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

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

Fancy hotel room

April 26, 2024

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m in Tuscon with Dr. Bear. Dr. Bear, the AAP San Diego Social Media animal. I’m speaking at a conference (did not take any honorarium!) at the Integrative Medicine Conference and I’m realizing that even these physicians don’t all “get it.” I’ve worked with so many different physicians on climate advocacy and a good number have been amazing integrative medicine fellowship trained. My friends Drs. Melanie Fiorella, Kathy Kemper and Sandra Gee are all collaborators and amazing. But as I was sitting at dinner with the other conference presenters, I realize that probably a majority don’t know how dire the climate crisis is and that someone needs to try to activate them.

So I’m in Tuscon in a nice hotel room with a stuffed animal, by myself. I miss my family honestly. I actually don’t like traveling, and if there wasn’t a huge global heating problem – I wouldn’t be here and honestly don’t want to be here. But I’ve accepted my life being pushed by the universe to go where I’m meant to go and I’m noticing the things I’m learning and the experiences I never would have had. If I hadn’t become Dr. Plastic Picker, I would never had the conversations I had yesterday and life is honestly interesting.

I get to have several famous UC San Diego professors as friends. One of my friends Prof Adam Aron told me to come to this event, and to speak to these doctors. He was the original one who was invited to speak. But he is very tired and has been doing so much for the climate movement, and it’s important to share in this work. So I was there sitting across from very famous integrative medicine doctors and researchers, and I had absolutely no idea who they were. I saw the famous Andrew Weil though, and I only really know him just because I saw his picture on the internet. But I got to see the dynamic and community they have here in Tuscon in the Integrative Medicine Department – and the mix of personalities. I probably will never get to see them again, but I talked to them and connected as much as I could.

Today I’ll give a talk. It’s the best that I had. I tried.

First slide.

And here I am, and I think I did create a new talk for them. And I’m reminded that I’m enough. You are enough. And I flew here (it just didn’t make practical sense to drive) and used two of my precious vacation days to speak at a conference of people I don’t know and would never take and cannot take any honorarium. This conference is about 370 attendees and it takes an entire team to put this together and they charge quite a bit. I think the economics of conferences is interesting. Our H3SD Heat and Human Health Summit in San Diego will only be local attendees and will be free, and will be amazing. That’s the conference of my heart. But I still have to travel to these summits, and I am hoping that integrative medicine doctors will be key in helping to address decarbonization and global heating.

But I think today the most important person I will see is a high school friend who is a professor at University of Arizona. Ricardo Valerdi I actually know and is founder of “Science of Sports.” I’m getting to talk to the sports medicine department at University of Arizona and their team physician Mark Sakr. I texted Ricardo on the plane over from San Diego, and yesterday he was able to snag me a speaking spot with Mark and his team today. I’m going to share the extreme heat and youth sports workflow. And share my brief story. I think that will be the most impactful.

I haven’t been blogging as much and I thank the readership for their patience. Earth Day and April as Earth Month has been absolutely a whirlwind of conference talks and projects. And here on the blog I can be honest. It’s been exhausting. But I’m almost done. And I get to see a close friend from childhood, and have dinner with his family tonight. Gosh, I can’t remember when we saw each other. And I want to go home and be with my daughter. We are planning her sweet 16 and this weekend it will be just the two of us (and Mr Plastic Picker) but she is the light of my life. I love her brother too. But there is just something about having a sweet almost-16 year old daughter who still likes to hang out with me.

Wearing her state speech Tshirt! We bought three and a sweatshirt!

Thank you for following along my journey as Dr. Plastic Picker. I’ll be home soon. It’s a 55 minute flight to Tuscon so close. But it’s not home. And I know that my climate fight needs to mostly be at home.

Yesterdays photos from our families perspective.

March 24, 2024

by Dr. Plastic Picker

The kick off for SB1137 happened yesterday. The two healthcare voices that showed up were me (Dr. Plastic Picker a pediatrician) and a premedical student that is still in high school. He’s shown up to multiple events, and if you show up – Dr. Plastic Picker hands you the opportunities. He’s already given a lecture at the medical school, helped establish the Student Electrification Initiative, and now going to push through a resolution in his city to support SB1137. It’s honestly whoever shows up, because this work needs to be done and it needs to be done now.

