Trash Art – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Trash Art

I absolutely lone this little guy. I know some kid is going to be very happy to take him home.

May 2, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I don’t have as much time to blog and write. I know I am still blogging daily but it’s not the quiet and creative writing that I enjoy. I am okay. I appreciate everyone reading. I’m pulled to do climate work which is meaningful and impactful, but I come back here just to be me – silly Dr. Plastic Picker. The way I decide what goes on this blog, is what make me truly happy and joyful. And above is a little friend I made that made me so happy.

In between trying to get comments from academic pediatrician friends on our upcoming journal article, working on the conclusion and citations, sending emails, helping others with their applicatiosn for various board positions, and generally doing things to help the earth – I sometimes make these funny little wine-cork people. Here are some more.

All beach trash but collected by an Instagram friend. I’ve been sorting through her stash.
This one is it’s twin with the same body. The arms are actually an old hanger I had fun trying to take apart.

And the three wine-cork people I made together. Here they are as friends.

Three wine-cork friends.

Even beach trash wine-cork people need friends. They travel in groups of three. I’m post my litter picking totals tomorrow. I got to 20 this month!

April 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The above is a dear little trash art piece from a patient. Isn’t he darling???!!! They are all found pieces. He looks like a new species of bug. I really love him and this particular child is so creative! Look at those eyes and those atennas! I feel so lucky to be this child’s pediatrician, to know this family in all their complexities, and to have inspired this creative moment. Be creative. Make trash art. Write. It feels really good. That’s it. That’s my blogpost for today. And here is more plastic that has a complex story to it, that has been thrive washed and will be part of an epic Girl Scout Trash Art Piece.

Yes. It’s totally abstract.
I love him. To love fully is to love without restrictions. I let him go.

April 24, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The last week was such a creative time for my trash art. I was at the same time doing a lot of climate work that I know will be very impactful. At those times that I know I have a project that will move the needle on climate change, I get inspired and make the best art. The above are two trash art pieces that I’ve profiled before, but I’ve used one of those portrait/painting apps and made them more abstract. Gosh those two pieces were good. I just smile every time I think about them and the process that went into them. They are at the home of a patient family that I know well, and one parent is an FBI agent. I’m pretty sure he will find those two amusing. The two children who know possess the two pieces had big smiles on their faces. Giving them the two pieces was a big production. I was telling the four year old, “he is a ninja eco-warrior and his hands go like this to fight pollution” and then I made edward scissor-hand type chopping movements. There was a lot of laughter as the two trash art pieces went to their new home. I was reluctant to give them away, but that’s the entire point of the trash art. It’s an act of creativity and advocacy for me. The kids are now showing me some of their trashart, and they are so imaginative. I am looking forward to our Youth Arts Exhibition and what the kids come up with. If you haven’t checked it out, the entry page is on our San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air page


I really love him. He was broken and I fixed him.

April 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s Thursday and I’m OFF today. I’m OFF, because I’m working this Sunday. If you need a physical, I actually have a couple of PE slots open! Come on in! So I’m OFF today because we’ve tweaked the departmental schedule to reduce MD overtime yet still provide some services on the weekends. For everyone it has been different, but for me it is a fine thing. I don’t mind doing a Sunday morning clinic while the kids are in virtual Korean lessons anyway, and I have all of today to concentrate on climate work. Work-life balance and become more minimalistic for me has meant being able to care for myself and now care for the earth.

That’s the thing about being a Climate Advocate or as I tell everyone now, I’m an environmentalist. There is no day off. Every day is a climate work day. So today my to do list for Climate is

  1. Finish formatting THE JOURNAL ARTICLE in word with the citations. Finish the edits. Send to my co-author friends.
  2. Speak with UCSD School of Medicine Civic Engagement Club at lunch.
  3. Attend AAP-CA3 Committee Chair Meeting. It’s also called CAC which is confusing because Climate Actions Campaign goes by CAC too. I actually forget what CAC stands for at the AAP-CA3.
  4. Begin Coordinated our campaign for a Pediatrician for the “Hearing Committee” for the Air Pollution Control Board. This is an important more “behind the scences” position (I think). But we have an interested and very qualified candidate. I just need them to decide and let me know by today so I can coordinate our efforts.

And that is it! That is what I am going to do for the earth today. Oh, I may make more trash art. It actually helps me concentrate. I’m still keeping him for myself. I know a kid will love him, but I’m still in first puppy love with my little trash art owl.

