Journal of Applied Research in Children: I Really Need To Finish My Section
March 24, 2021
Everything turned out fine yesterday. I made a lot of headway on several important work projects, creating a newsletter template and have some fun sections that other pediatricians contributed. We tweaked the pediatric schedules in the evenings and weekends a bit, to open up more appointments for needed PE access and vaccines. Even the Medi-CAL Performance Improvement Project Update is going to be fine, because one meeting was cancelled and I moved the other meeting up, so my colleague and I will have an hour to hash things through and type out the proposed project workflow. We’ll have an hour before the official meeting, which should be more than enough time to put things together. This will also be an upcoming publication for us. Maybe I should bring this computer with me, as it has the citation software that I’m using for the article I’m procrastinating on.
I made pizza dough which is actually WHOY Pizza dough LOL. I composted yesterday and interacted with Aerobin 400 on Instagram. I even showed up at Climate Actions Campaign Public Health Advisory Board meeting where I am one of the key members of our Board, and even reviewed the minutes before hand – which I have not done ever before for any meeting before. I stopped by my mom’s house to pick up Vietnamese Spring Rolls she made for us for dinner, and dropped up half of the Whoy Pizza Dough I made. It rose wonderfully by the way, and we are going to have it for dinner. I even reviewed Vietnamese with my daughter and called my sister and suggested a new topic for her next PodCast Life At Anchor (you should check it out if you’ve never heard it), it’s super fun. So essentially I did everything I needed and didn’t need to do, but didn’t finish what I really wanted to do – because I am unsure of myself. I have been blogging consistently for a year and a half now, and writing for me is fun. I’m really writing for my patients and their families and my friends, and sending silly and irreverent things into the blogsphere. I’m not sure why I’m questioning myself? I think because this piece is academic writing which I was always told was different than regular writing. That doesn’t make sense to me. Writing is communicating, And through this article that I’m lead author with five our amazing people, I need to communicate something really important in order to save the earth. If you will bear with me, perhaps typing out this blogpost will help me write this darm thing this afternoon.
We are writing a paper on Built Environmentments, and how the built environment in the United States of America as it is now in most of the country is not good. Essentially how man has terraformed this world into cities and suburbs is driving climate change and actually hurting children, especially those who live in what we call Environmental Justice communities. Sidewalks don’t connect, and there aren’t sidewalks. Schools are not located near the communities they serve. Kids can’t walk to school. There are not enough trees. There aren’t enough trails and green spaces and canopies. How our actual towns and cities are laid out, determines how we get to places determines how our bodies move. And How our towns and cities are laid out and the green spaces we chose to preserve or regenerate, determines what kind of air we breath and what amount of particulate matter we breath in. Literally our built environment terraforms our bodies, we are connected to the environment around us.
How our built environment looks has been controlled by forces and players that have never thought about children, and certainly not brown nor black children. And as the world warms, if we do not radically and quickly reimagine what our built environment looks like – we will miss the opportunity to decrease carbon emissions from cities and towns, and miss the opportunity to regenerate our cities and towns into environments that will make our bodies move without fossil fuels and safely. We will miss the opportunities to surround ourselves with green spaces and green canopies that will literally filter the PM2.5 before our mucosal membranes and lungs need to filter out the particulate matter and it creates an inflammatory cascade in our body. There are real health effects of living in a harsh built environment, and there are real health benefits for the planetary and child health of living in a regenerative built environment.
Pediatricians are not invited to the table to talk about how our world looks like. Last night when I attended the Public Health Advisory Board meeting for Climate Actions Campaign, I learned again from a very smart person who has been in this battle for decades that even when the public is overwhelmingly for something or a plan that will make us all healthier – sometimes one elected person in a democracy can make a decision that literally affects our earth and whether dangerous fossil fuels flow through the ground and can make us all sick. It made me so disheartened to hear this. That money and green, or even just rash decisions – can lock our earth and our community into a binding agreement that will last two decades. By then, the opportunity to stop climate change will be well over.
So really I need to help write this paper, and my section on active transport because I need to raise some noise and make the argument that pediatricians should be at the table to help decide what our world will look like. Urban planners and power brokers, need to involve us as well. We need to be at the table to negotiate and advocate for the children, as superheroes who care about the water that flows and the air that surrounds us and the earth below us. I like to believe I have superpowers, but my superpower is my ability to write and to publish in a fancy academic journal. I need to use this superpowr to get another superpower, which is influence and leverage, and also amplify that power to my four co-authors.
I guess this is why it’s taken me so long to really get head-way on this piece. I realize that it is so important, and the most important thing I will do for the next few months. If I can get this article written, I can also use it as leverage to try to help establish a sustainability fellowship and also move our great big organization to greening the healthcare sector. It’s for the earth.
Thank you so much for being there, and helping me sort through my thoughts. I think I’ll be able to write it this afternoon after doing my work that pays. I finished the literature search already, and outlined some of it. I just needed to put in my mind the why and the metaphors that help construct the piece. Academic writing is also persuasive writing. Science is not just science. Science and medicine is politics. I was a History of Science student at Crimson College, and I know this is my heart. So here we go! But first I need to water my rooftop urban garden, and see some patients and get through 2 MediCAL meetings on health equity issues – and then tonight I WRITE!!!