Climate Reality Training: Reminded me that I’m a Pediatric Asthma Doctor and You are a Butterfly
July 26, 2020
There are a lot of environmental advocacy groups out there. Now we started another one, our American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Climate Change and Health Committee for our local chapter. There was a California bill AB 345 the oil and gas setbacks bill. Between the AAP Climate Change and Health coalition of all 4 California chapters, Climate Health NOW (which overlaps with many AAP Climate Change members), PHAC and Climate Action Campagins, and Climate Reality Leadership Group and my just being on the litter-picking Instagram committee – I literally received 20 emails about this. I had already signed a personal letter, and had already sent it to our committee. Our AAP Climate Change and Health local chapter already endorsed it. Bruce Bekkar is writing a letter on behalf of PHAC Climate Action Campaigns. And now we need individual members to lobby specific state representatives about it. And during our Climate Reality Training first local meeting, it came up again. And I get it, this one is important. The elephant in the room is climate emmissions, and this helps reduce emissions. There are a lot of climate groups and a lot of concerned citizens, and we all want the same thing.
That cacophany is beautiful. It can be disorienting for sure. There are so many passionate voices out there right now. I’m trying to focus on AAP Climate Change and Health, and learning about the myriad of climate voices out there reaffirms that I need to stay where there is a vacuum and the vacuum is within my profession. The fourteen committee members in our group would not otherwise be doing focused environmental work, so providing the framework for them to be active in climate work within the confines of our professional society while giving them positive easy projects to work on. We have out Youth Arts Exhibition to plan, a new Science Fair & Engineering Award, and two premedical interns and a high school intern to mentor on climate change and health work.
Today is technically the last day of the virtual Climate Reality Leadership Training program. It has been challenging but inspiring. There are 21,000 trained Climate Reality Leaders trained since Vice President Al Gore started this group after the Inconvienent Truth. This training since it was virtual and during the pandemic, activates an amazing 10,000 more climate leaders. 10,000 more people in two weeks. I have to finish Module 3: Research Climate Impacts and Solutions and Module 4: Complete an After Action Report and I am going to actually work on pediatric asthma. It’s funny how this volunteer environmental advocacy work dovetails with my actual work. I’ve been working on pediatric asthma quality metrics for over a decade, and pediatric asthma completely dovetails with air quality and pollution. I’m probably going to tie in some of my anti-vaping advocacy as well.
I saw an injured butterfly yesterday when I ran toward the beach to get bag #236 and #237. I think the little butterfly made it, as I had gently nudged it with a leaf toward the safer grass area. And then while I was listening to the Climate Reality Training and Al Gore speak, I made the trash art piece below. I call it, Mutated Insect from electronic waste including vaping pens. Pediatric asthma patients living in an increasingly polluting world are like the injured monarch butterfly I saw yesterday. Right now I can save them individually, there is still time. But if we don’t put our full efforts into slowing climate change, there will be just these mutated insects. I may seem the happy go-lucky pediatrician picking up bag after bag of ocean plastic pollution, but you see where my mind wanders when I’m working with trash. My mind wanders to the coming mass extinctions and insect apocolypse. Won’t you help? Let me know if you are interested in any additional Climate Advocacy training. Climate Reality Leadership training is a big committment and I do recommend it. But I am now empowered to activate you. And trust me, I will. Dr. Plastic Picker is every persistent and with true GRIT. I’m going to help save this earth with the other 10,000 leaders who finished their training this weekend, and that are joining another 31,000 Climate Reality Leaders worldwide. And I’ve realized now that not only are pediatric asthma patients like injured butterflies, but so are all of us. But we can be healed and we can fly, if only we try to heal nature first. My task is to nudge you onto the path that is safer and where you to heal herself.