We did it! Our HMO green team did it. We gave our internal Ted Talk and it reached 1400 physicians and landed like this beautiful seed bomb onto a mature compost pile. The Green Dragon that is our partnership in San Diego is awoken, and the higher higher ups from region heard it too. We are getting emails and text messages, and things are mobilizing. I know we are pretty “green already” but we all know there is so much more to go. It had to be us. It had to be physicians that are in the trenches and that the others identify with. We shared our stories, and did our traveling show. Dr. RA made sure we practiced, and we pulled at the heart strings. We saw our area medical director get a bit choked up as we interwove physician burnout, physician wellness with planetary wellness and true healing. I was in like this really shy and fetal state yesterday as all the emails and text messages were coming it. Grateful that it landed well and ready for next steps. But wanted to share here, that each of us can do this locally. Experts are important, but I think our group have seen the three of us locally digest and take action and because we are connected – it makes a bigger difference. Green hugs. Our dragon is awoken. You should wake up yours. I like these metaphors.
We had prepared so much. Each slide was a culmination of multiple months of other projects, and thinking and digesting and doing. I think it showed. Our preparation and the body of our work. Now we continue doing. We can’t rest too long, because this is not about us. It’s never been about us. Actually it is about the 1400 physician us, that is our partnership. But it’s not about the three of us. But the three of us did pretty great yesterday. I think it’s okay for me to feel happy. I was feeling shy yesterday, but today I think it’s okay to feel proud. I was somewhat emotionaly yesterday and had to talk a walk at a local wetlands. I was there anyway waiting for our daughter to finish volleyball. It’s right there and easy to get to. So I went for a walk in the wetlands and picked up bag 12/20 this month. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get 20 bags this month. But now that I’m at bag 12, I think I’ll be able to get to 20.
And I forgot. We got to pick the charity this year, and Dr. RA worked really hard to organize the donation drive. We have until December to really get everyone to donate.
I’m still not sure how and why it all happened. I haven’t let my virtual and real friends in California know yet, but I will soon. I did tell my friends at the office and the Rady’s residents who were rotating with us. When a big climate and health responsibility and opportunity descends upon me, my automatic reaction is to reach out for help. I reach out to those I think can help me complete the task the best, and those that I can trust. I’ve reached out already to one of the upcoming Rady’s chief residents, and she has agreed to help and is uniquely qualified. I know I can reach out to my friend Dr. Dan Spencer, and I think he will likely be the other person who can help. But I’m just letting it soak in and trying to sort out how I’m going to make sure I give this opportunity/responsibility that has been entrusted to me – and do what is best for the earth and for the children that we are responsible for. Because all of this is for them. We want to give our children and our grandchildren a shot at a liveable planet. The stakes have never been so high.
I was virtually present at one of our Public Health Advsiory Council meetings for Climate Actions Campaign. That advocacy council is growing with plenty of help from other health professionals. I honestly think it might be time for me to step back as they are concentrated on very important local wins, but I’ve been asked to be part of state wide advocacy efforts within the AAP. I’m struggling a bit with that decision, and had a slight headache because of goodness-work overload. I had to take some motrin last night (which is rare) and quietly read a poem by Walt Whitman our son recommended.
But there were several moments at the meeting two nights ago, that were so powerful. My children are older, teenagers both now. The picutre above is my daughter at one of the moments when her littleness and beauty were so overwhelming to me. Where did the time go? How quickly have the years passed? Really all this climate work is for her and all our children. I check in with her to see if we as a family are doing okay. I was at volleyball last night and eventhough multiple work phone calls intruded into our time, we got through it and I was there to drive her. She was okay with it, and we had a very nice dinner all four of us. If dinner ran a bit later into the call, I would drop that call. But it worked out. We got to volleyball, got to dinner, and I got to that last call – without the sense of rushing.
But there was a moment when my friend Dr. RA was also calling into the call and her daughter said in this beautiful small voice “Come into the light mommy, come into the light.” Dr. RA was standing in the dark in front of the house, trying to patch into the advocacy call. And her daughter beckoned her into the warmth of the family. I saw my friend Dr. RA the next day, and I told her that moment was so beautiful. She also I know is doing this work, standing in the dark in front of her house for her children and all the children that she takes care of.
