Climate Advocacy (AAP/Climate Reality/ClimateHealthNOW) – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Climate Advocacy (AAP/Climate Reality/ClimateHealthNOW)

We never show our faces! It’s part of the mystique.

October 1, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Plogging is jogging while picking up trash. Plalking is walking while litter picking. Plurfing is gathering plastic while surfing. #fillabag is when you find a bag and you fill it with trash. There is an entire lexicon and culture within the Instagram trash collecting world. You can clean the environment while jogging, walking, paddle-boarding, kayaking or surfing. You can make the trash you find into art and be an artivist. You can knit with discarded fishing lines into a scarf like @grannyplastic. You can spend hours picking up litter or just 2 minutes like #2minbeachcleanup. You can even be an awesome dog in the Netherlands like Bob The Plog Dog. The only rule is that you have to show some of the litter you pick and care about the environment. I am Dr. Plastic Picker, this community’s unofficial litter-picking pediatrician. I am a Harvard-educated pediatrician and Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at Kaiser San Diego. I am Co-Chair of AAP-CA3 San Diego Climate Change and Health Committee which is currently the largest AAP committee chapter in the country. But I’d rather be known as Dr. Plastic Picker.

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Posed this picture to get attention. Doctors really like attention. Isn’t that half of the reason we became doctors?

September 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Above was bag #283 and item #1050 was a flattened alumnium can on the road. I oddly really like recycling those aluminum cans because I figure no one else will. Of those items, 483 have been aluminum cans. I only did an analysis on aluminum cans called “Aluminum Cans: The High Yield Salvagable” https://drplasticpicker.com/aluminum-cans-the-high-yield-salvagable/. At that point I was only at 150 aluminum cans. But even at 150 cans, I realized how high-yield it was to pick those on my walks especially the flattened ones that probably no one else would recycle.  I have always been fascinated by the idea of efficiency. So as drplasticpicker, I want to help the earth but do it in an efficient manner. Remember of the 100 billion aluminum cans sold in the US, only half are recycled. So every year there are 50 billion aluminum cans that never make it back. Recycling one aluminum can is enough to power a television for 3 hours. Therefore 1050 aluminum cans, I could watch Star Trek Enterprise straight for 131 days. But I can watch it anyway since we have solar panels that produce double the energy we use (yes I went a bit overboard). The best thing about aluminum cans is that they are endlessly recycle them.

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Future AAP Climate Change and Health Intern? My friend Ryan again.

September 12, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Our internship program is closed! We have four AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Interns. I have to provide them with mentorship and guidance, and I can’t do it well if I have too many. So our internship program (which I just made up!) is closed. More candidates keep on coming out of the woodwork, but I tell them next year or the year after next we may have an opening. When one gets a job or gets into medical school, than a spot will open up. Sometimes when I wake in the morning, I’m not sure what to blog about. I half started two blog posts but deleted them. They were on environmental projects that are completed now, so really no need to write about them. So much of this blog is helping me figure out what to do next with the climate.

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September 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I can’t sleep, or maybe it’s that I got up too early. It’s 3AM and a good 1-2 hours before I usually get up. California is literally burning. We have no rain in sight. Colorado is burning as well, although they may have snow soon. Do you remember last year when Australia was up in flames and koalas were dying? Did you wonder what the Australians were feeling like? What were they doing? Well that is us now. Literally in flames. It’s an interesting dynamic being Dr. Plastic Picker right now. For the last year, I’ve essentially done a mini-fellowship on environmental action. I have picked up #277 bags of ocean plastic pollution and salvaged now #1030 items in the process. And in the process of blogging and healing my body and mental health through plogging (picking up plastic and jogging) along the beach, I saw the state of the world most mornings. I finally looked around me and understood the broken food system that caused umpteenth tons of plastic to flow into our ocean, food that has very little nutrient value, while returning to clinic and seeing an entire generation of children with more obesity-related diseases. I try to gather plastic before it enters in the ocean because I know that the oceans absorb gigatons of carbon dioxide, while at the same time seeing my patients back at clinic who are mostly brown and black children suffer increasing rates of asthma from toxic air pollution. And as my body and mind healed from plogging and being out at the beach in the early mornings, I saw the stark reality of how sick our earth was. I decided to go all in to do my part to save the earth.

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Area I cleaned today. Spread a wildflower seed mix that is meant to “Bring Home the Butterflies.”

