Hopeful Wednesdays – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Hopeful Wednesdays

My mother-in-law planted this a few years ago.

December 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s the week before Christmas. I’ve honestly been in a Korean-drama haze. I’m watching a lot of dramas but at the same time I’m learning so much more Korean and also reliving moments in my life as a daughter-in-law to a Korean family. I’ve tried to be a dutiful daughter-in-law and it has not been always easy, but watching the dramas and seeing the echoes of our own lives in the traditions that are explained is helpful to me. My children and my mother and everyone thinks I’m in drama overconsumption mode, but honestly this is something I need to do for myself to deprogram some of my thought processess that I had over the last two decades. I affirms many of my values that I’ve held close to my heart, but are continually questioned by others around me. I’m happy and it’s keeping me off social media mostly anyway.


Just the area I’m planning on having our high school reunion beach clean up. I talked to the lifeguards and they said OK. It’s shady.

July 21, 2021

by drplasticpicker

OMG it’s Wednesday! I had a rough night last night. Today is the fifth day without coffee, and yesterday I had my first true noticeable side effect which was muscle aches. I had plogged to the beach which I think didn’t help. It was a gentle plog. My legs were so achy yesterday and I had to walk around the house. I google searched caffeine withdrawal (yes doctors google things too) and read up on the symptoms. For the most part, I’ve been well and even this morning am coffee free. But I wasn’t sure what was happened yesterday until I read an article last night. I drank plenty of water thinking some of my muscle cells might be breaking down and then I took ibuprofen 600mg. I sat on the yoga mat and did some stretches which made it worse. I think just sat and tried to meditate a bit, which helped. Eventually the aching subsided and I was able to go to sleep. But it was a restful and almost full eight hours of sleep which is amazing. This morning I’m feeling well. I’m drinking a cup of tea without any sugar or cream, as I realize my body probably needs to wean from the caffeine gradually. But I do think it’s a victory to have stopped the coffee habit. I was just drinking too many cups and adding too many cream and sugar.

But it’s Wednesday and I’m hopeful this Wednesday. I’m hopeful for new climate projects and just new projects in general. Usually I do little news bits and pieces, but I haven’t really read CNN or follow the news lately. I’m trying to live in the real world. I used to obsessively read the news but not anymore. It helps slow down time not being tethered to the endless news cycle of doom and gloom. They are trying to make money off the audience anyway. News is a business too.

Five Items That Give Me Hope, Are All Things That We’ve Accomplished

  1. UCSD School of Medicine: There is some sort of planetary report card that ranks how medical schools fair on their climate change and health curriculum and general sustainability. It was developed my a UCSF medical student who is from San Diego, and the daughter of a Sharp Family Practice climate and health advocate. This physician is a leader in another medical group, and recently joined our advocacy team. Anyway, our local medical school UCSD doesn’t even make the list. All I did was link up three students together, and cc’ed my academic friend and former medical school classmate Dr. Luis Castellanos. https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-luis-castellanos-cardiologist-doing-his-part-for-the-environment-7/ That group is working on many other projects, but they are going to speak with their dean and raise this issue.
  2. Pediatric Board Member for StayCool4Grandkids: This is a local San Diego based climate group who is part of the Rewild Mission Bay Coalition. They are looking for a public health voice on their board. We had a young pediatrician who wants to start doing climate work, and I thought this would be an amazing way for him to begin networking and become involved. I made the e-introductions this morning and likely the two physicians are on their way.
  3. AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committe and San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air Apply to Join Rewild Mission Bay Coalition: This is a carbon sink project that just makes sense. We need the most natural bay to protect against storm surges, sequester carbon, provide more shorebird habitat, and provide active transport opportunities for children. This is something we’ve discussed at several of our meetings. I just emailed them and said “My name is XXX, and I am the co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics – CA3 (San Diego) Climate Change and Health Committee, and also Co-Founder of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air.  https://sdpediatriciansforcleanair.com We had our monthly meeting. We are an overlapping group of 40 mostly pediatricians, premedical students and some allied health voices that advocate together on climate.  Both groups after our monthly meeting yesterday, would like to formally apply to join the coalition.  Many of us live near the bay as well, and we feel this is in the best interest for pediatric health.   Please let me know if there is anything further I need to do. We have logos that we can send as well.” It’s amazing how much climate work one can do by sending just one email.
  4. Air Pollution Control District: Hearing Committee – Pediatricians as the Public Health Member: One of our members won a seat on the hearing committee for the Air Pollution Control District Hearing Committee. There are three pediatricians on key positions for public health regarding air pollution. I’m patting myself on the back. I think I had an important role in all those political maneuverings. Yes I did. The candidate is great by the way. I’m just really good at letter writing and bringing together like-minded earth-loving pediatricians.
  5. AirKeepers Program: This program I heard from Lori Byron, and they have been able to do it in Montana. I found out about the Prather lab at UCSD, and I guess the foremost expert on atmospheric aerosols something or another is local. And then I take care of a mother who is a middle school chemistry teacher and is connected with all the science education folks in the southbay. The key would be to get funding so that these middle schools have PM2.5 sensors and then run a flag up each day, with different colors depending on the air pollution. I think the San Diego APCD has a grant but I have to look at it. Anyway, been talking about it and I nees to call Dr. Sabrina Perrino to see how we can put this all together. Link a pediatrician from San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air to each middle school. Draw the bonds between pediatricians and students closer. Educate and advocate together. Raise awareness. This would fit into middle school science’s integrative science model and the “citizen scientist” projects. This is our big next project.

