Uncategorized – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Uncategorized

This was an epic bag.

May 10, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s Tuesday morning and it looks like the middle management meeting was cancelled today. I don’t worry too much about office politics anymore, am I purposefully being left off emails? How are things running? It’s probably my overactive imagination anyway. Many people can be thoughtless, and I don’t think I’m that important to be the target of any political machinations. You have to care about someone to let them hurt you, and honestly thinking of everyone as just part of nature has helped me. You don’t get mad at compost nor at the carnivorous insects that devour a carcass? It’s part of the cycle of life, right? And I honestly think that is true for many human relationships as well. I met a young new doctor yesterday in the program that I used to run, and things were not going smoothly. I had written my workflow out many times when I was asked. It’s funny that I had written out step by step my workflow, and even those that had asked for it – I don’t think ever read it? I found it in my files when I was trying to get the new young doctor settled in. I was there and provided her supports and checked in on her, but it’s not my job anymore. I decided to let that part of life go and I’m forever grateful I did. It’s not anyone’s fault just the system is not running smoothly. The system will sort itself out. It’s not my job anymore.

With that, I’m so lucky to have meaningful work – both my work work and my volunteer climate work. I was a doctor yesterday and saw many patients. Lots of kids with fever and lots of my own patients. With each interaction, I felt I left each family a bit better. I addressed parents concerns, and sometimes I just listened. I shared their burdens. It’s funny how that simple thing can be very hard in the cacophany of our modern world, but it’s sometimes the most important. If I as a doctor don’t acknowledge their illness and their symptoms, than did it happen? I need to acknowledge. I need to witness. I need to be present.


My favorite piece that was already sold.

April 8, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 528am and our daughter has returned from her epic-once-in-a-lifetime school trip. So far no COVID. I had a fleeting sore throat and it’s gone now. My teenage son and I also took a rapid home covid test, which were both negative. It’s a Friday and it’s payday, and this is when I usually do the accounting for the family and the impact I’ve had on the earth.


Beautiful Doctors’ Day Celebration at our HMO office.

April 3, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Life has been blessed in my imaginary world. It seems like sometimes a dream, where there is eco-avatar me choosing wellness and peace and to be fight the existential crisis of climate change. In my imaginary world, I chose to leave the world of metrics and petty office politics and just to live life with joy and purpose. I chose to just wake up every day and think, what can I do today to stop this existential crisis? And in this imaginary world, very close is the nightmare that awaits us if the rest of humanity does not wake up. So who is living in an imaginary world of petty office politics and metrics and budgets, and who is living in the reality of rising carbon emissions and a world still mired in worrying about retirement age? Will there be a livable world to retire in?

It’s been the longest I’ve gone without blogging. There is enough material on the blog for folks to meander and read, and hopefully be somewhat inspired. Forgive my grammatical errors, I do try to peruse back once in a while to correct. But it’s real me, typing fast and furious in the morning at times or slow and reflective during others – just getting some writing practice in and journaling /blogging.

Last week was definitely an epic week for climate work. I’m participating in a panel at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology National Conference on climate change. It’s a really catchy title. Then last week, I worked with four of our interns on their writing projects and other projects. So mostly last week was helping our interns move forward with their climate and health projects, which is really what I’m concentrating on these days.

But just wanted to let you know that I’m here! I’m well. One of my climate dreams came true. A good green friend from the San Diego Audubon Society brought his lovely family to our farm, and took a well deserved rest and vacation there. I’m trying to figure out how to break even on that property. It doesn’t cost me much at all, but it’s financially prudent to figure something out. There aren’t enough truffles to harvest so I’m looking into perhaps a wilderness medicine elective model. For now, since it’s already costing me some money – I’m saving the earth some carbon and my friends’ some money, by inviting close climate friends to stay there for free. I figure we are all connected, and the earth there will feel the love of my friends and nature will guide them in their next step.

A portion of our Save The Date for the Arts Exhibition.

March 17, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Just about 30 minutes until I have to be at one of the dwindling number of middle management early monthly meetings I have to go to. I forget why I ever wanted to be at this particular meeting when I was younger? I think back then the personal dynamics of those older that were in charge was interesting to me, just like sitting in the high school cafeteria as you watch the different cliques walk by and place them in the social hierarchy. But this particular group has lost my interest and I’ve decided to move on to more interesting people and work.

