Plastic Picking Totals – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Plastic Picking Totals

My favorite picture of the 5 interviews, because I’m sitting next to some symptoms and looking real because my eyes are closed!

September 6, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It is 547am and I’m sitting at our new-to-us kitchen table. The previous kitchen table was a hand-me-down within our extended family at least three times. It started at my parent’s house, then my sisters, back to my moms, and then to us. We’ve had this table now about six years, as long as we’ve had our current house. Now thinking back, we were in need of a kitchen table and I think my parents were looking to upgrade. I realize the contradictions in my life, in that we had a newly built house with an old kitchen table.


On TV last week, twice.

August 27, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I made up the term “Secondary Environmental Net Positives” when I started this blog about three years ago. Has it been three years? It seems gloriously longer and blogging and picking up trash has helped me slow down time. That’s the great thing about blogging, it allows me to be creative and order the world and my life in the way that makes sense to me. There has been so many more “secondary environmental net positives” than I ever imagined when I started this whole thing. Case in point, being on local TV TWICE last week. It was all sorts of craziness and over stimulating to be honest. But it was definitely a secondary environmental net positive because San Diegans saw me talk about climate and mental health.

But here, I’m going to return to the original “secondary environmental net positive” which is other things I’ve physically done other than picking up litter, to help the earth. This blogpost category keeps me motivated as I keep track on my iphone on the notes section. So here they are!


One of the June bags!!!

July 4, 2020

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It happened!!! I finally switched my blog and all the login information over to my “new” computer which is not that new. But the “old” computer had almost a dead battery. I guess the old computer still has the DVD player which I need to use for one of our daughter’s language lesson programs. But this is a big “DONE” for me.

Dr. Plastic Picker loves getting things DONE. And what was DONE this month was 11 bags of trash and 9 salvaged items from the ocean’s edge. It’s less than my usual 20 bags a month, but June has been an epic climate month and I realize there is no race to get to 1000 bags. So here are the totals for this month. Lifetime total is now #704 bags and #1929 items salvaged. Click here to see them all!


6/11/2022 plogging bag.

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m almost at bag #700 to my #1000 goal! This month I gathered 13 bags for a grand total of 694. I gathered #11 items for a grand total of #1920 items. I’m going to dispense with the table format today. Next month I’ll be more motivated to do that.

Mostly this blog has been to keep myself accountable to the ether of the internet and blogsphere, as a fun way to keep myself motivated. I never dreamed that I would have sometimes up to 1000 unique visitors a day to this “Personal Environmental Action Blog.” But this morning was proof that this blog has meant something to me and meant something to the world, as frugal pediatrician me paid $110 a year to protect the blog against Brute Force attacks. I guess I’m a moderate sized website that deserves this protection. The blog pieces are my thoughts and my environmental journey, and a real facebook friend said that as a cherished hobby – I should spend the money. So I did.


Reusing this picture again. The last blog I left up, but the blog was painful to write.

May 11, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 608AM and our oldest will be getting up soon to take his AP Spanish Exam. He is such a good boy, a good son and a wonderful older brother. One thing I want to do different from my children is not to foster a sense of competition among them. For some reason and I was the worse at it, there was always a sense of competition among my siblings. Friendly and in good nature, but still there. I don’t want that for them. There are two of them, and when I am gone from this earth that is hopefully habitable – they will only really have each other. I want them to love each other and to support each other.

That is what I’m trying to do for our climate and health community in San Diego. My mentor Dr. Bruce Bekkar led his last meeting as Chair of the Public Health Advisory Council of Climate Actions Campaign, and I’m next up. Those are big shoes to fill, but I think I’ve figured out the role I’m meant to play. I’m meant to be everyone’s cheerleader, supporter and just to keep us connected and going. That’s the most important role I can play right now. It’s a very non-Crimson University skill. In fact it’s probably the one trait that Crimson University is horrible at. But I’m glad that trait remained nascent in my psyche and has been able to grow.


My cell phone screen shots.

April 30, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

OMG it’s April 30th today! It’s actually the anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the mass migration of Vietnamese people overseas after the communist takeover of the south. I call it Saigon, and if you call it something else – than obviously we have an issue with eachother. I didn’t notice the date until I started blogging this morning.

