9-16-2020 Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
September 16, 2020
Above is a picture of my first born putting on his own shoes. For various reasons, I am very proud that he is able to do that and that he gets out the door by himself without assistance. Sometimes all of us just watch him leave from the porch: his grandmother, his grandfather, the puppy and myself. His sister was still sleeping because she had virtual school yesterday. He got to the car all by himself without any assistance, and his father (Mr. Plastic Picker) drove him to his fancy prep school in the family’s red Prius. They listen to NPR on the way to school. His breakfast was a vegan sausage and broccolli sauteed with some vegetable broth, and a piece of Dave’s Killer Wheat Bread which is palm-oil free. With that, he was sent forth into his teenage world hopefully avoiding COVID-19.
In between my son leaving yesterday and his return from the first day of real school in 6 months, I was busy trying to do my part for the world. COVID-19 lecture in the morning, trying to figure out more HMO workflows, coordinating HPV vaccination efforts, and climate emails. When our son came home yesterday and after the initial animated report of how the first day went and who was or was not there, he disappeared into this room. I peaked in on him a bit later, and the teenager was completed passed out with our puppy protectively curled next to him. That’s how I felt last night as well. But it’s 617AM and it’s Wednesday, and it’s time for me to report Five Reasons to Be Hopeful for you!
- Kaiser Permanante Becomes First Carbon-Neutral Health System in the U.S. “Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, has become the first health care system in the United States to achieve carbon-neutral status. With its longstanding commitment to improving conditions that lead to poor health, Kaiser Permanente has prioritized sustainability to contribute to and catalyze a green future free of the extreme climate conditions currently harming so many Americans. This move to carbon neutrality eliminates the organization’s 800,000-ton annual carbon footprint, the equivalent of taking 175,000 cars off the road. The U.S. health care industry overall is responsible for roughly 10 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.” If this isn’t something to be hopeful for, I don’t know what is! https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kaiser-permanente-becomes-first-carbon-neutral-health-system-in-the-us-301130245.html
- Baby Boom for Uganda’s Endangered Mountain Gorillas, “Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is experiencing an unprecedented baby boom in its mountain gorilla population after seven infants were born so far this year, compared to two in the whole of 2019, according to officials . . . Five of the baby gorillas were born in just six weeks from July 22 to August 31, Bashir Hangi, a spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), told CNN Thursday.” The group attributes the baby boom to “a consistent conservation approach, anti-poaching patrols, a round-the-clock veterinary team and 24/7 monitoring of the gorillas is paying off . . . “With enhanced integrity of protected areas, there has been a general increase in wildlife populations in Uganda.” ” https://www.cbs58.com/news/baby-boom-for-ugandas-endangered-mountain-gorillas
- City of Charleston South Carolina is the First City in the US South to Sue the Fossil Fuel Industry for Damanges Caused by Climate Change. Charleston is a a “low-lying city built on a peninsula between three rivers” and is especially vulnerable to sea level rise. Rather tha flooding 4 day a day, it floods 89 days a year. “Charleston is now the first city in the American South to sue major oil companies in an attempt to hold them accountable for the “daunting” costs of climate change, city officials announced Wednesday . . . The 24 defendants in the city’s lawsuit in state court include multinational corporations BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as regional companies. The suit alleges these companies lied to the public by concealing the threats fossil fuels pose to the planet.” Yes my conservative friends, there is dollars and cents involved. Someone was making money off the destruction of the environment and the rest of us are paying the price, including most of my fiscally conservative friends. This is a economic issue! https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/charleston-sues-big-oil-climate-change-adaptation-costs-72910568
- Pediatric Plant Based Eating Projects Deployed!!! Here at Dr. Plastic Picker we also create our own hope! After reading Project DRAWDOWN, I realized how important decreasing meat consumption and increasing plant-based foods was for the earth and also for human health. “Shifting to a diet rich in plants is a demand-side solution to global warming that runs counter to the meat-centric Western diet on the rise globally. That diet comes with a steep climate price tag: one-fifth of global emissions. If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases . . . Plant-rich diets reduce emissions and also tend to be healthier, leading to lower rates of chronic disease. According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs. $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity would be saved.” https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/plant-rich-diets With that in mind, one of our AAP Climate Change and Health Intern A.T. is working with three physicians to organize a panel discussion of plant-based eating with a Pediatric GI specialist and Culinary Medicine/Plant-based Eating doctor. Stay tuned! It is going to be a hot hot hot topic. Plus all I needed to do was connect the four individuals, and they will make this happen on their own.
- Sell the Cool in the Environmental Movement. This gives me the most hope. Elections will help, but true change has to be a movement. One of my climate mentors told me that politicians don’t make change, they put their finger up to feel the winds and there they go. The picture below gives me a lot of hope because here is Gavin Newson and Kamala Harris trying to sell the cool and the hope in community and camraderie. This image sells the story that as a community we can come together in the most trying circumstances and save the earth, and be totally cool at the same time. This is what the grass-root litter pickers and eco-hip folks have been trying to do for a while now. The whole purpose of this blog is to show you my green heart, and hopefully change yours. I think the picture below is trying to do the same thing.
And with that, I hope this Hopeful Wednesday post lifts your spirits a bit and gets you past hump day. The sky actually looks a big bluer today. We still have 4 months of wildfire season, but I can still enjoy the blue in the sky. I can still go out and get some beach plastic. I’m actually collecting blue pieces for a trash art piece I’m doing. I’m like Picasso, still in my blue period. Sending you green hugs from my kitchen table. Dr. Plastic Picker, your local litter-picking pediatrician!
Looking for more hope? Here is last week’s Hopeful Wednesday Post https://drplasticpicker.com/9-9-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/