So lots of things to be excited for. Our journal article will publish this week I think. I check the Children’s At Risk website and the Journal of Applied Research on Children. I submitted the final revisions last week. We also got a great offer on one of our rental properties. That way I can pay my family member for the rest of my portion for our Oregon farm. For the price of a studio in downtown San Diego near Petco Park, I bought half of a massive Oregon farm. Makes no sense, sometimes real estate prices. And then I’m going to invest some of that equity (if we close the deal) on an event center in the East County. I’m really excited. I’m going to start up a dance studio and event center. I figure anytime I want to go to classes there, if I partially own it – I can go for free. And then when our climate group needs to hold events, we’ll do it at that event center. I may even put a small office for San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air there. Escaping the HMO Machinery (well not quite yet because I’m doing a countdown) has been a blessing. I have more freedom to be creative and think of new climate projects. As I was texting with a close friend yesterday that was asking me how I was doing. I replied, “I’m fine. It’s literally easier to save the earth than fix the department.” Yes it is. At least for me. I have to do things my way.

Sometimes darkness can give one hope.

March 31, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m not sure why, but I was out of sorts yesterday. Frustrated and impatient with the state of the world. I know that within the last 2 years of this environmental activism committment, I’ve been able to do a lot especially since it’s the job that doesn’t pay. But I was at the job that pays yesterday at a regional San Diego wide vaccine meeting, and I was frustrated at the state of the world. There is a goal that this group wants to get to, and has received money from the government. Yet they don’t know where they are, and initial ideas are things we implemented over seven years ago. When I’m part of something, I want it to succeed. I am committed, because professionally that is my goal to work on pediatric quality metrics. But it’s frustrating sometimes, seeing the money that is given and I think I could have done so many more with it. I’m sure this group will do well and move the needle. But I am who I am, and I don’t mince words. I did not mince words yesterday and spoke my piece. But I’ll continue to show up and help make it a success, because vaccinations are important.


My art like my mind yesterday was a bit jumbled. It needed sleep to sort itself.

March 10, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I felt off yesterday. I think I need to go to the beach more. You can tell from my trashart yesterday that I made during our middle management meeting. That’s what I felt like, a false Super Hero with hair that was from the orange plastic piece from the premade flour tortillas I bought at Sprouts. At least the tortillas were made locally in San Marcos.

But my art got better toward the end of the day as I was able to sort everything (my work work and my climate work) out more. I finished some butterfly art pieces and they are more cohesive now. My mind sorted itself out, and after finishing Yoga by Adrienne (just a few minutes of Yoga For When You Are Stuck) and sleeping with my phone put FAR AWAY in the bathroom – I have risen anew. Risen in the dark at 436AM and it’s raining quite a bit.


No photo description available.
Similar to the cool planter we purchased.

February 24, 2021

by drplasticker

I would usually write a Hopeful Wednesday post, but today in lieu of Hopeful Wednesday – I will just cross-post something from my real-life facebook. Our AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee is a real group of friends. And one our friends did something amazing. Here is the post.

It’s been a year of efforts, and I wanted to give a big shout out to Patty Pascual Hosking part of our AAP CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee who works on the climate advocacy/legislative side of things with us. She was helped by our colleague Jim Moseman who leads the award from Kaiser. Patty had this dream of establishing a Green Ribbon to be given out by pediatricians in our committee at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair for research on climate change. Patty is San Diego raised, and Science Fair had been a treasured part of her teenage years and she wanted to give of herself to our community and to the environment through this venue. As with things that are driven by passion, it happened. I can’t tell you how joyous I am. And thanks to Drs. Anne Marie Birkbeck-Garcia, Joe McQuaide, Cindy Fuji and Laurence Ashbacher and our premed intern UCSD student Ashley Teo for jumping on in. “The AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee has been established as a professional organization at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. The committee will judge and award the top 2 high school science projects that are most committed to the improvement in environmental health and most likely to lead to impactful environmental change. The GSDSEF is scheduled to take palce virtually on 3/15-3/18/2021.” Two high school kids will be awarded a “Green Ribbon” with a small monetary award for books, and also we decided to give each a cool concrete planter below with a native succulent. They have been ordered and on their way. These are made locally in Los Angeles by a small business, and hand poured using carbon-capture technology on site from coal and gas plants before they are released into the atmosphere. The carbon is infused with fly-ash and replaces 80% of the concrete compared to traditional methods. It’s lightweight and it’s cool, because Patty Pascual Hosking is cool as is saving the earth, science fair and empowering youth. Oh, women of color in science too since three of the judges are women pediatricians of color. Patty is too modest and I’m telling her awesome story.

