It is 311AM on Wednesday morning, and I am not sure what happened last night. My body is a bit out of wack. It is less often out of wack then before, but anytime we have a middle managment meeting – my circardian rhythm gets shuffled. Only good things happened at the meeting, and I noticed all the nurse managers had mostly reusable coffee mugs. Even the big boss commented on how wasteful all those little plastic creamer containers were, and looked up at me and gave me a kind smile. They know that I am Dr. Plastic Picker and I have not been fired yet. The democratic primaries are underway, and for the first time in years I am watching to see what happens. Again Dr, Plastic Picker is non-partisan.
I am a single issue person, I just want a liveable earth with oxygen and fish and beautiful butterflies. But with those dreams, there is so much to be Hopeful for this Wednesday. Here is our Five Reasons to Be Hopeful, 2-12-2020.
I have felt grateful for many things. I am grateful to have been raised by two loving parents, who raised me with an abundance of kindness and genorosity. I am grateful to have been a voracious reader as a child and now can call myself a real blogger! My own grandmother was rich in heart and family but poor in monetary wealth and unable to read in her native language. I am grateful to have had dedicated teachers especially in our high school’s IB Program https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-remembers-i-was-weaned-on-activism/.
It’s Sunday morning and I usually would go to the beach, but my body is very tired and I am afraid I might fall. I am trying to stay in tune with my body and most mornings I have the energy and the need to go plastic picking. But last night, we had our department party and it was a big success. It was fun to put on the little black dress I wear just once a year and fancy sparkly wedge heels. Mr. Plastic Picker agreed that I looked nice. Mr. Plastic Picker looked very nice too in his blue blazer from Macys. Despite leaving early the fun and the revelry early at 9pm, drplasticpicker is too tired to go plastic picking. Plus I have to work this afternoon at our after hours clinic from 130-5pm. Humans are not meant to stay up late, and the world is not meant to have so much light pollution as humans are partying late into the late. Light pollution is causing the insect apocolypse https://drplasticpicker.com/xeres-invertebrate-society-can-a-pediatricians-avatar-drplasticpicker-help-save-the-western-monarch-butterfly/.
I have been meaning to write this blogpost about 6 weeks ago, but it wasn’t quite the right time. I had just sketched out the title, and the topic has been percolating in my tension-headache-free mind https://drplasticpicker.com/tension-headaches-drplasticpicker-cures-myself/. But yesterday I saw one of my beloved families that I have cared for for over 10 years. They were one of the first families that I was their “pediatrician.” I appreciate them sticking with me because sometimes I wonder how much I knew 10 years ago when I had just finished a research year at NIH and had been mostly doing only endocrine clinical work. I had not looked at tympanic membranes in a long time. I remember thinking, gosh I would rather have a new onset type 1 diabetic patient than a rule out ear infection.
The thought that any one individual knows what humanity can and cannot do in the next decade is the utmost arrogance. I know about arrogance, because I am an MD and we are all a little bit arrogant. But 6 months ago I checked my arrogance and narcissism at the beach and began relearning the true lessons of humility, nature and the power of collective action. I have seen doctors look briefly at a single “chief complaint” and by just glancing through the chart, they have already diagnosed the patient before even talking to the family or examining the patient. At those moments I have called colleagues out. So now I also call out those naysayers regarding environmental action, I call them premature. Finish collecting your data. Finish your work. Talk to the patient and family. Examine their lungs, listen and palpate. Use your stethoscope. Don’t just jump to xray. As I was taught the first day of medical school by a beloved pediatrician-professor Dr. Robert Masland from the Children’s Hospital of Boston, 99% of everything is history and physical. And our most important patient, our earth, I see small clinical signs of hope. This is not false optimist, but earned hope.
Two Mexican butterfly conservationist have mysteriously died. Mexican conservationist Homero Gómez González was found dead floating in a well at a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the other Raul Hernandez “whose body was found beaten and with a head injury possibly caused by a sharp object . . . was found in the early hours of Saturday, in the Ocampo municipality, about 8km from the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.” https://news.yahoo.com/second-person-linked-butterfly-sanctuary-165733418.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=fb Those are the names of two Mexican butterfly conservationist that are now dead.