It was amazing all those that I saw again and met yesterday. It was a good sized group, about 50 community members, coalition members and youth advocates. My own two teens came, most notably my son who literally just landed back home for spring break from UC Berkeley. My daughter was there, woke up early for me to show up because her mother was speaking. Both of my children have done more than enough climate projects and understand fundamentally the importance of my advocacy, but I push them to do other things – because climate will become a large part of their lives later and for everyone. Now I want them both to grow and learn and have some privacy, from this intense world I’ve entered. But I saw one of my original mentors from Climate Reality! That was the first training I had done, and I had only met her virtually and I’ve been on the email list server for four years! It was really good to finally meet in person. I saw the members from and when a certain southbay justice person calls me or emails me, I show up. She texted me about this, and I made sure to show up. I saw Jack Shu! He’s an amazing climate advocate and has been for decades, and is now been joined by more Asian-American leaders like myself. He is amazing and his family is amazing. We’ve hung out and sang karaoke with all the UCSD premedical students!

And this morning, I’m just being a mom because yesterday – even though it was only a 5 minutes speech – I get so emotionally wrung out by it all. I was satisfied with how my comments landed. I was exhausted by the preparation, because I did have to review notes and prepare comments and do an updated premed search. I was energetic during the networking and happy to see everyone. But then afterwards because I’m fundamentally an introvert, I was exhausted and irritable and had to sleep. And then my daughter and I got into an argument, which is unusual for us. But I slept some more and she went running, and we realized it’s because of the nature of climate work and being connected. We laughed at dinner, so very much. We were happy and connected and together.

This morning, our son is upstairs with some high school friends who are all college freshman, and their laughing and chattering while watching some e-gaming finals. Mr. Plastic Picker and I drove over to the local bagel shop, and grabbed them some bagel sandwhiches and a carafe of coffee. That was new for us. They are college students, and I did not know that my son drinks coffee and so does his friends. But they are laughing and we give them space, but the house feels so full and wonderful with the young college students upstairs. Our 15 year old naturally wandered downstairs and making some whip cream for herself for no particular reason, and we’ll head out to the mall to buy a new set of earrings for her. I’m looking through the clear glass doors toward our beautiful backyard, and they are sitting and chatting and trying to fix our automatic gate. My mother sits in a very comfortable DME hospital grade bath chair, the ones that you see in the hospital when you are admitted. I absolutely have no idea how and where they got this chair, but they have one and now I realize why it’s important that we keep it. She looks so comfortable sitting in it.

And that is our life, with a hand-me-down luxury electric car in our garage that barely fits. We are so lucky in our lives. I am so lucky to be in the advocacy space that I’ve happened upon. And I am grateful for every day on this beautiful planet, to be connected with you to have my dreams for a livable planet and to still harbor silly dreams for my children’s future. The emotions are real, and the actions are impactful. Thank you for following along on my emotional journey. This work can get heavy, but this morning we saw rainbow and it seemed lighter because I put the earth at the center of all I do.

So Pretty. My daughter. Keeps me going.

September 2, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 6:46am and I was tossing and turning last night a bit. I know I can be silly at times, and I made my 15-yo upset with my silliness. But I’ve stopped the silliness completely and when you do it on Instagram, it’s kind of final – if you know what I mean. She deserves to make choices in her life. She deserves to feel the emotions she feels. She’s deserves to remember her 14-year-old self and the heartbreak of homecoming, and the her current 15-yo is still hurt and mad. I don’t need to make excuses for anyone, because it’s her life and her emotions and her experiences. It’s kind of like discrimination training, it’s the experience and perception of the person that is important. And the extenuating circumstances is just circumstances.

But I am reminded that I share so much about my daughter intertwined with the climate work, because both are infused with love. And in the end I know love will win. She’s doing this project with the safety subcommittee for the Youth Advisory Council for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and it’s on child trafficking. That’s she is able to participate in these kinds of activities is amazing, and we are grateful. One of the non-profits that she is researching and has a meeting with the Executive Director soon is called Love Wins. Just looking on a quick google search, this is a very important issue right now. She was up last night working on her convocation poem for her school, and honestly – it’s an amazing, loving, poignant, and innocent poem. She’s a poet in her heart and as a artist, they feel more than others. And as her mother, I am there to help her temper and center her emotions.

