my father about this one. He and I are agreeing to disagree about some things, but I need to convince him that as a business owner he needs to know the future of business is bright because it is green https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/05/energy-202-bp-lays-out-plan-slash-oil-gas-production-meet-climate-goals/
- Small Herd of European Wood Bison to be Released in Kent UK for the first time in 6000 Years. European Wood Bison are relatives of our own American Bison. I love stories like this! “This is a unique project that will get its start in the spring of 2022. A single male bison and three females will be coming from the Netherlands and Poland and will roam the forest to reproduce naturally. They hope that there will be a chain reaction that will occur as a result of their introduction to the forest.” Why are these Bison important, “The bison is known as a keystone species. Think of them as being like a honeybee, or perhaps Krill in the ocean. They provide something to the ecosystem that helps to sustain it in amazing ways. As a keystone species, they will help to preserve other species and the ecology in general . . . One of the things that bison do is to kill dead or weak trees. They rub against them or eat the bark, which makes the tree habitat and food for insects. In turn, this provides something for birds and it also provides some sunlight to the ground, allowing new plants to grow.” https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/england-forest-bison/
- Florida Removes 5000 Pythons from the Everglades. I guess there are a lot of Burmese pythons in the Everglades. They are non-native and are descendents from escaped pets. They removed 5000 of them! “Each invasive python eliminated represents hundreds of native Florida wildlife saved,” said “Alligator Ron” Bergeron, a member of the South Florida Water Management District’s governing board. “Florida is doing more than it ever has to remove pythons from the Everglades and protect this ecosystem for generations to come.” https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/01/us/burmese-pythons-florida-everglades-trnd/index.html It is probably impactical, but wouldn’t it be cool if they collected them all and delivered them back to Burma??? We have parakeets here which are endangered in South America. It’s kind of like when I pick up sand toys from the beach. I clean them and disinfect them, and I give them to kids in my clinic. No waste. Putting things where they belong. I know it sounds silly. Bye bye pythons. Hello native floridian animals!!!
- Yellowstone Grizzly Protected from Sport Hunters. “A ban on hunting grizzly bears for sport in the Yellowstone region of the northwestern United States was upheld Wednesday, in a victory for conservationists and several indigenous tribes.” Although they are no longered endagered, there are still only 1500 individuals left. I am puzzled as to why anyone would want to shoot an innocent bear? It baffles the mind. Thanks goodness the courts unheld the ban and they are looking more into the importance of the grizzlies https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/yellowstone-grizzly-bear-hunting-ban-upheld-in-us/ar-BB16vvU6
And the pizza picture above reminds me that after the marathon interviews and impactful but exhausting day yesterday, I need to refocus on my job and the kids. I took a nap yesterday evening and fell asleep watching Trip and T’Pol in Star Trek Enterprise again. And then woke up at 1130PM. I finished new lecture notes on Pediatric Obesity for the Family Practice residents. It summed up my new thinking of how I think of pediatric obesity as a symptoms of the destruction of our natural environment. Hopefully I’ll blog about it later, but this approach has helped me in clinic. I think I’ve made a bigger difference in the last year than the previous 15 years.
And I took a walk with our tween daughter yesterday. She was out of sorts. She was upset at the world and that why couldn’t life had gone back to normal, if only everyone had sheletered in place for an extra six weeks. She is frustrated as many people are frustrated now. She misses her friends. Summer camp is over and she doesn’t have anything to distract her right now, hence the pizza above. I gently reminded her that she is lucky. She has a big house to roam around, with a front and backyard. And we were walking along very empty streets in our picturesque college beachtown, where the yards are meticulous. I still find litter and pick up on our walks, but in general our home is in a little ocean-side bubble. Its funny despite all the material comforts we have, she needed me. She needed me to listen to her, and I didn’t interject much – just walked with her circling different neighborhood blocks.
She felt better afterwards and has plans now on little projects that she wants to get done. I felt her mood lighten. History Day club is having a virtual Friday movienight in a few days. She wants to invite her lunchgroup friends to a virtual party, and maybe we can figure out how to play scrabble on zoom with them. I told her I had Thursday off and I’d try to figure it out with her. She wants to redecorate her room, and maybe move her bed. I indulge her and told her to write out her plans and we’d make it happen. I wish the earth was as easy to fix as my tween’s frustrations. But perhaps the world is? We just need to be quiet and listen more to each other, and listen to the earth.
And the earth led me to these sandtoys yesterday, and I’ve now found 17 this month, and 155 total! I washed and sterilized them and they will be regifted to the first toddler I see in clinic today.
Need more hope? Here is last weeks blog post https://drplasticpicker.com/7-29-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/