Just one of those moments, and so many climate and health advocates are physician mommies with young children. “Come Into the Light Mommy, Come Into the Light.” The voice of our children beckoning us home.
It’s daylight savings and I never have really understood the entire concept. The chaos that it causes doesn’t really affect me anymore, because my body is in rhythm with the sun and moon and I get up at the same planetary time. The amount of darkness while I’m peering out of our energy efficient glass doors into the backyard is about the same. It’s starting to get light outside a bit. Everyone is asleep except my in-laws as they too are usually up early like I am to take advantage of the quiet.
I am so happy for Crispy Doc! I don’t really “know” him but I visit his blog once in a while. I am also one of 70 physician personal finance bloggers out there on his blogroll https://www.crispydoc.com/physician-finance-bloggers/. To be on his blogroll you have to blog about physician personal finance (which I do all of the time) but he checks to make sure you have a blog dedicated to this at least once every 3 months. It’s not a hard requirement, and I connected with him on a lark. I’ve always been fascinated by the FIRE, financial independence retire early world. Then I coined the term FISE, Financial Independence to Save the Earth. The term is important to me, but it’s just me using it. Once my friend Dr. McFrugal blogged about my term. https://www.drmcfrugal.com/weekend-reflections-9-13-20-fire-and-fire/
Anyway, back to why I’m happy for Crispy Doc – an ED physician who I do not really know. He’s Crispy Doc because he was burned out. But now he is moving into some kind of community health/management position and using his MPH degree. That is it! Physicians are such wonderful people and knowing that he is using his financial independence to do good and work in community health and management is really wonderful.
But the reason I started blogging this morning and meandering around the blogsphere is that I wanted to tell you about something we bought for $30 that for me is TOTALLY WORTH THE MONEY. We are quite minimalistic in our household. I don’t really think I’ve bought much new in terms of clothing in two or three years? Our consumption of material things has gone way down. But Mr. Plastic Picker did buy me a $30 milk frother. I am so happy because it is going to save me money, make me happier, healther, and help me save the environment. This is why.
RANDOM TABLE OF REASONS WHY A MILK FROTHER IS A FISE PURCHASE
After (home Milk Frother)
mostly the organic soymilk, matcha green tea was free, power was free from solar panels paid for already
I use 1/8 of the carton of soy milk or 1/2 a serving which is 50 calories and 1 teaspoon of sugar which is 15 calories
this is the biggest, I need to make sure my dental health stays good
And that is it. That is why my new MILK FROTHER is so FISE (Financial Independence to Save the Earth!). I love it! Mr. Plastic Picker bought it for me. He works a lot of overtime because he grew up with not as much material wealth. I tell him not to buy me things, but he bought me a MILK FROTHER and he also let me buy the OREGON FARM! Well I bought that too, because I work as well. Thank you dear readers. I am so happy with my milk frother. I will make you healthy matcha green tea soy latte anytime you are at my house! It only cost me $0.10 and we will be saving the earth together while we get healthier as well.
Also we are helping to save the planet by drinking less coffee. Here is the environmental impact of coffee “Increasing competition and a drive for increased output are impacting the environment in negative ways, with monocropping becoming the new norm alongside ‘sun cultivation’ methods. WWF reports that because of this, 2.5 million acres of forest in Central America have been cleared to make way for coffee farming, and this deforestation is on the rise in coffee-growing countries. Incidentally, 37 of the 50 countries in the world with the highest deforestation rates are also major coffee producers.” https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/coffee-and-its-impact-on-people-animals-and-the-planet/
It’s something to think about! I don’t really think about it anymore because I don’t drink coffee. I drink this beautiful cup of every morning which I call my “Green Awakening.”
I’m really at bag 575, but by the time I give the above presentation with my best Green Friends Drs. Dave Neison and Rachel Abbot, I should be at bag #590. I thought the slide was really pretty! Power point is an environmentalists (especially and climate and health advocates) best tool. You can do so much with powerpoint???!!! Remember, my graphic of the propellar planes f@rting lead particles on the children of clairemont and affecting their neurodevelopment? I took that down from Instagram because I didn’t want to rile up too many people. But here on theis irreverent blog? I think it’s okay. It’s a way for me to blow off steam about the state of the earth.