So much goodness has resulted from the H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit. I am just following up with projects and threads of activism, as the beauty of that day is reverberating. It’s funny, but yesterday morning after sending a flurry of emails – I felt the universe move a bit. I felt things shift. When you throw love out into the universe without reservation and with complete abandon, sometimes you are rewarded. And that is what I did when I met a very cute 15-year-old boy in clinic and asked that innocent boy to go to homecoming with my daughter and the same love is what I did when I finished 5-months of furious organizing to get H3SD completed. Do I have regrets? I absolutely don’t because I know I’m just existing in this world and living each beautiful moment with you and myself, and sometimes it’s on Instagram and sometimes it’s on this blog. And definitely if you are my actual patient, you can be witness to how wonderfully present we are all together in our hallway. Love is one of the greatest adventures, and there is nothing to be afraid of. And climate change, and addressing this existential crisis has to be 100% won through love. You have to throw it out there, with your entire being and with abandon.

So the projects that resulted from H3SD is reshuffling of the Public Health Advisory Council, Climate Actions Campaign Co-Chair position. I’ve been upfront with the leadership and my co-chair, and I’ve learned so much from being a former Assistant Chief. Leadership is better if it is shared. It was originally intended to be a 2-year term, and I will step down this next summer. I will always be involved in the PHAC board, but it’s time to make room for younger leadership and to build someone else’s skillset. Both positions will be shifted and we will take the year to make sure it’s a solid transition.

And then there is my now friend Prof Adam Aron. He’s scheduled to be speaking at Harvard Medical School. I really think it’s the right thing to do, and I’m part of organizing and trying to get him there. But really brilliant academics like Prof. Adam Aron and my friend Dr. Elizabeth Friedman, they are both kind of high strung – to be honest. I have to kind of cajole them and prod them to go where I think they are meant to go. I hope this works out. I have faith and I’ve put in the planning work to get him there, and planting the seeds to make sure it’s an impactful meeting. He really inspired the attendees at H3SD, and he leveled up my climate work for sure.

And the last thing, is Our Children’s Trust that is leading the fight in the federal lawsuits against the various state and the federal government on behalf of children – as the government has simply not protected the planet for the children – they reached out to me. Isn’t that crazy? Our Children’s Trust reached out to me for help, and I have a meeting scheduled next week. They told me that I don’t need to prepare anything, but I’ll do whatever I can. I reached out to my climate mentors and I include Prof Adam Aron in that group now, and he said that this would be impactful work.

Lots of other projects in the works, but these three above are the most important. H3SD is definitely going to happen next year. The region is beginning the planning meetings and grouping all the players together, and I get to attend these cool meetings (on my own time) and help make sure the 2nd iteration of h3sd happens. It will be different but it will be equally as impactful, because it will be sustainable and a group effort. Actually, this afternoon I get to go to my friend Dr. Luis Castellanos’ house to have a fancy lunch! To meet some of his friends and talk climate and H3SD.

Just organizing my thoughts for my upcoming climate projects, and I got to show you the beautiful picture of our daughter.

August 30, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Last night, our family (the Dr. Plastic Picker family) was a family. I turned it off after having jumbled thoughts the entire day about my friend Prof Adam Aron and his upcoming train tour of the the US speaking about his book “The Climate Crisis.” He’s speaking at Harvard Medical School, invited by our former student Co-Founder of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air who is currently a student at Harvard Medical School. The webs of connection in our climate activism is very much based on where we are all from, which is San Diego. I had a small part in making that connection, and now it will happen. My part now is to drum up interest and some noise.

But back to our family. I turned it off for the afternoon and evening. I turned the noise off and I just looked at my pretty daughter. I watched her play JV Volleyball at La Jolla High School, sitting up on the bleachers and watching her play part of the 2nd set. They lost the game, but she had some good plays in there. And then I encouraged her to go to the 10th grade social for our little private school, and even made sure her father Mr. Plastic Picker showed up. So we showed up at the very fancy house owned by her friend’s family, with fancy families and we were simply ourselves. I talked climate with a few physicians, one of whom I know his younger brother well because we went to the same high school and I was in the same AP Calculus class. San Diego is an inordinately small world. I talked mostly girls and boys, as I was the parent who was shamelessly spying on the the group of 15-year-old boys and girls and also other genders – as they navigating the new social dynamics that some have had mini-glow-ups and full glow-ups or had simply taken a shower or gone further into puberty. They are all still children, and making these hard decisions about which activities to do, what I want to be when I grow up, vaping/drinking/sex, and am I going to jump on the trampoline when there are the other kids jumping on the trampoline?

