Meetings Meetings Meetings: If I have to go to a few more for the earth, so be it. We need more help.
February 28, 2020
It is almost 4AM and I was thinking of not drinking my coffee this early and thoughts of the new intermittent fasting fad flitted through my mind. I had dinner last night at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Local Committee Chair meeting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they had these really delicious vegan wraps and no single-use water bottles. The plates were styrofoam though. I am trying to listen to my body more, and I had one wrap which was enough and drank from my reusable water bottle. I did drink coffee at about 6pm last night which is unusual, and my last meal was 7pm. So it has been 8 hours since I had anything to eat, but even if intermittent fasting is really “in” now – my body is telling me it wants a little bit of coffee with a little bit of sugar and cream. So I am sipping my coffee and I am happy. I am trying to eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat so will concentrate on that.
Anyway, my coffee drinking and eating and sleep schedule are a bit off because I went to the AAP Local Committee Chair Meeting last night when I could have spent more time with my children or picked up a bag of plastic from the ocean. That is how I judge whether things are worth my time now, how many bags of ocean plastic I could have picked up.
But the local AAP Chapter meeting was worth it. Sally Kaufman https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-sally-kaufman-pediatrician-and-environmentalist-3/ and I are now the two sole members but Committee Co-Chairs for our local Climate Change and Health Committee. Yesterday was the first time we met officially with the other local AAP folks, and it’s probably the first time either of us walked into the local AAP chapter offices. At least for me, it’s the first time I have done anything with the AAP other than attend a conference or search the website.
But I realize that if I really care about climate change, I should work within my profession. I would really rather just travel the world on a fuel-efficient vW Camper Van and just pick up litter in National Parks and meet all my 550 Instagram friends who litter pick too in real life. But I am a practical and results focused person, and I accept the fact that I am a physician-leader and have a bigger impact trying to reduce emissions from within healthcare.
So that is why I attended last night’s meeting and have more meetings to go to. I really don’t like meetings in general, but so far they have been high yield. Yesterdays meeting was helpful because I need to reach outside my HMO to know the healthcare players in our city. At least now I know some names and I have the minutes of the meeting, and can reach out to connect folks later when the time is right. Most of success in life is just showing up. The local AAP director was very kind, and offered the local offices and to purchase dinner if we are able to get a bigger committee together. They also have a newsletter that we can send blurps to drum up interest for different events. As I was telling Sally, who is already very active on environmental issues, it gives us a bigger platform to move things forward in Climate Change. The local AAP chapter also offered to order branded visors and AAP Towels as give-aways for some people who would volunteer at the National AAP NCE Ocean Clean Up that we are organizing.
I was encouraged by my climate mentor Dr. Bruce Bekkar to apply to the Climate Reality Project training with Al Gore’s group https://www.climaterealityproject.org/. I applied and was accepted. So I will attend this 3 day conference on my education leave time in March. The climate leaders within pediatrics said that it is very worthwhile, so I am anxious to learn what they can teach me.
But the one meeting that is coming up for climate which I am the most excited about is the Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School (CVLCC) Re-Use It Club! I had blogged about this previously and my plans to take our message on the road! https://drplasticpicker.com/introducing-dr-plastic-picker-the-guest-speaker-fee-0/ Even at the AAP Local Meeting yesterday, one committee chair mentioned someone applying for some kind of small grant and that this individual (who sounds remarkable) even has a Ted talk. There is a mystique about Ted talks but there have been over 50,000 Ted talks as of 2018. But as Forbes reported, “For experts and innovators, the TED Talk is the holy grail of achievement. Give one, the thinking goes, and you go from expert to thought leader. You can quit your day job, secure in the knowledge that your millions of views will translate into profit and power.” There are some great environmental TED talks already out there. But @drplasticpicker already figured out how to get on PBMonthly our local paper https://drplasticpicker.com/pb-monthly-helps-spread-drplasticpickers-message-to-those-i-already-know-my-real-life-friends-you-are-my-vegetables-and-i-seek-to-be-your-vegetable/ and KevinMD. You can just apply to give a TED talk as well. But honestly there are plenty of environmental inspirational talks out there already, and as I have blogged before – when people go right, I go left https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpickers-advice-to-my-teenage-patients-and-young-physicians-pick-the-unconventional-path/.
I am more excited about going to the Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School Re-Use It Club! My patient’s mother initiated the contact with the school and I took it very seriously. I sent a long email to the principal and even included my resume. So I will be stopping there soon and get to spend 45 minutes with kindergarteners to 5th graders talking about reusing things and the environment, and hand out our Reusable Grocery Totes!
So in addition to the middle managment meetings I have to attend at work, I am now attending the AAP Local Committee Chair Meeting which is quarterly, AAP National Committee on Enviornmental Health call which is a monthly call, Climate Reality Project Training which will end up being an local activist group, and the most fun being a Guest Speaker a la Dr. Plastic Picker and showing my trashart and visiting environmentally minded school groups!
I feel these meetings are important and good use of my time. It’s amazing how too many stressful work meetings drove me to the beach when I began getting tension headaches. The beach and nature healed me, and now I realize I need to go to a few more meetings to heal nature. But I do it with joy and my headaches are gone. I just have to make sure to have time to always recenter myself and pick up ocean plastic. Honestly, I return to the beach and listen to the waves. And when I am picking plastic by myself and my thoughts are able to freely wander, that is when I decide which meetings to go to. The beach and my shorebird friends are telling drplasticpicker to go to a few more meetings. Because we need more help picking up the plastic.