And that is it. There is a Bright Vibes Feed they had reposted a quote “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet is the Belief that Someone Else Will Save It” along with the caption “We need more than a handful of environmentalists. We need 7.8 billion of them.” This is true on so many levels. We are all influencing eachother. And I know that in my small corner of the real world and virtual blogsphere, it’s not just me as a climate advocate. I have friends who are more modest (I’m the loud out there one) and they are environmentalist as well, and we’ll do this together. Hugs from Dr. Plastic Picker on this Wednesday morning. Amazing what good friends who care, and a solid night of sleep after yoga will do for my wellness.

Really funny angry snail! LOL. From fellow Asst Boss friend.

Is that snail distracting? It is such a funny angry snail. Let’s just say we had fun at a very very long middle management meeting with over 50 other middle managers where we did some middle management things. As our team abhors inefficiencies and empty platitudes, we texted eachother to relieve our inner angst. What we were angry about? No one will ever know.

But don’t be distracted by the angry nail! Yes Texas is in a deep freeze as is the rest of the country, eerily reminescent of the Day After Tomorrow movie regarding climate change. But here is Souther California the winter remains pleasant albeit somewhat colder than usual. We did have our wildfires. Maybe the conservative half of our nationa are waking up? Yes climate change means the climate is changing due to fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. But we knew this was happening. Indeed, this is why I declared on the beach a year and a half ago that I would try to save the earth. Actually it’s almost 1.5 years into my environmentalist efforts and I remain hopeful, because what use is despair? Here on this blog I talk about hope that is earned due to concrete actions. So this is why I remain hopeful.

Five Reasons to Be Hopeful 2-17-2021 About the Environment

  1. Seeds of Activism Planted 1.5 years Ago Sprouting. I’ve been everywhere telling my story. Chicken little running around telling everyone in my irreverent manner that the sky is falling, but we can actually do something about it. Yesterday I did my 3rd podcast interview within our physician group, and I agreed to because it’s another avenue for me to talk about the earth. As I sent an update email to our AAP CA3 Climate Change and Health group, I realized that I may have nudged some people to act just a little bit faster. But all around me I see my community banding together. Writing acacemic papers for the first time, attending legislative conferences, advocating for bills, agreeing to mentor students, maintaining websites, and joining in our efforts. I talked to an asthma specialist yesterday at length. He is someone I respect quite a bit, and I told him my odd story. He’s not on social media and is immersed in patient care and research. I asked him to take on an important public health role in the city, and he is thinking about it. I really hope he does it. I asked him, “what do you think? Thank you for hearing my story. He replied, “I need to think about it, but I’m oddly inspired.” He asked me “why me? why not you?” I told him the truth. “I did yoga last night and I ruminated on it. And I listen to ocean deep wave music at night, and I go to the ocean and she tells me what to do. And the ocean told me to ask you. If nature is telling you know, than the ocean will tell me someone else. And I want to activate you!” And in my own mind which I did not articulate, I thought to myself. “I want you to help me save the world. Why won’t you help me save the earth?” I await his reply.
  2. Sticking To My Morals that this is Not For Financial Gain. I received a message from someone looking for a speaker for a global youth leadership program. Initially it sounded like a great forum to activate more people. But then I found out they charge students and a pretty exorbiant amount. If anyone actually KNOWS ME, or has read this blog – they know that is counter to everything I believe in. I replied back, “The only thing is that your academy is for profit?  All my advocacy work is purposefully non monetized? I don’t support any products or paid programs. Do you guys have a non-profit branch or someway I can figure this out.  I apologize. It’s actual a big moral issue for me because all my premed advising and leadership training I’ve given is always pro-bono. ” And I posted on my personal facebook group, “I don’t need to hear the sound of my own voice just to hear it.” This is 100% true. I’m out there to raise awareness and look silly, but to make people think – wow, has this pediatrician gone mad? Or is she truly serious? This made me upset enough that I agreed to another interview with a nonprofit magazine called ShoutOutSoCal. Here Dr. Plastic Picker goes!
  3. Butterflies! 50 Doctors will be Thinking About Butterflies! This happened! This really really really happened. I have been talking about butterflies for so long. I want our organization to sign the Monarch Butterfly pledge but still can’t figure out how to do it. I’m looking into native succulent species that I can propogate myself and maybe plant in a strategic place. They are native and also attract pollinators. But in my ever irreverent obsession over butterflies, someone also had the same idea and loves the earth. So now our physician wellness program is doing a butterfly raising project with our physiciain group. This is so so so wonderful. It captures people’s imagination. As one of the administrators emailed back to me “Happy Metamorphisis” this is all so so so true. Anyway, just really happy that 50 physician familes will be thinking about butterflies. They all take care of likely over 2000 patient families and it will have cascading effects. When they realize they can raise butterflies, than they will realize they too can become eco-warriors like Dr. Plastic Picker. We need all of us to save the earth.
  4. Native West Nursery. I found it! I found a local nursery that has large scale native plants. They mostly do wholesale but have some limited retail. I may buy some of their succulents as gifts to the winners of our Youth Arts Exhibition. Their address just for my further reference is 1755 Saturn Blvd, San Diego, CA 92154. https://nativewest.com and info@nativewest.com Native succulent garden at work! Here I come. Just watch me!
  5. Fifth Reason! The Snail is So Funny. And that is it. Just your pediatrician helping me have hope and laugh a bit before you head into work and brave adult life.
My new art station!
Kholrabi and lemons from our garden! Gardening credit is my mother-in-law.