Our daughter? She had her new curtain bangs, and her earrings and she finally wore a cute outfit. She had not wanted to go to the 10th grade social, but I encouraged her to go. And she had fun. She looked very cute in her jean shorts and demure top, but she simply had fun looking pretty and knowing others thought she was pretty – but mostly it was her friends opinion that she cared about. She talked about boys with the girls, when the boys were out of earshot. And isn’t it weird what puberty does to people? Suddenly your friend you’ve known since 4 years old, you can’t talk to? But at least they were in the same space, and oddly it felt so fun and healing as the kids were all smiling and having fun. For some reason, the dynamics were different and the kids will be different.

I realized something a few years ago. That the introverted ones like our family, we have to get out there. We have to mingle and get to know people, and it’s good for us too. And sometimes having the smart girl who happens to be pretty and not allowed to date, throwing her in with the cool kids is okay. She restores some of the balance of the social milieau and reminds everyone, it’s okay just to be a kid and it doesn’t have to all be about which elite college you are going to and who is likely to date who? Because our family’s agenda last night, was simply to eat some good food and not have to cook dinner. And we got to see friends we hadn’t really talked to and seen in years in the setting of a beautiful home of a generous family We might not agree with all the decisions other parents make raising their kids, but spending an evening together in a school sanctioned event is not going to derail our children.

Am I going to let her date? Heck no! But she can hang out at the social and look cute. And the other families can hear me prattle on about wildfires and climate, and physician wellness – because I am just who I am and we are the family that has been part of this community for over a decade.

Okay, off to send off some epic climate emails. Have to try to fill the room at Harvard Medical School with my friends – and can you believe it? The Children’s Trust contacted me and wants me to help gathering experts and data on the federal case Juliana vs. the United States. I replied back

That was a super cool moment! Our daughter was super proud of me. She was looking so cute yesterday but I’ll keep that picture off the blog for now. Trying to learn boundaries. But she was super cute!
slide I used for a recent talk.

July 30, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s the last day of July and I’m growing nostalgic. It’s the last few weeks before we take our son up to college, and the last few weeks both of our teenagers will be with each other in the way that children are together. And during this summer that should be bittersweet and nostalgic, I have been blessedly distracted by planning the H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit.

I’ve been more on Instagram making reels like the rest of the world, really just to listen to them myself. It’s like the quick ability to make your own music video. I think all of us are enjoying it quite a bit. The reels are mostly of the kids and childhood photos that have popped up the way they pop up now because all of our memories and photos are in the iCloud.

What I am most grateful for today, is the absolute sense of love that I have for those that I’ve met through this journey of climate and health work. As the world becomes more plagued with chaos due to extreme heat events, for me I’m in a place of complete quiet and absolute self-awareness. The breeze is blowing through our neighbor’s palm tree in the back. It’s overcast this morning whereas yesterday morning we had a sunny summer shower, just above our backyard. It was so beautiful and I shared it with my mother-in-law because we were the only ones awake. Last night, we waited for 2 hours to have my daughter’s ears pierced and birds flew overhead in the outside waiting area. I felt like the birds were commiserating with my husband and my daughter at their impatience – but I was honestly happy to sit there on a summer evening in Encinitas waiting with two people I love so absolutely. I didn’t necessarily want my daughter to get her ears pierced but it’s something she wanted and she is fifteen.

I see love everywhere these days. I saw it in North Park where I wandered to meet in person a passionate climate advocate, and I traveled there with my son. I could feel the passion and the goodness and the hilarity of the personalities that collected in North Park that night. I have seen evil also, if that makes sense. I had someone stare at me so intently in clinic, someone I had known for years but I felt like someone crawled over my grave it was so eerie the stare that they gave me. I was not scared but I absolutely believe in a spiritual world and I prayed that the spirits of my ancestors were looking out for me that day. That person left, and I continued with my work. The interaction was quiet and intense, and it was just a look that was exchanged.

