ACOG Presentation: The Entire Day was an Epic Climate Day
May 8, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It’s 645AM and I’m blogging this morning to process everything that happened yesterday. My mother-in-law is puttering around the kitchen and has another upcycled matt someone gave her. Our house kind of ebbs and flows with the upcycled things that enter into it, and then exit out mostly donated to Goodwill or gifted to someone I know. Choosing to step off the consumerist wheel was one of the ways I have been able to be such an active climate and health advocate. When one stops shopping for fun, you gain so much of your time back.
We still buy things here and there, but choosing to value things and people as precious and non-disposable has been the core of my activism. That has been true for most of us in this work. I’m looking out into our backyard garden, and it’s so gorgeous and worthy of any eco-magazine. You can’t replicate it, because it’s upcycled planters and tomatoes overflowing with hidden sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s our rosemary bush that was propogated from my friend Dr. Jill Gustafson’s cutting several years ago. We don’t have to buy rosemary anymore. It’s the plethora of flowers from rescued plants my mother-in-law picks up from friends and the local Sprouts, whose manager knows her well and is happy to have her take the plants that would otherwise be thrown out. Yellows, reds, and little white flowers that look with baby’s breath from where I sit. Even the vegetables when they are seeding give off flowers, as we save the seeds for next season. It’s tended with a loving hand and appreciated by our sustainable family, knowing that we are a part of nature and the result is this confusing yet sensible mess.
And yesterday was a beautiful mess of climate experiences and climate victories. I need to jog to the beach for a true plog to process it, but I wanted to share it with the blog readership. Because I happen to live in San Diego and the original pediatric speaker was not able to come, I grabbed the opportunity to speak on the panel led by Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola. The panel was entitled “Trading Spaces: How Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and Family Medicine are Treating the Climate Crisis.”
The panel went very well, and was well received. I gave out the remaining planetary code Tshirts to the panel and ACOG leadership and organizers. I learned that one of the ACOG leaders is a devoted birdwatcher, and I’m excited to tell my Audubon friends that. I got to really talk to several members of our Public Health Advisory Council, Climate Actions Campaign that I’ve seen on Zoom meetings that were also on the panel – but now in person for the first time. Wow. They are amazing. I’m honored to be the incoming chair of such a wonderful group. Each one is a climate super-star.
And I was able to tell my story again, but I prepared and tailored it for this audience. I told them “As a pediatrician and a mother of an ex-preemie, I’m your biggest fan especially to any of the high-risk ob-gyns out there.” ACOG stands for American College of Obstetrics and Gynceology. Most of the credit goes to Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola who was an amazing moderator. He co-authored with my climate mentor Bruce Bekkar, a landmark paper on the effects of heat on birthweight. Climate change is making babies smaller, especially black babies – which is the gist of the paper. When I told him I had bought a farm in Oregon to try to save the mountain, my new climate friends really got it. I told them about my idea of bringing wilderness medicine as a business model to the farm.
In the wandering world of my climate work, I sat at a Starbucks on Fifth Avenue downtown San Diego and had ordered and sipped my matcha green tea soy latte. I was early for our climate lunch and had 30 minutes. It was a disposable cup but that is okay. I will never forgot sitting there on the outside seating looking out into the street with a sense of calm and happiness. I was so happy to be able to wear the ACOG badge and had “American Academy of Pediatrics” proudly printed. I didn’t have to pay for the conference attendance and I felt honored to get a really nice reusable tote, that is HIGH QUALITY that I will treasure. Here is my tote and the badge.
Even the experience getting the badge was wonderful, and the staff were so nice. They didn’t have my registration but when I showed them the email from Nathaniel and my picture on the program, they were so receptive and nice!
When I was sitting at the Starbucks and happy, a young group next to me wondered out loud what kind of doctors were at the convetion center today. And I turned very proudly and told them, “it’s Ob-Gyn!” Proud to be part of this conference.
Lunch was wonderful and meandering conversations, with engaged and inspiring physicians and legislative advocates. I know we will all connect again. Green friends never let eachother go. And that sense of wellbeing of making new climate connections continued through the day.
Last night, my family had dinner at my parents house to celebrate my nephew’s upcoming graduation, and the new climate connections continued. I got to tell my family all about my new climate friends, and rode in a hydrogen car for the first time. The entire day was just so cool! Thank you for following along dear readership, new and old. I’m Dr. Plastic Picker, and I told the entire ob-gyn world that I pick up plastic, so I need to be accountable and go pick some up. I’m at bag #682 and going out for hopefully at least 3 bags #683, 684, 685 this morning. But honestly, I’m not in rush to get to #1000. It’s been such an interesting journey to #1000 bags with new green friends along the way. Wishing all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day, especially to Mother Earth.