Secondary Environmental Net Positives: February 2020 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Secondary Environmental Net Positives: February 2020

| Posted in Plastic Picking Totals

Seeing the world from a different perspective.

March 1, 2020

by drplasticpicker

This blog series is monthly, and again I think the least popular. I have mentioned this every month. But for me, it is the most important because it keeps me accountable for making real changes in our lives that are important for the environment. I am responsible for reporting out monthly 15 changes that I have made in my family’s daily life that help the environment.

Above is a picture I posted on Instagram #drplasticpicker. The Instagram, Facebook and blogsphere worlds don’t really intersect. Instagram is super fun but more for my own amusement. I think I have a decent number of patients following my Instagram account as I accumulate more and more ocean plastic bags . Otherwise it is other #litterpickers that are following each other. I’m almost at 550 followers. I think I’m pretty good at Instagram. For the series of pictures above the caption was “I tell everyone at work #litterpicking#trashart #plogging has helped me be a more creative problem solver. I literally look at this beautiful world differently. Picture from my seated perch done with my bag.” And what I posted in Instagram is true and certainly the most powerful Secondary Environmental Net Positive for me. My worldview has changed and it is at times a very dire and ominous one, but also hopeful and challenging. Dr. Plastic Picker has always been up for the challenge.

But let’s not be to hokey. What did I actually do this month? I try to list from greatest environmental impact to least, but again it is kind of subjective. Check out my donations page, because this is the greatest impact I have made to be honest. This blog does not accept donations, but instead I donate In total through effective and targeting donations, a simple pediatrician like me has preserved 4,740 acres of wilderness mostly concentrating on the Peruvian Rainforest and Highlands and Marine Protected Areas that turtles abound. I have preserved 150,000 trees that already exist in the Peruvian Rainforest. The children targeted some funds to the World Wildlife Fund to help conservations efforts for the Rhinos and this month the Polar Bears. And through changing my search engine at home and no cost to me, Ecosia has helped me plant 8 trees But changes in my high-consumption western lifestyle are important too! Here is it!

List of 15 Secondary Environmental Net Positives (February 2020).