But yesterday was almost too much for me. It was an epic day. Two years of slow work an coordination and ideas flowing back and forth between my office and Dr. AF. #WeBorrowTheEarthFromOurChildren is a reality. The Youth Arts Exhibition on Climate Change was made real, as the art work was displayed and the children artists came and KPBS came.

Dr. AF was interviewed. I was interviewed. Our teenage son who headed the poetry section, and two eloquent child climate #artivists spoke about their work. It could not have gone more perfectly. I’ve rewatched my interview and the other speakers, and the authenticity and the passion and the message that climate change is real and it’s a crisis that needs to be addressed now landed perfectly. I’ve talked so much about the intersection of climate and health, and those phrases came out easily and naturally. “Climate change is a pediatric public health crisis.” “Kids understanding so fundamentally what we adults make way too complicated.” “This is an existential crisis.” “Adults need to do more, the kids showed up.” We could not have orchestrated a better session. But the funny thing, is that it was not orchestrated at all. My email to the group being interviewed was as follows.


Unfinished climate project.

March 9, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 551am and I’m slowly getting back to a normal schedule. Getting up early and blogging and doing climate projects in the early morning are the healthiest for me. I had a very fun detour into Kdrama binge-watching land, but I turned it off yesterday and went to bed. It was a wonderful detour. But it’s back to trying to save this dear planet of ours.

There is so much to do, but it’s important to make it sustainable and make it joyful. One of the projects I’m working on is just answering questions for a blogpost that will go up on the AAP San Diego website for Women’s History Month. I was invited to submit my profile. I need to take this seriously and do it thoughtfully, because our local AAP has been an amazing force in helping me literally clean up our local area and move climate legislation locally and state-wide.


“Floating weed” from Korea has anti-cancer properties.

January 28, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We all live in our own personal vortexes of pain, grief and suffering. We all have different fears, worries and anguish. It’s hard to be a doctor and it’s hard to be a pediatrician. We live within not only our own vortex, but the emotionally vortexes of our patients – some of whom are very sick. And then there is the planetary vortex of air pollution, changing climate and species extinction.

I’m still plugging along on the climate work. Met with policy people at Children’s Now, which is a California based advocacy group. https://www.childrennow.org/ I had never heard of them before, but was asked to meet with them on behalf of the AAP California State Government Affairs Committee on Climate Change. I was tired and I had no idea who these people were, but I learned a lot. They seem to have a lot of money and resources, and now want to work in the climate and health space. I’m sure I sounded at times inarticulate but I told them about the climate and health space I am coming from, and most importantly I showed up.

Rewild Mission Bay work is continuing and I sent an organizing email out to our friends to get organized because it’s happening in a week. I think we’ll be okay. I talked about this work at the meeting with Children’s Now, and I know it probably seemed unrelated – but it’s about getting projects done. I can only do what I can do from where I am. They have a lot of money and people. I probably expressed some of my frustration. I don’t know what the answer is, but certainly they are part of the answer and I hope they step up. For physicians, we tend to be goal oriented and like to do things. The endless talking gets tiresome.

But talking is important and I know it’s impactful. My talking with the two policy people from Children’s Now was not as impactful. It’s hard when you don’t have a connection with someone and you are meeting on Zoom for the first time. But they are going to start talking to a lot of other climate people. Hopefully something happens. I’m sure they will be in there with the rest of us soon.

But mostly today I’m here on the blog to remember that I have a friend who is really sick. I’m sad. My family is trying to help however we can. This friend loves the earth and is fighting for life. How do you heal? For this friend, it’s through food, love, the earth and believe in miracles. And that is true for the earth as well.

Picture I sent my friend because she loves birds too.
Rooftop garden is blooming with succulents and unexpected.

December 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Merry Christmas to the blog’s readership. My brain has literally been exploding because I’ve been immersed in Korean dramas. I’m taking a break right now but honestly I think it was really good for me. Language function is located in the left hemisphere of the brain mostly, Broca’s area which is associated with speech production and articulation and Wernicke’s area which associated with comprehension. My Broca and Wernicke areas are exploding like the leaves of my succulent rooftop garden after the much needed rrain. I think the Korean part pushed out the Spanish part, and I need to let it dry out for a bit before watching any more dramas. If you need something great to watch, definitely check out “Hospital Playlist” which was recommended to me by my brother. It’s really good. I’m rooting for the pediatric surgeon and his love interest, the general surgery resident to make it long term.


Wow. It was really good.