But what is the state of my plastic picking goals???!! 15 bags this month! And in total I’m at bag 575 lifetime. Please click here to see my lifetime totals running page. Just in case you need proof. https://drplasticpicker.com/plastic-picking-round-up/ And in total I’ve salvaged 1745 things from the earth and 45 things this month and reployed them into human circulation. Really interesting things this month. A nice wooden pole, a garden hedge clipper thing I found in Del Mar cleaning the wetlands there, and always MONEY! A quarter this month.
Office Supply Items
I try to get 20 bags a month, but this month got 15. I took a few jogs and walks without getting trash, because I really feel there was less around. I’m also trying to jog more and get more cardio in. Next month I should be back to my 20 a month. My goal is 1000 bags of trash!
I have been so grateful for this journey and each bag of trash has led me to new adventures literally and metaphorically. I’m in conversation with other climate and health friends about the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. I’m planning of presenting two posters there, since I have to do one for work and the other is the aVgas project. I’m making myself available to help with a panel and climate and health. If my friends need me, then I’ll be there. If they don’t need me, Dr. Plastic Picker can always find things to do. Indeed, I’m really excited if for the scenario that they don’t need me. I’m super creative, and I have all sorts of ideas of how to me impactful at the meeting in recruiting more like-minded pediatricians to help save the world.
Just chuckling to myself at all my ideas. It’s like this book at Emerson that I haven’t yet finished, my mind is on fire. And it’s on fire for the earth. I’ve recovered from my bout of lactose intolerance. Please don’t offer me sour cream or any dairy. It’s all plant-based milks for me now. Sending me plant-based hugs, yours truly Dr. Plastic Picker!
Are you stressed out about COP26? I am a little bit. Watching the news and the bumblings and the Russian/China No-Shows. Watching the posturing. The mainstream media doesn’t help as well because gloom and doom always generates more clicks than hope.
But anyone who has ever been on any kind of committee knows that the leaders, they don’t do much. Most leaders anyway. They just posture and take credit for what the worker-bees accomplish. The true work is done by the creatives and those that have passion, and the people – the people is where the answer is. I’ve sat on many committees and indeed, I’ve lead many committees, and I know this to be true in my heart. So am I upset about COP26? Yes. But I also know the answer. The answer is that the people and the masses need to be inspired by eachother. We need more Boyan Slats from the Ocean Clean Up. We need more Greta Thunbergs. And we need more climate and health advocates/activists. The leaders will follow along once we’ve convinced more people, and honestly half of the world still needs convincing. No one said this was going to be easy.
So I am doubling down on local efforts and enacting change locally. This is where I can make changes, and looking back at the last two years – I am in awe at what we’ve been able to accomplish here. I am someone who likes to take action, but I realize the biggest way for me to help is to continue to talk about this work. As we are moving the needle on various projects and pair it with advocacy talks, for some reason it resonates. I’ll be interviewed by NIH this afternoon. We are preparing for an HMO wide walk on climate and health. We are giving a county LiveWell seminar on Climate and Health. I’m considering leading a breakout session and presenting our avGas project at Pediatric Academic Societies, in order to talk climate and health. The talking paired with the doing, that is what I’m meant to do right now.
Just here on the blog this morning, sorting through some climate emotions. The bananas above are from my friend Dr. Joe. He has banana trees in his backyard, and I pick up his coffee grounds for my compost. We kind of do this back and forth trading of things because he lives right next to my mom. It keeps me connected with him, and that sense of connection is what we need to #fightfor1point5.
