Secondary Environmental Changes! July 2021
July 14, 2021
I started this blog and the different “blog series” on Dr. Plastic Picker on a lark. I had always wanted to be a blogger, and this blog gave me an off-beat irreverent creative outlet. I wanted to document my eco-avatar environmental journey, and maybe inspire others to take that next step. I understand that we need systems change, but systems change can only happen if there is an upswelling in public support and sentiment. And that is where I come in. My half-arsed middle-management career was part of my journey to burn-out and back, and now integral to how I plan to help save the earth. Being in middle-management and I think an effective physician middle-manager made me realize that it’s literally easier to save the earth and change people’s hearts, than it is to “solve” certain middle-management issues.
One of the secondary benefits of this blog, is that it has helped me clarify what drives me to work and wake up every day and it has helped me understand who I am. I was at a middle-management meeting yesterday and RN Plastic Picker was not there. She is my friend and someone I admire quite a bit. The team with my consent shifted some of my responsibilities, which is a good thing for my work-life balance and my career. As we were discussing in generalities who would take over some of these responsibilities, one of my colleagues wanted me still to be involved in this task. I literally sat there at a meeting and wagged my finger and said “Nope. No take-backs. You want it, you take it all.” It seems silly, but that was a beautiful moment for me. At that moment I let myself free from many of the problems that women experience in leadership. I stood up for myself and my time. I know how much I’m worth and I spoke my mind. This is work and this is about my career, and I won’t work on something outside my assigned portfolio without getting professional credit for it. I won’t give it up for free. And professional credit and making sure I don’t as a woman carry these professional burdens that are often unequally foisted upon women. Yes I did! I feel absolutely great about this! The system will figure it out and the new team who are paid to do this, will figure it out. It will either sink or swim, and I’ll do my part to make sure it stays afloat as I move on to other tasks but I won’t get stuck there since I was essentially asked to give it up.
Another secondary benefit from blogging is that I figured out where I should go in my career. I sat at that meeting and looked out at everyone, and knew in my heart where I need to go. I just go where I am loved and I also feel love for those I work with. That is all. It’s so simple. I will go work where I enjoy the company of those I sit with. That is it. It was such a stark realization a few days ago. But it’s so true. One does well where you have passion for the cause and where you like those you are working with. I sat at an AAP California climtae advocate legislative group meeting last night which was 45 minutes on zoom. It was a wonderful meeting. One of the members of this group is someone I did not initially personally do very well with. We had a tense interaction months ago, when she pretty much made a mean comment to me about eating meat. It was a judgy comment. It was one of the small group meetings. She had since reached out to me from another Southern California medical institution about working together on bills and other projects, and I for the most part ignored her messages. I didn’t need to interact with her so chose not to. This environmental activism for me is volunteer. But last night we were at a wonderful meeting together and I’ve learned to reconnect with her, by keeping my comments brief and helpful. I smiled throughout the entire meeting last night as we organized a symposium for climate. It was a very effective meeting. I’m willing to do that and mend personal bridges, because the end result of this meeting is a giant step forward to helping the earth.
At the other middle-managment meeting, I sat there and was cordial and for the most part held my tongue but this meeting folks are getting paid to do their job and given much more time than I am. I looked out into the group and for the most part had love for my MD leaders and a few others, but some of the others – I just don’t right now have love in my heart. And that is it. I just want to work with people that are happy and I like, and I’m only willing to deal with unhappiness and the subtleties of meaningless office politics if I know its for the earth or my family. This is why I can deal with Girl Scout politics, because in the end my daughter gets to be a Girl Scout. What I do as a middle-manager is not that hard, and I don’t really care too much about titles much. I was the first to walk out of the meeting yesterday and shared a smile with Chief Boss, secure in my place in the HMO world and in myself. I was the first to leave because I had climate things to do, and other people I’d rather hang out with.
As for the Secondary Environmental Net Positives of Dr. Plastic Picker from April – July? There were so many. 15 secondary environmental net positives that I listed for April-July.
- Bought a farm (or half of one)
- 10 showers averted (when I skipped a shower thinking of saving water for the wildlife in the world)
- 1 walk around the clinic parking lot (not sure why I listed this on my phone?)
- 2 vegan burger food waste projects
- 2 compost containers brought to the HMO parking garage guerilla gardening project
- 2 plastic containers reused
- 10 times I collected the coffee grounds from the HMO coffee shop (actually it’s probably closer to 20!)
- 7 times I ate fruit that I would have said was “bad” already
- 2 gifted compost tea containers to friends
- 1 averted buying plasticware for the office by bringing in actual silverware from home. They were all the extra forks we’ve collected and I just left them in the clinic kitchen. Haven’t noticed a lack of forks at home.
- 1 upcycled gift for a party
- 20 succulent plants rescued
- 1 starbucks coffee grounds I collected after volleyball practice at the Vons at Rohr Park
- Restarted the HMO Green Sustainability Team
- Restructured vaccine committee to meet just virtual (saves a lot of carbon!) and meet just every other month!
And that is it! So glad I finished this blog! I thought I was behind on my bags of trash as well, but I’ve actually already collected 7 bags. I’ll probably go to the beach this evening since I’m only working in the morning. I commit to 20 bags a month and I just have to hustle a bit to get 12 bags in the next two weeks. Shouldn’t be hard. This weekend I’m planning on going to the beach every morning to plog (jog and pick up trash). Thanks for folllowing along!
Interested in reading the last post in this series? Here it is! https://drplasticpicker.com/secondary-environmental-changes-april-2021/