Focusing On the Prize: Liveable Earth and Writing An Academic Paper and Paper Butterflies
February 10, 2021
It’s Wednesday and I haven’t blogged at least for a day or two. When I give up blogging for the day, it’s because work has been too demanding or there is a vital climate project that needs to be done. Yesterday was both. We had a middle management meeting where we are meeting with the Nutrition Department to help them and us change to offer better education on plant based diets, and also I am pushing personally to make sure offerings make sense for my patients who are predominantly part of Environmental Justice communities. The more vegetables and plant-based meals all of us eat, the more we will heal the planet and as a community. The other project that is taking some of my precious headspace (which we should all think of precious and not waste on things that are hurtful or hurtful people) is leading our American Academy of Pediatrics author group in writing our opinion piece. It was accepted and everyone is excited. Now comes the real part, we have to write the 8000-12000 word piece. I see it is an opportunity and I’ve done similar things before. It is due in 3 months, but we have to start on it now. The abstract is essentially done, our amazing premed intern has created the common google doc and we are working on the bilbiography. This is important because it is a major academic journal and we are writing about active transportation and changing the built environment to reduce both carbon emissions and address the active transport needs of children. Being able to walk around neighborhoods, bike to school in natural settings improves mental health and physical health, and wards off chronic diseases that are now occuring in adolescence.
It’s important for me to usher these two projects through, also to give more cache and power (from wherever they derive their academic/political and social power) to my collaborators in their respective communities. As we all continue to push for change and advocate, having a joint collaborative journal article behind us gives us influence. It’s the tool of the social influencer. I had a good friend text me some climate-anxiety thoughts, as she has been active in climate work for decades, long before I waded in. As someone struggling with climate work before there was the mass rising and awakening, she is convinced that change has to come from the top. For her, change has to come from politicians. In this I wholy disagree. My Assistant Boss friend who is leading the pediatric nutrition reform said as a side comment to me, “you come from a revolutionary background.” Yes. Due to my family’s history and who I am, I am an agitator. I like to shake things up. I’m shaking it up from inside the system, asking fundamental hard questions of the institions but working to improve them from within. Because I’m irreverent, I know that politicians and “people in power” will not make changes. The change comes from the people, from changing hearts and minds. This is why I do what I do, because I know the climate crisis is an existential crisis and something must be done. Every act counts, and there is no small act. Picking up litter or authoring a journal article, is all part of the movement. We all have a ripple effect. But I know this journal article already is having a larger ripple effect.
I am strategic in my activism. Dr. Plastic Picker is not stupid. I know that picking up litter itself by myself is not going to save the planet. But it is the act of sacrifice (and my getting exercise at the same time and I oddly enjoy it) by a physician that makes people pause and think. And I am ever the encourager of everyone to think, to pause and to question – question it all my friends. The system is not working right now. How can you make it better? How can you save the planet? I’m finding my way, and it’s my way and not particuarly your way. But we all need to find that path that is ours.
More of a philisophical piece I needed this morning to get myself in the mental space to knock out and complete these big projects. I feel grateful for all the opportunities that have been given me. I realize though, these opportunities are because it’s not about me at all. It’s about the planet, and there is a trust from many of my colleagues that if I am given some opportunities that I will do what is right for all of us to move the needle on climate change. That is all. Thank you for reading and it you are advocating with me, thank you for going along this crazy wonderful journey. It really does help knowing there is someone out there reading, as I’m typing into the blogsphere. I have to attend the AAP National Legislative Meeting, and our district office has designated Dr. Kaufman and myself to go and are paying for our registration. This is not a minor honor. I am honored. I had to make sure with the kids that it was okay, since we were going on vacation. We will still go on vacation, but I’ll be a few days doing this virtual conference. I have to finish up the CME project regarding the film screening Gather, as I finished the initial meeting with the CME office. [PAUSE] I just sent the email to the panel, the movie link, and sent them their tasks to complete so I can get the CME application in.
And that is it. That is what I did this morning and have as long-term projects. Oh, and there is also patient care. It’s 7AM, and I have a half day of patient care and looking forward to seeing my little patients. I made something for a few of them. They really like it usually. I think just because their own pediatrician made it. Kids know.