December 7, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’ve known Eric Nedelman as a parent of my patients for well over a decade. We’ve chatted about their kids and life, and gone through the normal markers of childhood for their children. But he handed two CDs to me last visit. I have been handed CDs in the past, but for some reason I finally found a computer that has a CD player and popped in the CD. It’s really good. I’m amazed at the talent and creative works we all have around us, that often go unnoticed or not appreciated. I wonder who reads my blog sometimes. I put my heart and soul into my writing, grammatical errors and all. It feeds my soul. And for Eric Nelelman, this CD is very good. Check out https://unpavedhighway.com/index.html. The album was created back in 1994. That was the heyday of my high school years so maybe that is why the music resonates with me.

I particularly liked track one and four. One is “Back at Home” and four is “Stand Up.” We are honored to start putting together the 2022 AAP Youth Arts Exhibition on Climate Change and Health, and it’s going to be at a large Hillcrest art gallery and the owner has donated the entire space for the month. We’ve never done anything like this before. But part of the exhibition will be experential and I’m going to ask Eric if we can play Track one and Track four at certain areas in the art gallery. The entire point of the exhibition is to highlight the understanding and perception San Diego County’s children have on the state of the earth, and then the artistic and real prescriptions their pediatricians are doing to adddress this.

My colleague and creative mastermind behind this Dr. AF says we should do an Exhibition Catalouge. I’m all for it! He eve has someone who wants to work on it. So here we go, doing something we have never done before. We need to wake people up and we will do it through the art work of our children and our own creative projects that address climate change as the single greatest threat to our children. If not us, who? If not now, when? And part of the how, is through our own storytelling.

Screenshot from National Geographic

October 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s been a whirlwind week. I got kind of distracted by the entire avGas project in Clairemont. We do need to remove lead from the environment, because the more developmental delay and dyslexia and behavioral disorders we have – the more social discord we have and that has led to a lot of everything. Everything is related. But I need to refocus on climate change and carbon emissions. Really no one should be flying these little propellar planes to begin with. Leaded or unleaded aviation gasoline. It’s helped me understand the leaded pollution issues in our local area more, which will help me with my work projects. It’s helped our advocacy intern find an important academic niche, and draw more people into our sphere of influence. But back to the most important issue at hand, climate change.

I try to have hope on this blog, but it’s hard when you see the issue at hand. We are not even close. COP26 is meeting and as someone who has gone to my own meetings, it’s just a huge upper management meeting. But we know change comes from the masses, the people. And that is where I’m trying to make the changes. We need less talking and more doing. And more doing with joy, that will show the world that saving the earth will bring us all healing.

I’m only on bag 13 for this month, and I only have really two more days to go. I try to get to 20 bags a month, but if I can get to 15 bags this month than I’ll be happy. Maybe if I can get to the beach early this morning which will be really good for my mental health as well, than I can get more bags and reach my monthly goal of 20. Did you hear that Boyan Slat of the Ocean Clean Up is actually now cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? And the famous YouTuber Mark Rober is doing another fundraising thing for him and it might happen sooner than later? I’ve definitely noticed less trash on my stretch of the Pacific that I’ve taken ownership of. That’s what we all need to do, grab an area and own it. That’s how we tackle with climate change. Realize the interrelatedness of it all, and work cooperatively and joyfully together.

So far in my personal journey, I’m at 573 bags of trash. I’ve salvaged already #1775 things from the environment, and this month I’ve actually recycled 78 things mostly aluminum cans from the environment! Recycling aluminum is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do. We’ve been most impactful in our donations, and have donated enough to preserve the below. Wow, almost a million trees – just our family.

14,697 Acres Land/Ocean

936, 780 Trees 

This past week, we also voting in a pro-climate board to the San Diego Bicycle Coalition. Governor Gavin Newson announced steps to enact 3,200 feet setbacks from gas/oil wells which will reduce our oil production by 30%. This will also improve the respiratory health of much of LA. I connected with Dr. Elizabeth Friedman in Kansas City, and want to try to help her organize in Kansas City climate and health advocates and help galvanize some interest at the Pediatric Academic Societies around climate and health reserach. We are giving two big climate talks as part of work, at the county Live Well Conference and also at our big MSA. This early morning blogging helps me organize my mind and my climate work. I’m now realizing it was an impactful week, and I am able to do it and pace myself and self care at the same time.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful and sustainable weekend. Reducing your personal carbon footprint is the first step. But systems change is easier than you think, if we all speak up! Well this is Dr. Plastic Picker going to regenerate this weekend so that I can continue to speak up for all of us. Thank you for being YOU – DEAR READER.