September 7, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Last night I had an irritating interaction regarding my finances. I will deal with it and the person today, and it will be fine. I am very detail oriented and for various reasons the interaction was the utmost annoyance. But the power of exercise and good deeds is amazing. After that irritating interaction, I joined the family for the National Parks Trekking game, still irritated. I went to sleep last night, still irritated. Woke up this morning, still irritated. Edited some older blogposts while drinking coffee and started this weeks Hopeful Wednesday post early, mildly less irritated. And then I went for an epic plogging run and picked up two bags of plastic pollution and I feel great! I finally ran to a barren area that is mostly gopher holes (which is good because we need gophers right?) and cleaned that area. I also spread a packet of wildflower seeds that are supposed to “Bring Home the Butterflies.”

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August 27, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I did not realize what a big deal last night’s climate win was. Solana Beach, a small northern coastal city, passed unanimously a Climate Emegency Declaration yesterday. The Solana Beach’s Climate Action Committee lead Dr. Mary Yang had been working on this with the city council members for months and maybe years. They had reached out to us as healthcare professionals to give comment. Yesterday, I called in with as one of four members of our Public Health Advisory Council for Climate Action Campaigns and gave public testiomy as a pediatrician.

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I wanted to blog about my “new to me” sewing machine.

August 25, 2020

by drplasticpicker

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.

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No Clean Air!

August 22, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s 515AM and everything is always better in the early morning. Work has been overwhelming of late. I had this very rare case series of an odd physical finding and I posted it on the COVID-19 Pediatrician Facebook group. I’ve referred these patients to the specialist. If it ends up being anything, I’ll probably try to write it up as a case report for fun. We have three interns now for our AAP Climate Change and Health Committee. I need to find them projects to work on. If it pans out to be anything, I’ll offer one of them to help me write it up. A case series is pretty easy to write up. I’m sure it will get accepted somewhere. At the least, I’ll publish it on this blog and have them do a presentation for my friends. But there are so many little journals out there looking for content, and Dr. Plastic Picker the imaginary eco-warrior me and the real world pediatrician me has a lot of content!

A lot of the “content” in my head or at least the things I’ve been thinking of late has been clean air, or lack of it. A bunch of my colleagues and I advocated for AB345 gas and oil drilling setbacks bill which unfortunately did not pass the Senate Committee. I did learn a lot about the political process https://drplasticpicker.com/ab-345-did-not-fail-politicians-failed-but-pediatricians-are-quick-learners-and-we-rise-up/. There is a lack of advocacy right now for clean air from pediatricians. Although I am the AAP Climate Change and Health Committee Co-Chair and HMO Assistant Boss, I cannot just say whatever I want on behalf of these organizations. The problem with big organizations like those is that we have to be non-partisan. Rightly so, everything needs to go through a vetting process. Those organizations while big and important, are under scrutiny. But as an individual and part of a organic network of friends who are pediatricians who care about the air, we want to move quickly and be able to be able to speak up.

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Two members of the Children’s Arts Council.

August 18, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s Saturday morning and it’s just starting to get light. I worked a full Friday clinic and it was busy. Twenty-six families, twenty-six developing story-lines. Supposedly the appointments are segmented into 15 minute blocks, but life does not work like that. Anyone who has ever been to the MD office knows that the entire process takes much longer from preconception to the actual visit. I know the time with me is the end of a long process for the family. So I try to take my time and sit, listen and do something that progresses my little and big patients onto better physical, mental and moral health. One can’t rush life nor rush the practice of medicine. The actual schedule I am presented each mornings is only a suggestion of how the day will go. In the end, when they come in I see them. We get something done.

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August 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

As a former valedictorian of a large public school that made it to Crimson University, and then made it through the gauntlet of the morass of premedical students to Crimson Medical School, then residency at Mans Greatest Hospital, and even up the HMO ladder as Assistant Boss – Dr. Plastic Picker is competitive. And when State Senator Ben Huesos said in response to the community effort to lobby regarding AB 345, gas and oil set backs to protect schools and day cares and hospitals from air pollution, “This, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing more than a publicity stunt at a time when we cannot afford publicity stunts,” Hueso said. He did not make a friend of Dr. Plastic Picker.

I will continue to play the demure non-partisan pediatrician who ocean plastic picks along the beach (because that is all true). I refrained from saying mean things about him. But I looked up his CV and his accomplishments, and I said “meh.” What made me mad about his response, was that he was obviously speaking to some kind of other audience. Why make fun of people? Why paint everyone who called in and took their time to lobby as part of their civic duty “publicity stunts.” As a pediatrician and as a parent, I teach my children there is never a reason to be unkind. And that comment was just mean. But I live in a world where I see trash carelessly thrown all over the place, and can learn to work with anyone. Being Assistant Boss in a department of over 100 pediatricians with various interesting personalities has taught me a lot. Indeed Ben Huesos, in some ways I probably have better political skills than you. Try surviving as Assistant Boss of Pediatricians in my work place!!!

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