And I walked my baby brother’s Corgi around the block this morning. We are dog/puppy sitting this weekend. She’s been a bit off lately but we wandered around the neighborhood and ended up at a corner where there is a church, and an older unhoused neighbor who often sleeps at that corner. I’ve seen him but have never talked to him. And he petted our Corgi and fed her sandwich meat and gave her so much love. I saw grace when I looked at his eyes, at someone who sleeps on that corner I think to become closer to God.

I was texting back and forth with one of my college friends who is also a pediatrician and we are both climate people. We know the ocean temperatures in Florida are warmer than there have ever been. Greece is literally in flames. And we continue to have extreme heat events in our region. But we both are Vietnamese and we believe in the afterlife and reincarnation, and that our families will be reunited again in the next life. That understanding brings us both comfort.

There is so much love in the world. So much goodness in the souls that I have gotten to know through climate work. The faces in the slide above and indeed the hundreds of fellow people I’ve worked with, I am so grateful for you and that you are here with me on this blog at this exact moment.

I am often baffled why I end up where I end up, at any particular time of the day. I go to work and finish the job that pays, and otherwise I parent my children and try to keep the house fairly clean. And in the rest of my time, I try to help save this beautiful planet of ours. I was telling some of my new climate friends that I am flowing with the universe, and have absolute trust that if I continue to live up to the morals and values my parents and ancestors have instilled in me – that I will end up where I am meant to end up. And flowing with the universe has led me to so many of you.

beginning slide

March 28, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Our family continues to be very fortunate in our lives, and all the interesting projects we are able to participate in. We are still bathing in the glow of our son’s joy over his college admissions, and still awaiting more decisions. But as the children and I hugged last night, we were reminded – it’s important to stay humble. We realize we are a very normal family. And I reminded each of the children, to continue to go forth into the world and emanate love and joy, and do good.

I was a little bit stressed last night. I have a big presentation this morning, and I hadn’t really finalized my talk last night. It didn’t seem the right thing to finish, but I did start it. I used slides from a previous talk and began updating them. And then, I needed to take some time for myself after spending pretty much the entire vacation day off yesterday on climate legislative advocacy and also catching up with charting. So I stretched, took a walk after dinner, and I did some yoga. My daughter has a new passion and she wants me to participate, so I’m working on my strength. I still have a perpetual smile on my face from trying to manifest a different destiny, but I’ll leave that off the blog. It’s just a warm glow and this sense of rightness that in the next decade that event that I’m dreaming of , will happen.

But back to my actual climate advocacy. I’m speaking at 10am to the League of Women Voters San Diego . I entitled the talk “A Pediatrician’s Second Act: Climate and Health Advocacy.” I got to include this meaningful slide

So true.

This morning when I finished the presentation, it went very easily. It’s because I just tell my simple story and then usually talk about three climate projects that I’m working on. Since pretty much all I do is climate work, I always have a lot of images and narratives to choose from.

So what seemed daunting last night when the day was ending, was actually really easy this morning. So I’ll get the kids off to school. These few remaining months of having two high school students in the house are very special, so I’m relishing it all. I’ll take a walk and pick up a bag of plastic around the neighborhood. I’ll give my talk to the League of Women Voters San Diego at 10am-11am. I’ll go to a local Vegan Thai Restaurant to pick up food I ordered for an office party at 1130am. I’ll then drive to the office and deliver the food to the beautiful party room that has already been decorated by the phenomenal nurse Lea that I work with. We will have a party and celebrate someone who is retiring, who I care about as a person quite a bit. And then I’ll work this afternoon and see my patients. My charts were all caught up as of yesterday afternoon! We find out from NYU today. And then I’ll come home and use the pizza dough that I already prepped for dinner and split a dark chocolate bar my daughter and I bought at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Sounds pretty much like the perfect day in the life of your local litter picking pediatrician!

She gave me a hug before the testimony.

March 14, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

On behalf of my committee and pediatricians, I urge your committee to vote Yes on AB 249. My main job is in clinic and I am a front line pediatrician for 2000 families.  Indeed, most of our membership within the AAP are that, your community pediatricians who treat our state’s children.

I am here to remind you that lead is a Pediatric Neurotoxin, and it’s an accumulative neurotoxin and it is stored in bones and teeth and never leaves the body. Children are uniquely susceptible to even low lead levels which can lower IQ and cause learning and behavioral problems which, in turn, elevate costs in health care, education, and criminal justice.

