Secondary Environmental Net Positives – July 2020
August 9, 2020
I’m trying to do what I can for AB345. It was rejected at the last committee hearing. The lobbying efforts including a statement from us as pediatricians from the South Bay of San Diego https://drplasticpicker.com/yes-on-ab345-press-conference-today/. I had blogged about my disappointment and the things I learned in what I thought was a light-hearted post https://drplasticpicker.com/ab-345-did-not-fail-politicians-failed-but-pediatricians-are-quick-learners-and-we-rise-up/. I actually sent a link to the post to the young policy analyst who I got to meet and a friendly neighborly note. “
“It was great to meet you, especially as someone who grew up in the South Bay and working on policy. What a great example you are setting for so many kids from Chula Vista, National City, San Ysidro, IB and South San Diego. I am sad as well about the vote, and I’m sure there are many complicating factors that converged. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that it was great to meet you and hopefully we can all work together on more environmental issues. I write this fun blog which is kind of anonymous called drplasticpicker and we clean Imperial Beach and Pacific Beach. Anyway, just pediatricians and kids and community trying to help clean our world. I don’t know Senator Ben Huesos but I did blog about my disappointment I hope in a light-hearted manner. He doesn’t need to see it, as I only have about 500-1000 readers a day. But thought you would enjoy it, as I feel like you are on the side of right. Probably Senator Ben Huesos is as well, but not the side of “right now.” Best of luck! And if you ever need help from pediatricians on anything, let us know! – Dr. Plastic Picker (actually signed my real name).
And then today I received an email reply from one of my medical school alumni friends who is a cardiologist and professor at UCSD. I had asked him if I could interview him for my blog a few months ago. My friend is very busy and just came off the cardiolgy service which is busy due to COVID-19. But I forgot that my friend is actually a prominent Latino academic who also lives in District 40. He has a MD/MPH. I know in general he would probably be a supporter of AB345, but I didn’t want to give his contact to the other groups as he is so busy and sometimes environmental advocacy work without the context of real community/connections can be just a stream of demanding emails. And to be honest, the San Francisco folks (god bless their hearts) are impassioned but a bit preachy. That’s just not how we operate in San Diego, especially in the South Bay. We are laid back and we care where you are from. We don’t really do well with outsiders telling us what to do.
The young policy director had sent me a kind note back saying, “I understand your disappointment in the recent vote, but I hope this does not discourage you from actively participating in the legislative process for years to come. Your advocacy means more than you could imagine. Thank you again and it was great meeting you as well!” Signed young earnest democracy policy analyst.
And then this morning, I debated on letting the AB345 coalition know about my friend. The bill has a very slim chance of passing the second committee meeting. Rather than burning bridges, I instead sent an email to the young policy analyst.
“Thank you for your kind reply and your encouragement! I know this is a shot in the dark. It’s been interesting working with the various groups trying to lobby on AB345. I only got involved because I see it affect my patients and care about our specific community and our kids. I believe and endorse everything I stated in the KPBS article and letter, but I do feel the sense of community and camraderie is somewhat gone. As someone raised in Chula Vista and Bonita, I totally get the feeling of outsiders coming in.
I forgot that I have a friend Dr. LC. We are good friends from Crimson Medical School, and he is a cardiologist and Associate Professor at UCSD. He’s an amazing person, and he and his wife are very active in the Latino South Bay community. He lives in Chula Vista so in Sen Huesos district, and works up at UCSD Scripps. As a cardiologist, he is working with COVID-19 patients and is well versed on environmental health/air pollution and it’s affect on increased cardiac death and covid-19 death in more polluted communities. Dr. LC is super busy and just came off working on the COVID-19 units. Plus they have 3 very rambuctious boys that keep them busy. Do you think Sen Ben Hueso’s would consider talking to XX? I can try to arrange. XX comes from an amazing background where his parents were migrant farm workers in the Central Valley, and he went to UC Davis and I met him at Harvard. He trained at UCSD and his wife is a Latina Attorney very involved in the community as well.