Today is a day of happiness and saddness. It is a happy day because the second drplasticpicker Office Beach Clean Up was a big success. I honestly did not know how many would show up, and we had 15 volunteers. It was a lovely morning for many interconnected reasons. It is a sad day also because two butterfly conservationists in Mexico were murdered likely by local drug cartels or illegal loggers. These two conservationists were integral to the efforts to preserve the Western Monarch Butterfly. I posted on my personal facebook page and likely no one will notice, but there are forces of good and evil in the world. I have never been an alarmist, but I see it now. Being on the beach most days has opened my eyes to the forces of evil that are trying to steal our children’s future. What can one person do? What can one pediatrician that has created this drplasticpicker avatar realistically do? I ask myself that every morning as I drive to work looking at a still beautiful blue sky, and when I go to bed thinking about the insects dying en masse around us. I think about the light pollution humans have caused that is keeping us humans up, and also partially disrupting the invertebrate ecosystem.
What can I do? I can keep on blogging, keep on plastic picking, keep on community organizing, and hope that I am part of billions that are mobilizing and waking up. And this post series is a source of happiness. Sometimes when I feel helpless, that we are confronting an insurmountable task, I look at my totals and I am reminded about how much one very normal very ordinary person can do.
On reviewing last month’s December 2019 Plastic Picking Round Up blog post https://drplasticpicker.com/december-2019-plastic-picking-round-up/, I had wanted to pick up 20-30 bags a month. I think that is a reasonable number and about 20 blog posts. Last month I wrote 29 blog post. In general, January had the fewest bags and the fewest blog posts but still respectable. Now that I have an archive of >100 blog posts, I think that is a good goal for every month. This month was also busy because I became more involved in local and professional environmental projects. I have also been accepted to attend the Climate Reality Project training this season, which is part of former Vice President Al Gore’s group. I am hopeful regarding this opportunity. So below are the totals for January 2020.
23 Bags of Ocean Bound Plastic Collected (I only count the ones I pick, the group totals I will write about in a separate blogpost).
48 Items Salvaged
Office Supply Items
It was a good month overall, so this makes me more hopeful regarding the future.
This journey has been thus far an incredible one for me personally and professionally. I feel mentally and physically so much healthier, and I hope this will have a good ending for our world. This monthly blog post (this is the fifth blog post in this series), is again the least popular but the most important. Being mindful and going to the beach to do cleanings has had a cascading effect on my life and the environment. And the first cascade is that being out in nature and with nature has naturally led me to make changes that are both good for my health and good for the earth. Both are intertwined.
So this is my summary for January 2020 and changes I made for our family and the SecondaryNet Environmental Positives. As certain habits become hardwired, I don’t notice them as much (like eating more fruit instead of snack bars) and I stop noting them. But since I have to be accountable for 15 things every month, it motivates me to find other ways to make positive environmental changes in my life. I try to list from greatest environmental impact to least, but it is kind of subjective.
I am so happy this morning. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last night. Many things are happening and I am trying to help the earth, but suddenly I have this opportunity to interact and help amazing pediatricians who were environmentalist and have some real-effect on carbon emissions. As I was going to bed, I sent off one last email to a medical mission trip that needs a pediatrician to go to Mexico. But there are plenty of folks who love and need to do that work. It will energize their souls like it did mine when I went to Peru to do similar work. I offered names of some of my colleagues who are looking for that opportunity and want to go on that specific trip. There is an infinite amount of work that needs to be done, but I have never been one to need to be front and center and if someone else wants to do it – why not? I am hoping they will let her go. If not, I will go. But I have so much to do for the earth. And right now not many pediatricians want to pick up ocean plastic. So I feel the calling to focus on this plastic picking work. But I think my new hobby is going to become super popular!!! Here is why.