No one in my household really gets how important April 30th is. I love and live in a household of Koreans. This is not by design but by chance. Usually your enemy’s enemy is your friend, and I often wonder if this is why Mr. Plastic Picker and I were destined for eachother? It’s more likely he was cute and I was cute, and we were lab partners in premed biology. I can’t explain why, but I knew Mr. Plastic Picker was the one, because he smelled a certain way. It was definitely pheremones. But I often think of the colonial ramifications of our union that transecend the premedical sciences.

It’s the last day of April, and the anniversary of the fall of Saigon. It’s been a whirld-wind month of climate projects and work. Since Saigon fell, I ended up being born in the United States of America – having been conceived enroute during my parents flight from totalitarianism and communism. And then I ended up marrying a Korean boy. And this is why my children are half Korean/half Vietnamese but don’t speak much Vietnamese but love Vietnamese food. The same drama is happening all over the world, and now again in Ukraine. Greed. Limited resources. Corruption. It leads to people being displaced and creation of new alliances.


Team effort of my mother-in-law and myself.

March 5, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Good Saturday Morning Dear Readers!!! It’s Saturday morning and we are not physically where we thought we would be. I can’t tell you where we are, but we are well and alive and together as a family. Sometimes it’s important to be off the grid. Just know that your local litter-picking pediatrician continues to live a sustainable life and living my truth. I drank match green tea soy latte and walked along a beautiful part of nature with Mr. Plastic Picker. We walked hand in hand, sipping our matcha green tea soy latte, and talked about the world, our family and our love.

I also made some big decisions about my own life and leadership journey, and it was the earth that guided me. I am so gloriously happy and know I am on the right path, that I smiled and laughed with joy. A patient on Friday said, “Dr. Plastic Picker! You are glowing today. Something is different. Is it your hair?” It was not my hair, although I have switched over to a vegan hair dye. It was a decision I made about my leadership journey that felt so right, that I knew it was meant to be. Much like the moment I saw Mr. Plastic Picker is the basement at one of our college dorms doing laundry when I was a sophomore. He was a junior. I saw him and I thought to myself, “that is the father of my children.” And that is the truth. We married 5-6 years later as medical students.


My plastic army!

Febuary 9, 2022

by drplasticpicker

I am always reminded that I am only Dr. Plastic Picker, if I am continuing to pick up plastic! This month has been a pretty good month since I’ve decided to clear out Dr. Dear Friend’s office and giving myself bags of credit when I recycle or clear out a big box. It really frees my mental real estate to have her office clean, and all that paper is getting shredded and hopefully making recycled toilet paper for us all. Half of the bags are definitely from the beach as well.

I’m trying to care for myself. Yesterday was absolutely overwhelming. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish all the things I needed to finish. But I did. We had our first official AAP California State Government Affairs Expert Committee on Climate Change Within our HMO I would have a practice manager organize all of this. But in the outside volunteer world, it’s just me. But most everyone showed up and we had a very efficient quick meeting and talked climate and state-wide projects.

And then I gave another talk for the HMO. I’ve been talking a lot around the HMO, doing the work work that I get paid to do. But I’m going to have a breather soon after Monday’s talk about HPV vaccine advocacy with a respected colleague at the Women’s Health Champion meeting. And then I need to remember that having Saturday’s big climate project completed was a huge thing. Saturday and playing our part of the Rewild Mission Bay Coalition was a big milestone for us. It was such an important thing to be there.

But yes I was tired. I felt overwhelmed at the end of yesterday. Plus I’m doing one last loan application for a rental property. This rental property is such a good buy, and it’s going to be an even better buy when we solve the Tijuana Sewage issue.

But reporting out to you, our dear blog readership, how many bags I am at really keeps me focused. If you want to see my lifetime totals since adopting this eco-avatar then click here! Yes I’m at 630 bags of plastic pollution collected and 1853 salvaged items.

I’m usually happy these days, but I think recently I’ve been neglecting myself. It’s so important dear earth friends to take care of yourself. I’m going to try to get to the beach today and do a bag. Those bags are the most restorative. But I was tired yesterday and a bit frustrated. I told Mr. Plastic Picker – I may just finish my 1000 bags and disappear into the night. But that was the darkness speaking, and now it’s 542 AM and the sun is about to rise and Dr. Plastic Picker is reborn. I’m even helping sell Girl Scout cookies for my daughter this morning.

So here is January 2022 totals and proof that Dr. Plastic Picker picks up plastic! Sending green hugs to all my plant-based friends, those that eat lots of plants and those that are plants.

January 2022 Plastic Picking Totals! 22 bags and 27 items!