I’m at bag, I think 575 abouts. I’ve given out over 500 reusable bags with the Dr. Plastic Picker logo on it that hopefully is decreasing plastic bag use. Those bags were really pretty. I may reorder some. I’ve banded together a motley crew of 40 pediatricians and premed interns in San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air, and we are lifting pediatric voices here locally. We have three pediatricians serving as public health members of different Air Pollution Boards. We are getting some headway on pushing our mayor to offer unleaded aviation fuel at Montgomery Gibbs Executive Airport. Well at least it sounds like some policy people are listening and city councilmembers are listening. The Youth Arts Project is getting to it’s completion and the art work from the children is absolutely amazing. We will print a collection of 10-25 of the entries, and have a traveling exhibit of the works in different offices in San Diego. And my mentor and former senior resident Dr. Young-Ho Yoon nominated me for an alumni award for my advocacy work. I’ve since somewhat given up on Harvard and having an influence over there and I think it’s unlikely that I will receive that award. The award is another opportunity to talk climate, but having him nominate me – his former intern – means the world to me. It means he noticed and he cares. He’s taught me so much. He told me to buy the Aerobin400 and the composter has been such a great metaphor for life. He inspired me to make my own pizza dough. I really should nominate him.
But he knows, and you dear readers know how much I appreciate you. I had colonic spasm yesterday and almost went to the Emergency Room. I’m 100% lactose intolerant now, and I made th mistake of eating sour cream. Lets just say it was a difficult 24 hours. But I’m back after resting and taking care of myself. I had no qualms calling in sick yesterday, as I rarely do and I was sick. I hydrating myself and napped. Dairy is my kryponite. But given there are so many plant-based alternatives and I am changing to mostly plant-based anyway, I just have to be more careful. Dairy is my kryptonite. That’s a cool turn on phrase!
Signing off to do more climate talk talk talk, and going to contact the California EPA about lead data. If you are the mayors office or city councilperson’s policy people sneaking around my blog, all I have to say is that I gave you guys fair warning that your constituents are not going to be happy that you led leaded avGAS continue to rain down on their children. I’m just doing my job. You should do your job. And yes I posted your job on the World Health Organization website. Yes I did.
Signing off, Dr. Plastic Picker – your local litter picking pediatrician who is also trying to clean the sky of lead from the Montgomery Gibbs Executive Airport. They would never do that to La Jolla. Which is why I know these La Jolla bananas are Lead-Free. Sad but true. It’s an environmental justice issue folks.
I fell in love again yesterday. I am still happily married but Mr. Plastic Picker was in an irate mood. Sometimes when you are married for a few decades, it’s hard to remember the other person is a separate person. And sometimes, separate people have to have some alone time to deal with their emotions. But as I’m going through a time of growth and change, Mr. Plastic Picker also is going through a time of his own growth and change. So he was home walking our puppy and taking our son to his activities, and I was at Girl Scouts.
It may have been the emotional transference from husband to wife, and my need to get a way a bit from my husband. But we went on our first outing for our Girl Scout Troop for the year. And it was wonderful. Absolutely amazing. I’ve lived in San Diego my entire life, but I’ve never been kayaking and I’ve never seen La Jolla Cove from that perspective.
It was a wondrous adventure from the time Mr. Plastic Picker dropped us off at La Jolla village until when we returned home after the bonfire filled with pizza and s’mores. I didn’t intend to kayak but my fellow co-troop leader was not feeling well, and there needed to be another troop leader. So my daughter and I were in a double kayak. She was in the back steering and I was the power in the front.
San Diego you were so beautiful yesterday. This native daughter fell in love with you again. And I fell in love with the brown pelican. Brown Pelican you are 70% blind. You return to your nesting place because you need to see the bright white splotches of your white excrement on the cliffs. You can keep gallons of sea water in your gullet. And you are always true brown pelican, returning to home where you’ve marked things with your excrement. And perhaps Mr. Plastic Picker spirit animal is the brown pelican. And you were beautiful gliding over the calm waters of the cove and diving in to skim for fish. You kept on gliding over me yesterday. Or Mr. Plastic Picker, is your spirit animal the bee that tried to sting me while I was in the kayak? How in the galatic universe a bee found me in the middle of the cove to try to buzz around my face? I did not squash you bee, because you are a super being – indeed one of the most powerful living things on earth. But I did not know why you were in the ocean trying to land on my nose? Were you trying to pollinate me? I don’t think that would be appropriate! Good Lord!
