Dr. Lori Byron: Pediatric Environmental Activist and My Mentor #8
September 2, 2020
An unexpected gift of embarking on Dr. Plastic Picker a year ago is the mentors I have gained along this journey. Dr. Lori Byron is one of my environmental mentors that I met through the American Academy of Pediatrics. She leads the national group of pediatric climate advocates that represents all our states and territories, and corrals our group toward national action on climate change. Dr. Lori Byron is past president of the Montana AAP Chapter, and spent most of her career practicing in the Indian Health Service. She is semi-retired now, and spends most of her time coordinating climate action within our profession. But most importantly, she is encouraging and kind and experienced. She has guided me through my fits and starts on climate activism. I sometimes feel like a college freshman, emailing her our small wins and awaiting words of encouragement via email. Most importantly, she is so cool! Here she is in the picture above biking in the Arctic Circle.
Thank you to my friend and mentor Dr. Lori Byron for agreeing to be interviewed by Dr. Plastic Picker! Early on I told her about my alter-ego and she cheered me along the way and “got me.” She is the one who encouraged me to complete the Climate Reality Training, and was herself trained early on in climate activism. Here is our interview with Dr. Lori Byron!
What kind of coffee mug did you use this morning?
One that says GOT POLIO? Me neither. Thanks to vaccines.
Do you carry a reusable water bottle? Can you describe it?
It is a leftover from my daughter – OSU for Oregon State. With a few enviro stickers!
Your last trip to the grocery store, did you use a reusable grocery tote? Can you describe it? One was red, a gift from a patient from Texas, advertising renewable energy. The other was a funeral home bag from when my mother died. Don’t know why the funeral home chose to advertise on a grocery bag!
What kind of car do you drive and how many miles per gallon do you get? How far is your commute to work?
A Chevy Bolt – it goes 240 miles on a charge and uses about 30 kWh for 100 miles, so 70 kWh, which is $5.60 for me (our electric is really cheap here). If I have to go far the next day, I have to drive the Prius – 16 years old with 350,000 miles and still has the original battery! (There are no high speed charging stations for non-Teslas in Montana yet.)
What things have you done for the environment lately?
I spend about 40 hours a week doing volunteer climate advocacy, and work about 25 hours – all night shifts. I testified to EPA on Monday. I have 4 virtual appointments this week with other energy advocacy groups in Montana. I am preparing to give a talk in 3 weeks for the Faith, Science Climate Action Montana group. I am writing a blog for ecoAmerica. I am chair of the Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate and we have no staffer, so that takes some time every day. And I organize the group of pediatric chapter climate advocates which takes about 10 hours a week. I also co-chair the Health Team for Citizens Climate Lobby.
What are your feelings about drplasticpicker?
She is very cool. I cannot believe she has so much energy in addition to her ‘real’ job…doing radio interviews, working with the Children’s Art Council, mentoring pre-med interns who in turn, help her with climate work. We need to clone Dr Plastic Picker!
And thank you Dr. Lori Byron! I attend our monthly national climate call with joy because I know I will hear your voice. I am grateful for the continued collaboration on national climate projects. And more importantly, thank you for setting an example of what a life of service to the earth looks like and living that example with joy. I’ve never quite had a mentor that is as cool as you, and thank you for truly “seeing me” – the real life me and the Dr. Plastic Picker me!
Oh, and she makes her own peanut butter too! https://drplasticpicker.com/the-road-to-fise-so-easy-homemade-peanut-butter/
Click here to read another inspiration MD interview! Dr. Luis Castellanos https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-luis-castellanos-cardiologist-doing-his-part-for-the-environment-7/