  1. Large Box of Legos Donated: I am not sure what impact this had on carbon emissions, but psychologically it had the greatest impact on our family. It took an entire weekend of negotiating. Our son had multiple sets of Legos that he had painstakenly put together, and some had been demolished into unrecognizable bits by visitng little kids. Our son is 14 years of age, and very busy with his classes and activities. I have spent a few hours trying to put them back together, but we knew it was a lost cause. He kept the intact ones and a good number of memorable pieces to still have, but 2/3 of them were finally donated to This program accepts the Legos back and washes and resorts them, and donates them to Boys and Girls Clubs or Teach For America. It is done and mentally and physically has opened up space.
  2. Mr. Plastic Picker & I Carpooled To Work: I felt so special that day. My husband is also a physician but in this blog I am Dr. Plastic Picker and he is Mr. Plastic Picker. Anyway, he was working down in the same building last Friday. I go the same office most days, but he travels to several different facilities in our system because he is a specialist specialist. Last Friday he worked at the same office as I did, so he asked if we should carpool. We did, and went all on electricity as I have a Ford CMAX Energi Hybrid and plug at home and work. It’s almost exactly a 20 mile commute and we get 20 miles a charge. I felt like we were on a date, and I had my HMO Plastic Dinosaur in my lap.
  3. 4 Girl Scout Carpools: I offered to drive neighboring girls in our troop and saved the earth 4 separate drives. Honestly it was probably less than 30 miles of driving saved. But driving has such an outsized effect on the environment. Now that I think of it, all those parents we carpooled with have Teslas? But maybe they might have used their minivan? Well at least I saved them some time and I think we did save some carbon.
  4. 4 Showers Averted: I used to really concentrate on decreasing my water usage as we live in drought prone Southern California. We have rain barrels and a water-wise garden already and no lawn. But after I almost fell once down the stairs trying to bring shower water downstairs to water the garden, I realized there is conservation and there is stupidity. And injuring myself was not smart. Since I ocean plastic pick, I usually need to shower daily. Now I’ve been thinking of conservation efforts more globally. I takes 2,700 gallons of water to make a Tshirt. So I don’t beat myself up over a daily shower, since I bought much of the kids’ cotton uniforms used. But I did save myself 4 showers this month by spacing out the showers when I thought it was okay.
  5. 2 Short Drives Averted: I forgot now what the intended destinations were. But there were two short trips we thought we “needed” to take, but we did not. We just waited and combined those two errands with another trip or I think one I did it during one of my plogs.
  6. 12 Recycled Toilet Paper Rolls: We have converted to toilet paper made from recycled paper or bamboo. I had purchased Who Gives A Cr@p but I don’t remember if I signed up for their monthly subscription? I have to go through our credit card bills and update our finances soon. But we were running low and I picked up a 12-pack of Seventh Generation at our local Sprouts. We reuse the outside packaging as bathroom trashcan liner by carefully cutting it open, and not ripping the plastic.
  7. One Bathroom Trash Can Liner Made: This is not that environmentally impactful but it was the funniest! The kids eat cuties and I haven’t stopped buying them in that plastic mesh bag. It drives me crazy though. So I’ve been hot glue gunning other plastic wrapping (like our pasta wraps and frozen burrito wraps) and making my own small trash can liner. It’s amazingly sturdy! I find it hilarious and just laughed at myself.
  8. 1.3 kWH Ohm Hour: It’s that SDGE thing again. It’s kind of annoying. Still participating but not with any joy.
  9. Two Reused Mugs at the Office Coffee Cart: This one was fun. Dr. Dear Friend and I had coffee twice this month at the office Coffee Cart and we brought our own mugs from the lunchroom and plastic knives we already had to stir in the cream and sugar. Posted that one on Instagram too. Big hit!
  10. Three Pieces of Trash Art: Completed three pieces of trash art. This will get an entire series of post later. Brings so much happiness and great way to stimulate discussion.
  11. One Bill Paid On-line: Paid our pest control bill on-line. So switched that over. That is 4 bills a year. Not bad.
  12. Six Pieces of Fruit: I now realize that food has an outsized effect on the environment and waste. So 6 times I chose a piece of fruit instead of a packaged snack because I thought about the environment. Good for my health as well! Usually it was an apple instead of some kind of snack bar.
  13. One Vegan Meal: One time I purposefully used tofu instead of chicken because I thought of the environment. We don’t eat that much meat to begin with. I will blog later about a new friend, the Vegan Anesthesiologist! Really nice person and so interesting.
  14. Two Oatmeal Breakfasts: Twice this month instead of giving the kids a half sandwhich, which has bread that usually is made of palm oil and a slice of cheese and some kind of sandwhich meat, I gave them oatmeal instead. The oatmeal I need to get through anyway, and have been slicing in half a banana and either a bit of brown sugar or honey. Kids really love it.
  15. One salad: One meal where I thought about the earth and specifially turned away a meat based dish and ate a salad.

Thank you for following along. I now realize how we choose to eat is a large part of the changes we need to make. We are going slowly but surely. But I will never forget this month, because this is the month we said good-bye to 2/3 of our son’s Legos. They are going to get reused at least one-more cycle through

It was a big box. Bye bye Legos. We still have 1/2 of you here, but at least you won’t be at the beach for me to pick up or our puppy won’t eat you.

Click here to see how many changes Dr. Plastic Picker was able to make amid the beginning Covid-19 Pandemic in March 2020

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3 thoughts on “Secondary Environmental Net Positives: February 2020”

  1. Dr. McFrugal says:

    Yay! I’m glad you purposely chose tofu instead of chicken. I can’t wait to hear more about this vegan anesthesiologist 🙂

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