The reason I am here is very personal. I see the effects of lead pollution in real-life in my clinic, as I do increasing number of evaluations for children with ADHD and autism, prescribe more and more stimulants and have more children on antipsychotics to address behavioral issues  – and try to help families navigate the difficult world of special education and medical services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA services. As my work day is filled with the increasing demands of these children who need our help, I can’t help but remember that much of that chaos that has been caused could have been averted if we had addressed leaded drinking water earlier.

Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, as well as birth malformations. There are astronomical economic costs from the negative impacts from exposure to lead by everyone. For every dollar spent on controlling lead hazards, it is estimated that $100 would be returned in health benefits, increased IQ, higher lifetime earnings, tax revenue, reduced spending on special education, and reduced criminal activity.

Children at highest risk are the very young (including the developing fetus) and the economically disadvantaged. This is because undernourished children are more susceptible to lead because their bodies absorb more lead if other nutrients, such as calcium or iron, are lacking.

Lets not wait to address the clear danger of leaded drinking water in our schools that threaten our states’ future. It’s not fair to those children attending those schools now, and it’s simply not fair as it’s likely children in environmental justice communities.

My trash art last night.

February 17, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m really excited. I had this idea for a “Heat and Human Health” Summit at UCSD and it’s taking shape. I have some wise people guiding me. They believe in the earth but can taper my enthusiasm and guide it in the right direction. So it sounds like to make it doable, it should be a smallish gathering of 50 or so people for half the day. This advice helps me quite a bit, because it puts limits on my enthusiasm and grandiose plans. The most important thing is that it gets done, and we start it. The heat waves will be coming for the next 30 years or so. Having the first of it’s kind conference in San Diego will bring much needed attention to this issue. It also just gives us a goal to continue to address the real threat of heat waves and what we as health care organizations can start doing to plan as a region.

So I’m excited and reaching out to people. I thought I needed more students, but honestly I have enough right now. I have two premedical students who can help with this, and one high school student. That is all I really need. And then we have our Public Health Advisory Council, Climate Actions Campaign folks that are already bonded and can work together. Even the food won’t be that much. If it’s just a half day, then we just need coffee and drinks and snacks.

It’s really just a big meeting, but it’s an important meeting. It’s a kind of meeting with topics that are not being discussed right now. And we can do it for the first time in San Diego. It will create opportunity for three premedical students. And it’s really interesting to me. Probably initial address by Dr. Wilma Wooten or someone like that. I can make brief comments. Then breakout session at least 3. Heat waves and ED access. Heat waves and youth sports workflows. Heat waves and effect of NICU admissions and Ob-Gyn admissions. Heat waves and leveraging technology to help. Heat waves and psychiatric admissions. Increasing access to cooling centers to those that are most at risk.

Okay. That was a super productive blogpost. Do you like my trashart man? I call him “I am a fiduciary. I am an earthing.” That is a whole other project that I am working on. LOL. So grateful for green friends.

Evidence of manuscript submission.

February 12, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m exerting so much self control dear reader by not posting semi-anonymous pictures of the volleyball-cute in her winter formal dress. Also our senior son looked dapper yesterday wearing a boutonniere for the first time. He also had a very beautiful “friend-date” and we did the proper thing and had a matching white rose corsage for her with a black ribbon. She was wearing a black dress and it matched. I haven’t seen his pictures from his phone yet, but the blurry and out of focus photo-booth pictures has the pretty “friend-date” wearing the corsage.

The freshman volley-ball cutie had her own corsage as well that her parents bought for her. It was not the dance experience she expected, indeed all of freshman year has been one surprise after the other. But she was absolutely beautiful and elegant last night, and she was able to curl her hair for the first time and wear a fancy clasp purse for the first time. Other girl-friends who are gorgeous themselves said she looked beautiful and they took mirror selfies together, so she got the pretty girl validation from other pretty girls – which is saying a lot. It was also one of those nights that she realized she’s absolutely an introvert but a beautiful and elegant one. The thumping music and night-club ambience made the complications of her home-coming seem benign. I absolutely don’t know what I did to deserve a teenager that while going into the night-club (where the high-school dance was at), and at the last minute whisper to me “I wish you could come and be my date.” And then later that night after she was home and make-up off, want me to hold her and her confess to me how head-ache and migraine-inducing the strobe lights are. She told me that she’d like to find a boy (after SATs are gone with a high score) who is a handsome introvert who likes books, and doesn’t like the clubbing scene. Can you imagine how happy I was to hear that? Yeah. I’m incredibly lucky. That boy sounds very much like her father. He’s out there little one, just growing up like you are. Hopefully reading a book last night.