But yesterday was a wondrous day spent kayaking in La Jolla Cove. I really did have a wonderful invigorating time. Even getting tipped over at the end as we tried to return to shore, and shivering in cold but saved by my dear friend’s extra blanket and jacket. The entire day was about reconnection and nature and community. And even Mr. Plastic Picker was touched by that community because he picked us up and our parent friends said hello to him. I love my husband. But even after almost twenty years of marriage, we can be mysterious to eachother. Is he the 70% blind brown pelican or the annoying bee? I don’t know. I do know that I love him and my giving him space yesterday, and being joyful is the best thing for him. I know he drank all of my plant-based almond milk and he got to see the weird bananas that by friend Dr. Joe gave our family. They are La Jolla Bananas. Who else gets to eat bananas grown in the backyard of a a La Jolla House but the Plastic Picker family?
Much love to you all, and it is so important to support your spouse when they are having one of those days. Yes I fell in love with you again San Diego. Yes you brown pelican. And every day you, Mr. Plastic Picker.
It’s been a whirlwind week. I got kind of distracted by the entire avGas project in Clairemont. We do need to remove lead from the environment, because the more developmental delay and dyslexia and behavioral disorders we have – the more social discord we have and that has led to a lot of everything. Everything is related. But I need to refocus on climate change and carbon emissions. Really no one should be flying these little propellar planes to begin with. Leaded or unleaded aviation gasoline. It’s helped me understand the leaded pollution issues in our local area more, which will help me with my work projects. It’s helped our advocacy intern find an important academic niche, and draw more people into our sphere of influence. But back to the most important issue at hand, climate change.
I try to have hope on this blog, but it’s hard when you see the issue at hand. We are not even close. COP26 is meeting and as someone who has gone to my own meetings, it’s just a huge upper management meeting. But we know change comes from the masses, the people. And that is where I’m trying to make the changes. We need less talking and more doing. And more doing with joy, that will show the world that saving the earth will bring us all healing.
I’m only on bag 13 for this month, and I only have really two more days to go. I try to get to 20 bags a month, but if I can get to 15 bags this month than I’ll be happy. Maybe if I can get to the beach early this morning which will be really good for my mental health as well, than I can get more bags and reach my monthly goal of 20. Did you hear that Boyan Slat of the Ocean Clean Up is actually now cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? And the famous YouTuber Mark Rober is doing another fundraising thing for him and it might happen sooner than later? I’ve definitely noticed less trash on my stretch of the Pacific that I’ve taken ownership of. That’s what we all need to do, grab an area and own it. That’s how we tackle with climate change. Realize the interrelatedness of it all, and work cooperatively and joyfully together.
So far in my personal journey, I’m at 573 bags of trash. I’ve salvaged already #1775 things from the environment, and this month I’ve actually recycled 78 things mostly aluminum cans from the environment! Recycling aluminum is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do. We’ve been most impactful in our donations, and have donated enough to preserve the below. Wow, almost a million trees – just our family.
14,697 Acres Land/Ocean
936, 780 Trees
This past week, we also voting in a pro-climate board to the San Diego Bicycle Coalition. Governor Gavin Newson announced steps to enact 3,200 feet setbacks from gas/oil wells which will reduce our oil production by 30%. This will also improve the respiratory health of much of LA. I connected with Dr. Elizabeth Friedman in Kansas City, and want to try to help her organize in Kansas City climate and health advocates and help galvanize some interest at the Pediatric Academic Societies around climate and health reserach. We are giving two big climate talks as part of work, at the county Live Well Conference and also at our big MSA. This early morning blogging helps me organize my mind and my climate work. I’m now realizing it was an impactful week, and I am able to do it and pace myself and self care at the same time.
At just a little over a $1 per carton, the kirkland organic soy vanilla milk is plant-based pediatrician MUST-HAVE! Especially since I stopped drinking coffee, and like to have my “Green Awakening” which is my matcha green tea soy latte in the morning. This morning I’m drinking my “Green Awakening” with non-dairy powdered creamer which I used to drink with coffee but it doesn’t go with the matcha green tea. Therefore, Dr. Plastic Picker is sad and annoyed. I’m sad because I need my kirkland organic soy milk and I don’t have my kirkland organic soy milk.
I don’t know when my palate became so particular and fancy, but now that I’m weaned off a lot of processed foods and try to eat generally plant-based – I’ve just become so particular about things. Case in point, my sad cup of matcha green tea this morning which is not a soy latte. But I refuse to drink it at Starbucks because it cost I’m sure at least $5 and they put tons of sugar in it. Up to 32 grams according to a quick Ecosia search.
