A million trees, and a HMO meeting that may have changed the plastic conversation
January 5, 2022
It has a huge climate day yesterday. I didn’t expect it to be a huge climate day, but it was. I’ve been doing this long enough to realize that serendipity is so much about climate work. And you have to spark something in someone who has some sphere of influence, and then you can change the world. And that is what happened yesterday in all honestly. I had just shot off a bunch of emails introducing some medical students who are interesting in single-use plastic reduction to our HMO higher-ups. And their California Medical Association resolution draft and their presence and their identities was enough to inspire some more senior doctors. And now the ball is rolling and single-use plastic reduction efforts are happening now in earnest in our organization. I honestly just shot off a few emails and cc’ed some people, and then just prodded to make sure we had at least one student there. Prepared a few power point slides and was there excited about waste audits and actual plastic reduction, and then the power brokers talked and the influencers influenced and the pieces of the plastic reduction puzzle are coming together.
When a climate journey like this starts, sometimes one doesn’t truly realize what a momentous day it was until months or years afterwards. But I know yesterday was a big day. The wheels are turning and minds are thinking and people are inspired. No individual can solve this crisis and it takes true community, collaboration and connection. That’s the only thing I know in my bones. And I feel proud that I was able to help with that, just by being on facebook and responding to posts and sending off emails and making sure I was available at some meetings. I know I’m being vague and I’ll elaborate more later. But lets just say there is going to be a lot less plastic used in healthcare because of us.
And then last month, because I keep track of things like that, our family surpassed 1,000,000 trees strategically planted or preserved through Eden Reforestration Projects and Rainforest Trust. The donations page is where I keep track. https://drplasticpicker.com/donation-round-up/ Yes planting and preserving trees isn’t the entire answer, but it’s an important part of the solution and our family and especially Mr. Plastic Picker stepped up and donated some money that was easy for us. Really just the cost of eating out since we mostly cook at home now and try to eat more vegetables. And with that we helped create more oxygen for all of us.
And this happened which was so big, I’m not sure if I have fully processed it yet. This letter came out.
And the line that reads “the default electricity provider for the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, and San Diego, you will be automatically enrolled into the San Diego Community Power service.” That was a huge win. A huge win for those that have been working at Climate Actions Campaign for the last 13 years and for us on the Public Health Advisory Council who have stepped up this last two years. We are the now the second largest CCE in the country and two pediatricians who are the AAP Climate Change and Health Co-Chairs in San Diego were part of this group.
It was a huge day yesterday when I fully processed the wins. One million trees, the second largest CCE in the country that provides 50-100% renewable power, and our HMO awoken to seriously tackle single-use plastics in healthcare. Just wow. And this is Dr. Plastic Picker, your local litter picking pediatrician, not sure how this all happened but grateful to be part of the solution. I’m drinking my matcha green tea soy latte this morning and have a morning of work, and three meetings this afternoon. They are all things that I love. HPV vaccine advocacy and cancer prevention, wetland restoration, and climate and health advocacy talk prep with a new member of our green team. Here we go. There is a lot of work to be done, and it brings me great joy to be useful to the world and our shared home.