And as my two teenagers are growing up, I’m continuing to work on saving the earth and moving the climate work forward. It’s still going to be absolutely close dear readers to mitigate the worse of climate change. Dr. Plastic Picker and extended family haven’t bought our climate bunker for no good reason, we have very good reasons to worry about water scarcity, and air quality and migrate northwards eventually if we aren’t able to avert the worse of things. But we still have a decade to advocate and to act, and at the same time our teen children are living their lives and growing up.

So it’s 638am and it’s Sunday. I’m imagining the week and it’s mostly climate work and writing. I just wrote an email to all my climate friends about maybe having a “Heat and Human Health” Summit this summer. I emailed my Target contact that had offered to collaborate and will hopefully get to do a corporate type meeting on Wednesday! So excited about that one! Then I just shared on my Instagram @drplasticpicker an important article regarding environmental exposures and human health. They are helping us with publishing a commentary on our fossil fuel divestment work as well. We are all like-minded environmental health advocates.

I think I’m going to actually go pick up trash and just count it on my own plastic picking totals. I’ll post those updates later. I have to finish charts this morning, and then get some headway on one writing project, help my niece organize a Barnard/Columbia webinar on Environmental Justice, and then find a site for the Youth and Climate Arts Exhibition. I also need to clean our house a bit. It’s all really manageable because being Assistant Boss was such an abyss of responsibilities without any power not enough time. Saving the earth is easier than changing work-flows for sure, or scheduling doctors to work! LOL. Happy in my green corner. Sending you green hugs! Also I need to do our SDPCA newsletter too.

February 9, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Good morning green friends!!! It’s your local litter picking pediatrician who is still picking up litter and still making trash-art. I realize when my mind is racing with the wonderful projects that I get to be involved in, but wandering too many different places – that I need to come back here to refocus. It helps me sort out my thoughts and what I need to do for myself and the earth.

I haven’t been posting as much because I realize I need to give my teenage children their privacy. I could have an entire blog just dedicated to raising them. But they are living their super interesting lives and I’m joyfully their mother, but trying not to overshare their images. But honestly it’s so very interesting and so much fun!!! Let’s just say our kdrama continues and there is a lot of joy and laughter and strutting up and down our hallway as we dream about fancy evening gowns and interviews. If it comes to pass, I’ll let folks know. But now it’s just a lot of silliness at our house as we break out the high-heels and talk about dreams, in between activities and applications and real aspirations that the children have for themselves. I hope you as well are enjoying your teenage children. It’s a beautiful age-range and I never realized it would be this fun.

But back to saving the earth. I’m going to have a meeting at Target! An actual corporate meeting!! I tell my friends I just go where the earth leads me and I am good about talking about my passions. I think having the super beautiful UCSD students also inspired those that visited us. Someone from Target offered to fund some of our work and I’ve invited myself to the corporate office to check it out! I’m really really excited!

And then yesterday I went to my first meeting as a member of the Retirement Committee. They said a lot of big words and tried to instill the gravity of the position I now hold. I’m a FIDUCIARY and that carries a lot of responsibility. I guess we are collectively responsible for a few billions in pensions. I told them I’m a climate advocate as well, and head of the green team at the Federation level. I really did enjoy the meeting and learning all the new terms. But I kept on hearing the new financial terms FICUCIARY and some other term. But I wanted to tell them, I am also an EARTHLING and would like a livable planet. I’ll be there in person during the first quarterly Retirement Committee meeting! Mr. Plastic Picker took the day off and is going to drive me!

And then I am in the process of co-authoring two papers. One paper on Fossil Fuel Divestment is being submitted shortly one last time to Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. I’m proud to have contributed a good amount to the last rewrite. And then we are starting a new journal writing project with a new author group. Let me check back on that project right now!

OMG it’s 7:01 AM and I have to get started with the real day. Caught up on all my charts yesterday after being put on the naughty chart list. I’m going to try to keep up everyday and not fall behind. Sometimes climate work and real life is too fun, but I need to remember that I’m actually a real pediatrician trying to heal my patients as well. Much love from your local litter picking pediatrician!