Let 2020’s Failure Be a Reminder for You: You are a Leader Our World Needs
June 2, 2020
It’s 617AM and this morning I will pick up my 200th bag of ocean bound plastic. I started this journey 10 months ago and the world today is a stark place. I began gathering the 200th bag yesterday and filled it with some mostly paper litter, but will need to finish it this morning. Dr. Plastic Picker is ambitious. For my 200th bag I chose a large kitchen garbage bag. I think everyone on Instagram will really like a big bag for the 200th one.
As I’ve mentioned to you, my patients in clinic and my own children, I do a lot of thinking when I’m picking up plastic. I started litter picking and ocean beach cleaning after emotional exhaustion from my work which is doctoring children. But nature healed me and the simple act of cleaning up our neighborhood helped me. When I pick up trash, I let my mind wander and I often think of you – my patients and my own children. Dr. Plastic Picker has been a pediatrician and a mother for too long. I found that rather than trying to escape work worries, I was able to think more clearly about all the forces that hurt children. And as a doctor, I naturally want to fight against those forces. One of those forces is Big Oil and Big Plastic that is trying to flood the environment with plastic waste.
Right now in the world, there is a great hurt that needs fixing. And that great hurt has been made worse by a powerful force which is a racist and narcissistic president. There are peaceful demonstrations about racial injustice and systemic institutional oppression of the black community. There are radical left and radical right groups that have infilitrated the demonstrations. These groups and Russian/Chinese internet bots/saboteurs are causing chaos and sowing discord, very much like the character Discord from My Little Pony or Q from Star Trek https://drplasticpicker.com/star-trek-harry-potter-and-living-in-space-and-fantasy-will-help-us-raise-our-children/. Dr. Plastic Picker is being serious here. There is also the COVID-19 pandemic that has been made worse because of a failure of our current president. Do not doubt that. Do not forget that. Dr. Plastic Picker is usually not political, but the failure of this administration caused your pediatrician not to have enough masks, not to have enough testing equipment, caused people to riot and then spread the virus more, and is now threatening to bring in the US military domestically to control these riots in a move not seen since the 1960s-1970s.
Dr. Plastic Picker does not want you to protest. I want you to #stayhome and #shelterinplace because I am being selfish, and I want you to stay safe. I have been talking to many of you in clinic about how to make it through this quarantine https://drplasticpicker.com/making-in-through-the-covid-19-quarantine-seven-things-that-preteens-and-teenagers-can-do/. I have a list of book series suggestions I will publish later today that our family recommends, because now is a good time to lose yourself in a fantasy world for a few hours. Dr. Plastic Picker finished watching three months of Star Trek mostly Enterprise. It brought me great joy. Remember that every day you make it through this quarantine, is a good day. Practice forgiveness. https://drplasticpicker.com/forgiveness-during-covid-19-we-made-it-through-another-day/
But before you lose yourself in a new imaginary world, I want you to remember this moment of what havoc and hurt a failure in leadership can cause. Mr. Plastic Picker has been mentioning to me that someone needs to give a speech. Mr. Plastic Picker wants Joe Biden to give a moving address that will heal the country. I love my dear husband fiercely and he is one of the smartest people I know. But one of the differences between Dr. Plastic Picker and Mr. Plastic Picker is that I was rasied in an activist family. My parents took us to protests against a totalitarian government that we fled https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-picker-cant-go-back-moving-forward-with-my-climate-activism/. No matter how bad it is in the America, here we have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. And we do not need to look toward a Great Leader to heal us. Instead we need to look around us. Each of us is free and a leader. We lead from where we are. Never let someone tell you what to think. Think for yourself. And decide what you will do to fix the situation.
And that is what I have learned picking up almost 200 bags of plastic pollution. I wanted to fix the world for you, but the answer is to teach you how to fix the world. The answer is to remind you that you have agency and you have free will. https://drplasticpicker.com/you-have-agency-you-have-free-will-you-are-your-own-determinant/ And when Mr. Plastic Picker said to me that someone needed to give a speech, I told him, “I don’t need someone to give a speech to me! We all need to lead from where we are.” So I wrote this blogpost and it is Dr. Plastic Picker’s speech to you my patients and my children. I do not fear overly Discord from My Little Pony, Q from Star Trek, and the great failure of the current president. I do not need Joe Biden to give me a speech. I do need you. I need you to grow and think and read and create. I need you to look around you and remember what is happening now when there are bad leaders. You are our future leaders. I have hope that with a larger pool of strong ethical leaders that are our current children – our world will be better.
Our piano teacher passed of cancer during COVID-19. This is the blogpost I wrote for the kids to address the first death that they have had to process. It was hard for both of them and they both have dealt with it differently. https://drplasticpicker.com/one-more-time-one-more-song/