Febraury 3, 2021

It’s on the later side than when I usually blog. It’s 6:16AM and I’m sitting at my kitchen table drinking instant coffee out of my Unicef Mug that my Girl Scout Co-Troop leader gave me. She is a friend and we have a long and strong relationship. The mug like that friendship is complex. Today, I added a bit of vanilla to my coffee for the first time. I don’t need to drink instant coffee and prefer real coffee now. But we have instant, and being green and sustainable is about being flexible. I’ll need to recheck on our coffee buying habits again soon. I thought we had decided to switch over to a rainforest friendly brand? The instant Nestle keeps on popping up?


Rediscovered an old plastic thing we bought years ago. We thought we needed it. Now we will keep and cherish it, FOREVER.

December 23, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I absolutely cannot believe it’s Wednesday again, and I cannot believe Christmas is in two days. I had chatted with an old high school friend a few days ago, gathering donations for Toys 4 Tots, and she mentioned that someone told her that “it’s okay to be off.” Dr. Plastic Picker completely agrees. It is absolutely okay to be OFF, and this Christmas everyone is a bit OFF. Case in point, the kids have no desire to decorate our thrice-handed down artificial tree with their hand-made school ornaments that I’ve always cherished. It’s one of those moments that I love and always post some pictures on Facebook. They were into making the Gingerbread House which looked like someone vomited on it, but not the tree. Tells you something about being a tween/teen, and the state of their dystopian minds. I tell you, their generation is different – very dystopian and I think very much due to the state of the planetary ecologic collapse.


Reimagined coffee cup lid from Dr. Dear Friend. It’s a puppy!!! Presenting Mr. Little Blue Puppy from a Coffee Lid

December 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I’m never sure how the mornings are going to go. I was thinking when I woke up this morning, I may not write a blog because I felt overwhelmed last night. I had met with the amazing students at Sustainable Pharmacy Project at Virginia Communwealth University (I am the “spiritual volunary non-faculty advisor) and they are working on this supercool student initiated project on pharmaceutical waste. I really want to help them with this project that will help the earth, and also help our HMO get there as well. I had no idea that there were so many medications in the water supply. It makes a lot of sense to me to reduce overprescribing and ensuring safe disposal of medication waste. Then I have our two other premedical interns that were kind of floating out there. But I sent three emails to one, as we are going to organize a film screening of the movie “Gather” and that will be his project for now. And then I emailed our other intern who is more quiet, about setting up a time to catch up on the art’s exhibition.


Mr. Plastic Picker is on his own journey. He was showing off his fancy coffee grinder. It’s German. He studied German in high school.

December 2, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Today I’ll reach my monthly goal of 20 bags of trash picked from either the street or the beach. Since I live just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean and concentrate on the storm drains, I know that 100% all that litter would eventually end up in the ocean. I arbitrarily extended November into a few days into December, because this is a virtual world with my made-up rules and I just do it to keep myself accountable to the earth. I just looked at my excel spreadsheet, and I’ve picked up now 340 bags of ocean plastic pollution! Wow! That is a lot. I’m really excited to get to 500 bags eventually. I once won first place in my elementary school Olympics jump roping contest and I think got to somewhere in the 300s. It’s all about consistentcy, pacing oneself and rhythm.