I was emailing back and forth with a colleauge yestserday who used to be kind of like my department frenemy who is now a friend, because I decided to just love everyone (in a non-touching totally appropriate plantonic way that would not violate any human resources rules). He asked me how our family’s planetary food plant-based journey was going. It’s funny how the evolution of that relationship kind of echoes generally my evolution as a person. It’s best to be kind and not judge. And that it what I emailed him. That with our plant-based journey there are no absolutes and we try new things and make an adventure of it. I wished him joy in his family’s adventure as well.
But that got me to thinking about what are your 10 MUST HAVES in your plant-based diet? Definitely for me my organic soy milk vanilla flavored is a MUST HAVE. I need to ask Mr. Plastic Picker to get me a case. Maybe I can text Dr. Dear Friend to bring me a carton of hers? She buys it in bulk as well. I’m sure everyone’s top 10 list is different but here is ours.
Dr. Plastic Picker’s TOP 10 MUST HAVES in our current PLANT-BASED DIET!!!
Kirkland Organic Soy Milk!!! Mostly for my matcha green tea soy latte in the morning. But I also now use the soy milk to make soy yogurt, and in a lot of our cooking and baking to replace milk.
Bulk Oat Meal. We eat a good amount of oatmeal at our house and I like to make homemade granola about twice a month at least. I love oatmeal in the morning in the Instapot (which Dr. Young-Ho Yoon taught me!) with in fact I preferentially use my #1 Kirkland Oragnic Soy Milk!!!
Eggplant. Of course this list will include a lot of veggies, but eggplant has been a fantastic substitute for meats in a lot of our meals. We do eat lentils and beans, but I love to use eggplant in our Instapot pasta dishes as it enables me to sneak some other veggies in and take out half of the carbs of the pasta itself.
Onions and fresh minced garlic. This is a must for us to be able to eat savory without meats. Everytime we go to costco, we also buy bulk garlic and we are lucky that my in-laws will mince the garlic. We store it in one of those mason jars and life is always better with fresh garlic and onion to sautee with.
Bananas. We are kind of banana-breaded out right now, but in general cooking with bananas has been wonderful. There are many variations of muffins and pancakes that include bananas. And sometimes eating a banana just takes that edge off when you need a snack. Our kids don’t love bananas, but banana pancakes where I sub in mashed bananas in lieu of some of the liquid in the pancake batter works great. And all the sweetness comes from fructose (real fruit sugars).
Spices. I never truly realized how important different spices are in plant-based cooking. But we have proudly displayed on our counter now tumeric, paprika, curry, and truffle. oooohhh, maybe I’ll make some vegan omelette with besan flour and add truffle seasoning this morning? That would be soooooooooooo fancy and plant-based.
Matcha green tea. I’m still working on the powder my father gave me, but it’s so good. That has been a godsend really.
Salad Mixes. We are alternating between spinach and the spring mix salad in bulk. I hate the plastic container which is recyclable but at least we usually have a side of salad for dinner.
Flaxseed meal. I need to be more diligent about using the flaxseed meal. But when I’m baking, using flaxseed to make “eggs” is a great easy substitute.
Veggies veggies and more veggies. And honestly for us it has been about exploring and explanding our vegetable repertoire. It’s hard to be plant-based if you don’t like vegetables. I do have to brag that we love vegetables here at our household. Each child and adult likes theirs slightly different but we are usually big purchases of asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, mushrooms, green beans, normandy vegetable mix at costco, radishes, beet greens, tomatoes, different types of asian gourds, bok choy, parsnip and on and on. Fruit is a definite must-have as well, but vegetables are a big must have at our household.
So that is it. That was my fun top 10 MUST HAVE list of things we buy a lot of. We have very little food waste these days because I have some go to food-waste recipes that use all those bits and pieces, and most of the scraps are composted. I have this big meeting at 2pm but right afterwards, I am going to walk to Sprouts which is literally 2 blocks from my house and buy a carton of soy milk to get me through the weekend. I could also just pick up some Beyond Meat Sausages and buns for dinner to go with a side-salad. Exciting times! Have a wonderful PLANT-BASED day dear friends.