54 attendees to the Oregon Pediatric Society meeting, authentic connections.

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I am proud of our teen son this morning. I’m up later than usual at 6am. I was watching “The Crown” last night, and it’s okay. I don’t consume much media or popular entertainment these days, because I think the life in the real world and trying to save the earth is more interesting. But I did watch a few episodes, and was up just a bit later than usual. In about an hour, I’ll plog to the rec center. Surfrider is cleaning PB this morning, so with all those people there – I’ll go where it is more neglected and applaud them on Instagram.


Green felt butterflies.

April 17, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We had pan seared salmon last night. It’s such an easy dish and so delicious. Then I did potatoes in the Instapot again for the second time, and again its so easy. I’m not sure what I was doing the last forty years. I guess Instapots only came out a few years ago, so maybe that is why. But the Instapot potatoes became mashed potatoes to compliment the pan seared salmon so easily. I didn’t even realize we had a masher. Not sure where we inherited it, but it’s such a useful thing to have.


Not yet ready for prime time!

April 13, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We are almost there. This morning I’m testifying at the National AAP Legislative Advocacy Conference, and will make brief comments when we speak with Representative Scott Peters Office. I have to make sure I shower and look presentable for Senator Padilla’s meeting as well. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the National AAP Legislative Advocacy Conference, but I am impressed and inspired and honored to have been voluntold to go. The three members of the AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee now have a broader skillset to apply to stopping this climatic disaster that still looms ahead of us.

I think the thing that differentiates me from others that are dabbling their toes in climate work, is that I’m existentially terrified. I know deep in my heart what is looming if we don’t act now. So that’s why I’m running around work, the blogsphere, and now the AAP trying to do whatever I can to recruit more people to help. Honestly, I don’t have the answer. I’m completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training, finished Project Drawdowns video modules, immersed in the Climate Change and Health advocacy world – and I don’t have the answer. The reason I don’t have the answer, is the answer is all of us. Literally all of us have to do something, anything and we are already late to the game.

But I also understand people, and people need to be inspired. So I’m just running around the world trying to inspire people and putting people in positions where I think they can help save the earth. That is it. I’m good at completing project and connecting people, that is my super power. Litter connects us all.

That is why I’m really excited about having almost pushed across the finish line the Youth Art Contest. I’ll be posting the details soon. It is drawing together a lot of people in authentic connections, and it will go live soon. No matter how many entries it gets, it will be a good thing. And that is it. Just proud that the site was completed as a group effort of several people, and now the kids are going to get to comment on it. The site will go live soon and the pictures will start rolling in.


March 28, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I enjoy my life. Before middle school, my family did not seem to have a lot in material wealth. My father worked a lot. I don’t remember seeing him much as he was at the office building his business until 9pm most nights. At home, we lived very frugally but always seemed to have more than enough. My mother is a phenomenol home-chef so we always had nutrtious and delicious Vietnamese food, which I realize now was heavy on seafood and plants. We were in good public schools. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, and I had cousins to play with that lived next door. My mom took us to the library anytime we asked, so I spent a lot of time as an elementary school student at the library just reading. And that was life. Filled with family squabbles with cousins and siblings, running around like mad children in the woods behind our house and having backyard chickens before they were cool. My grandparents would have garage sales frequently where they bought things at other garage sales and then sold their stuff at a markup. I thought they were brilliant.


Plasticfish looking left.
Plasticfish looking right.

March 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m sitting down at the kitchen table and only my father-in-law is up. He is boiling water and drinks some kind of healthy concoction that is definitely organic and plastic-packaging free. He is very healthy, and never let’s the outside world really dictate or influence how he lives his life. Much of why I am the way I am is from the loved ones around me. For our family, the remnant of the “old ways” are just a generation away. I think this is why I feel like a less-plastic life is so attainable. My in-laws have lived such healthy lives and have never wasted much, and they are rich in the things that matter – family, time, health and love. What more can one ask for?


Creative mornings.

March 23, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s 5am, and I’ve been up for already 1.5 hours. I fell asleep early last night, and at 3am I wasn’t sure if I should start my day. But my body said, get up Dr. Plastic Picker – get up Dr. Plastic Picker. I am working on a journal article of the Built Environment and Environmental Justice with four other AAP Climate Advocates, so that article is on my mind. I should be able to write a lot of it today. My section is only about 1000 words which is the length of a blogpost. But it’s a “real article” and I have to get in the emotional and intellectual space to write it.