Aluminum Cans3Recycled
Plastic Bottles1Recycled
Glass Containers1Recycled
Office Supply Items7Upcycled

Click here to see how many bags I picked in the subsequent month!

Bag 608 and 609!!!

January 3, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Please forgive me dear reader because I did not meet the monthly bag picking total this month. I usually set out to do at least 20 bags but this month picked up 12 bags. It was December and my need to get outside and reconnect was less this month, because I was reconnecting with the Broca and Wernicke’s area of my brain that controls the Korean language part. I pretty much binge-watched all the relevant Korean dramas on netflix and I’m done now. Yes, I can be a bit obsessive. But I think it’s because my Broca and Wernicke’s area of my brain were on fire. I was even picking up some North Korean words from “Crash Landing On You.” Really good drama, Korean or otherwise, by the way. If you love good love stories without the gratuitious stuff and more of the emotional scaffolidng and traditional values, I highly recommend it. Plus the North Korean captain who multiple time sacrifices everything for the South Korean cosmetic CEO who mistakenly lands over on the North Korean side of the DMZ zone via a freak Wizard of Oz-esque toronado during a paragliding trip is really handsome. Just a big sigh when you think about him, and her, and their entire improbable romance.


21 bags for November. Not bad!!!

by drplasticpicker

Even green “friends” can be unkind. What does it mean when someone tells you “You clearly have energy” with a certain tone of voice and expression? I was at an HMO Green Team meeting and I heard those words. I know we have competing pressures on our time, but my friends and I were there essentially on our free time. This is not one of our paid positions. And this particular person is paid to do this. It’s part of their job description. Does it mean “you clearly have energy, but lack clarity.” “You clearly have energy, but lack authority.” “You clearly have energy, buy lack direction.” “You clearly have energy, but are unable to articulate.” I know in my heart that is not what that person meant, but in my mind knowing that comment was directed at me who was the most senior woman leader there in that particular tone of voice – affected me. It’s funny how these running dialouges we probably all have in our head and we all bring our own particular histories to these make-believe scripts.

But my friends were there, and the meeting was productive and I’ve know been able to vent some of my frustrations here on the blog. Meetings and committees are all difficult. But we moved the work forward by stating our case that we needed some help, and we’ll move forward with the other person assigned to our work.

So here I am back on the blog, and dear reader – thank you. I haven’t posted as much the last month but the traffic has been steadily rising still. I can’t believe I’m at 596 bags of plastic pollution averted! Salvaged 1810 items from landfill. Click here to see my totals page!

November 2021 Plastic Picking Totals! 21 bags and 46 items!

Aluminum Cans14Recycled
Plastic Bottles12Recycled
Sand Toys0
Flip Flops0
Clothing Items2Donated
Glass Containers3Recycled
Tennis Balls0
Swim Goggles0
Office Supply Items14Used

Honestly every month I come back to the blog and I know I’ve trudged forward. I’ve trudged forward toward my goal of 1000 bags (wow 596 bags is a lot!). And I’m trudged forward in my efforts to save the planet. I irritated some people yesterday at a meeting, and they irritated me back. But I know they are green friends and even green friends that say non-ideal things want to save this earth. And then I had a fun and very impactful meeting with AAP Climate Change and Health friends from our new super-cool committee (State Government Affairs!!!) and we discussed some upcoming legislative stances we want to take. We divided up the work and went forward on more climate work.

It’s so important to fill up your earth-agent/green super hero tank with goodness. yesterday was watching some K-dramas and practicing my Korean. It was silly but fun. I’m drinking matcha green tea soy latte, and I’m looking outside our wet backyard with the rainbarrels having caught as much rain from the sky as possible. I’m happy this morning because mother nature watered the urban rooftop garden, watered the backyard container garden, watered our front garden, watered the HMO parking garage succulent garden, and she’s working so hard. She’s working to cleanse the world and heal. For me this is a spiritual journey as well as a practical one. It’s practical because I want a liveable planet for all our children. But it’s spiritual because I know we are part of this larger cosmic battle between inaction and action, hopelessness and hope, disinterest and attention, fatigue and energy, good and evil. You have to choose which side you will be on. I choose the light. I choose hope. I choose action. So maybe when that person said “You clearly have energy” she saw my light. Please dear readers and go forth and be part of the light. The darkness is coming. It threatens to overwhelm us, but you can choose the light.

The Green Dragon that is our HMO has awoken, but it needs to wake up a little faster.