One Year Birthday of Dr. Plastic Picker!!!
August 30, 2020
Today is Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday today! I feel like celebrating more than my real birthday. The day I came into the world, it was really my mom doing all the work. Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday was my creation. Since I have been keeping track and declared that I am “Fighting Ocean Plastic Pollution One Piece of Plastic At a Time,” I have picked up 272 bags of ocean bound trash and salvagaed 1003 items.
What started out as a small project to try to help the earth and improve my health, has become my journey to becoming an environmental hobbyist. I still practice general pediatrics. I am still raising my children. I am still happily married. I am still in middle-management and Assistant Boss of my department. But I am an environmental activist now in my spare time. I have a lot of more spare time because I am sleeping better, eating imperfectly vegan, and get lots of exercise and nature-time when I’m picking up those bags of ocean-bound plastic. I also have more time because I stopped shopping for fun, stopped bringing things into our house that we didn’t need. I stopped caring about those little office-politics-shenanigans that sometimes can break a person’s soul. And like most people who are passionate about their hobbies, I have done pretty well at this part of my life. I’ve already detailed the successes I have had as a clean air advocate now and member of multiple clime advocacy groups, been profiled and quoted in the local and national press more than I ever imagined possible.
I have even had three monetary offers to either collaborate or monetize this blog, which I turned down. I remain committed to living in this virtual world unholding my values. This whole project has been for the earth, my family, my patients and ultiimately it has been for fun. I don’t monetize it because as my older brother told me, it would take the joy out of it. Only if it stays fun, will it live on.
I think why I keep on chugging along my happy path is that I get to experience so many new things through this project. I did a particularly long walk yestserday, as I wanted to get a big bag of trash to show my Instagram litterpicking friends. I didn’t intend to go to the beach, but what started out as a street cleaning walk ended up being a 9000 step hike all the way up to La Jolla. I picked up plastic with my metal grabber on the beach for the first time. I had new types of interactions with surfers and beach walkers due to having my grabber. I saw at least three species of shorebirds I have never seen before, plus was rewarded a beautiful snowy egret friend at the end.
When I arrived back home, I made two vegan dishes with the intention of averting food waste. These dishes I just made up, and they were good enough that between the kids and Mr. Plastic Picker there were no left-overs. I made a chickpea pasta and eggplant that paired an overly vinegary store-bought pesto sauce with coconut milk. It was almost a kind of curry. It was completely eaten up by the family. As I ate the last bits it was pretty good. The second dish last night was a vegetable soup. I glanced quickly at a recipe online, but essentially just did my own thing. I just used a packet of vegetable stock I had purchased for the first time, and added in half of a zuchini, left over onions, more precooked carrots, can of chickpeas, and half a organic orozco (which is pasta but looks like almost rice and lots of fiber). We paired it with rackers. Mr. Plastic Picker had to go into the hospital for an emergency procedure, and when he came home he ate the last bits. My dear husband will never eat anything unless he likes it and deems it healthy. He ate all of the soup/pasta from last night.
And like a real one-year-old, I’m actually looking forward to all the things I can do now that I’m into my second year of life. I’ve learned so many things about myself, other people and the world. I’m like a real toddler and the realization that I can do things makes me want to learn to do more things. I’m looking ahead to my second year of life now. I do intend to help save the earth one piece of ocean plastic pollution at a time, but now I’m having a super fun time Upcycling so many things.
I learned now to use my hand-sander and refurbished our bunnies’ wooden ramp, which we bought years ago for $50. It looks so chic and eco-weathered cool! I saw one of the bunnies on it this early morning. And we are converting our little balcony and the outside stairwell into an outside garden. It’s a side project for my daughter and myself. We are going to plant food, and reduce our house’ urban heat island effect. But the fun part of the project is that all the containers are going to be hopefully Upcycled and we will use food waste and replant them.
And that is it. It’s Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday today, and the first birthday is always a big deal! If you want to get me a present, donate to the Rainforest Trust or Eden Reforestration Projects. Just $1 to Eden Reforestration will plant 10 trees in Nepal or $2 will save an acre of rainforest.