AAP CA3 Climate Change & Health Updates: August 2020 – What We’ve Been Up To
August 25, 2020
I really wanted to blog about my “new to me” sewing machine. My sister handed it down to me last Christmas. We had a magical family vacation up in Park City, Utah where we were able to be together for a long time. Especially now that our home state and Utah are being scorched by wildfires and I haven’t seen my sister since Christmas, it was a magical snowy memory https://drplasticpicker.com/how-did-our-greener-christmas-go-10-ways-we-changed/. We snow-shoed through Utah’s Aspen forest, and I learned how Aspen forest are one living organism connected through their roots. The forest talked to me that day.
Forgive my dreamy tangent! My sister also brought it her luggage her “old” sewing machine and handed it to me eight months ago. We then drove it back from Park City to Southern California. We drove to save on carbon, and to live our truth of more sustainable travel. Although it was a lovely road trip, the two parts of the sewing machine were separated. I hadn’t been able to find the foot board and plug attachment. But this week while packing for Palm Springs, I found it!
The machine retails for about $200 dollars, but more importantly it came to my life the week that I have “vacation.” I think this is meant to be and I declared on Instagram that I am going to learn how to sew. Yesterday I finished making another trash liner from bits and pieces of plastic food packaging, and another Upcycled Bird House (aka Feeder). I am a quick learner, and I declared on Instagram “I hearby declare to all my Instgram friends and fellow #ecoactivist that I will learn to sew this week! I finally found the electric cord of the sewing machine my sister handed down to me. If I can figure out how to manage 90 sometimes recalcitrant Pediatricians, take off ingrown toenails, pop in implantable birth control, I can figure out this sewing machine. I want to #wearmyvalues which means learning to mend things. I have the week off so #letsdothis !!! #drplasticpicker #betterlaterthannever #toobusyinmyownlane #righttimerightplace #sustainableliving ” See! I figured out Instagram too. I’m a smart cookie!
In all seriousness I do want to learn to work the sewing machine and am embracing composting as my two big sustainable living changes the next few months. I always think that a Tshirt takes 2,500 Liters to make. If I can learn how to alter the Tshirts I have so that they fit me better (as I love their logos already), it will prevent me from buying any more clothes. Savings 2,500 liters of water is a lot, even more than our awesome rainbarrels during a rare downpour! We haven’t really bought much in the last year, but it would be so nice it is could just also mend our crazy puppy’s chew toys. She keeps on ripping the stuffing out. I can restuff them, and sew them back up!
But I am continually reminded that I’m a doctor, even in my environmental work. I have two big climate meetings this week and they are both important. I want my actions to be impactful and showing my face at these things and reporting in, is actually more impactful than all the bags I am picking. But it’s funny that all the bags of litter I am picking which I do because I find it interesting and fun, is what makes my advocacy impactful. It’s a catch 22, which came first? The litter picking or the environmental advocacy? Definitely the litter picking, but both go hand in hand now if I want to help stop climate change.
So while I’d rather be fiddling with my new to me sewing machine, I will show my face at these two meetings. Honestly, if someone came to me and wanted to take on these responsibilities and could advocate – I would gladly give them up! But not enough doctors are showing up yet. So Dr. Plastic Picker will show up. I have to show up on Wednesday night for a virtual advocacy apperance at the Solana Beach City Council Meeting which is going to last a few hours, as they are going to maybe make a climate emergency declaration. The declaration would have no teeth, but it’s something. It’s a big something, because the first part to solving a problem is recognizing it. So this itty bitty northern coastal city of upper middle class 1% needs a group of doctors to show up to convince them declare a climate emergency. I realize that I am the 1%, but I’ve always identified as being with the 98%. But I will show up, more to support my mentor and support our Public Health Advisory Committee of Climate Actions Campaign. When you work as a group we are more effective, but sometimes it can be slower. I do appreciate this itty bitty little coastal city of elites. But as someone who takes care of kids who are mostly brown and black, and suffer disproportionately the effects of air pollution and environmental racism – you probably see where I am coming from. But we are all creatures of this earth and like the Aspen forest part of one organisms, even the 1% in Solana Beach.
I aneelso d to show up at the American Academy of Pediatrics CA Chapter 3 Committee Advisory Council (also named CAC – there are so many acronyms). This is actually a helpful meeting. I had to summarize what our committee has been up to for our exercutive director and other committee chairs. I’ll cut and paste my email to our Executive Director now.
AAP Climate Change & Health August 2020 Update
1. Oil & Gas Drilling: Working with AAP CA1, CA2, CA3 officially outside of AAP through Climate Health Now and San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air on gas and oil setbacks, AB345. Unfortunately this did not pass Senate Committee. But we got some publicity and learned about outside advocacy. Dr. Plastic Picker-CA-3 – working on Oil and Gas issues and was interviewed on KPBS radio show Fossil Fuel Setbacks Rejected By California Senate Committee, K.M. CA2 was interviewed by the NRDC 8/20, and we all got to work together on some joint petitions, digital lobbying meetings and press conferences with various environmental groups. We made the LA Times!
2. San Diego Built Environment: Sally and I are still working with Public Health Advisory Committee of Climate Actions Now on supporting a Climate Emergency Declaration for Solona Beach City Council (small project) and advocating for regional transportation plan that includes more bike lines, light rail, more housing density, walkable spaces (big plan). The latter is the most important project and I told Climate Actions Now that this is likely what pediatricians care about the most, because how our cities are built affects asthma and pediatric obesity. This is long term project but as I get more information, I’ll bring in to AAP and see if it’s something we can support? It really is working on how San Diego will physically look like for the next century, which is the most important thing locally. More trees, more public transportation, more bike lanes, more light rail – this would do more to help with pediatric health than anything. I think we need to get involved in what the built environment is going to look like?
3. Children’s Art Council and Youth Arts Exhibition around Climate Topic: We are continuing on this small but fun project to try to draw our committee together. We have 15 pediatrician members now! Three premed interns, and 11 children who are volunteering. We are attending the AAP HOPE conference (which we learned about through this council) in order to educate the planning group about how positive art experiences (HOPEful experiences) can help combat ACES. Still in planning stages but having monthly zoom planning meetings and it’s coming together. Will end it a digital book and hopefully actual physical exhibition post COVID-19.
4. Climate Change & Health Lectures: S.K. is giving lecture at UCSD Rady’s on climate change and health in December. We are going to give lecture at UCSD PRIME HEq on intersectionality of climate change and racial health disparities. Continuing slow and sustainable outreach to health care student groups to bring awareness.
5. Medical Students for a Sustainable Future. Sarah Schear is a CA-1 AAP climate advocate and medical student. Look toward the med students in your chapter – they have great ideas and enthusiasm. They accept pre-meds too. https://ms4sf.org/get-involved/ and want doctor mentors – we sign up at the same site. Tell your students about this! We sent our three premed interns here.
And that is it! Just letting you know what we’ve been up to.