Okay. I know this is a shot in the dark. But if anyone can talk to Ben Huesos at an equal level, it’s Dr. LC. It’s probably not a bad thing for him to get to know him. Dr. LC is very prominent in the country and he runs the UCSD School of Medicine PRIME HEq program, which is the special track for medical students at UCSD who want to work for underserved communities. We have a few of his students from UCSD Medical school working at XX Otay mesa because of my connection with him in medical school.
Okay, from one Chula Vista person to another. I didn’t give Dr. LC’s contact to the other groups, because I don’t want his to be bothered as he is so busy. But I know he really cares about cardiac health and it is so linked to air pollution. If you hear him tell stories about the hispanic cardiac patients that he takes care of, and how linked it is to environmental health – you’ll seriously stop and listen.” Dr. P signed my real name
And that is it. That is the big hail mary I did for the environment today. Who knows if it will work? But at least I tried, and I had to do it my way which with a sense of decorum and community and linking hands together.
The wonderful part of this blog is that it keeps me accountable for actual real changes in our lives that we are doing on behalf of the environment. I’m going to count the lobbying efforts on AB345 Oil and Gas setbacks bill. And I have 14 other things I did for this month’s
List of 15 Secondary Environmental Net Postiives (July 2020). Listed subjectively from greatest time effort this month to lowest time effort. As always, it’s kind of subjective.
- Lobbying for AB345: See above and the two previous blogs. Not sure how effective but it’s something I needed to do!
- Climate Reality Leadership Global Training 2020: Yes I did it finally! I have my Green Ring! This actually took up more time since it was on and off for 2 weeks. But I’ll list it second because the first was more mentally exhausting and seemed to require more effort.
- CMAX Energy Hybrid Charger Fixed! Mr. Plastic Picker my real life Vulcan come to life and romantic lead in this blog story fixed my charger! Yeah I’m all electric these days. There is something wrong with one of the garage outlets and it fried the charger. We got a new one which retails for $700 for free since it was under warranty.
- COLD BREW COFFEE! My new Cold Brew Coffee project is definitely a winner. It’s so much more convenient to drink it at the office. I have at least saved the earth 17 disposable coffee cups between offering Nurse L and Dr. Dear Friend COLD BREW coffee when they wanted to go to the local AM/PM or coffee cart. Saved us all money as well.
- Trash Art Pieces: I made five new trash art pieces. Some are getting kind of edgy! LOL.
- Food Waste Projects: Six times I made a certain meal for myself trying to avert food waste. Although I need to change it up because our daughter says the stir fries with onions, tomatoes and various veggies is getting tiresome. LOL
- Vegan Recipes: Four new vegan recipes. We’ll probably get back to cooking more recipes, but the cooking new things has not been as fun. Our daughter is also not a big fan of the vegan mac and cheese now. I actually like it. Have to change that one up a bit.
- ONLINE Bill Pay: Six bills were paid online saving some carbon, paper and stamps.
- Showers Averted: Three times this month that I delayed a shower to conserve water.
- Upcycled Bird House and Gifted Bird Seeds: I made an upcycled bird house. One of my patients really liked it, and it comes with a glass jar of birdseed. I repurpose the glass jar because I buy the birdseed in bulk. This is so fun for me! I love our backyard Upcycled Presidential Bird House. It’s still going strong and we have so many backyard bird friends now. Mostly California Towhees.
- Oh, I gave myself credit for two things for the above!
- Delaying New Toaster Purchase: We have a four-slice toaster. I think it’s at least 8 years old? The right two slices don’t work. The left ones work fine. We are eating less bread anyway and having fun delaying buying a new toaster as long as we can. We tried to fix the toaster but it’s made to be obsolete and unfixable. That is why we need a circular economy.
- Vegan Muffins: Made vegan muffins for the family practice residency breakfast.
- Green Tea: Twice I drank green tea instead of coffee. Honestly at this rate, it’s going to take me five years to get through all the green tea that I already have!
- Reused Plastic Bag: Twice I found pristine almost new plastic bags on my plogging runs. I saved them and used them for the next plogging or litter picking walk.
And that is it. My monthly exercise in trying to change our family’s behaviors. Hard-wired changes that now come naturally to us, I don’t jot down anymore. In general our trash bins are mostly filled with plastic that I gather from my walks. Our household produces a lot less trash now. The key has been dramatically reducing the “new things” we bring into our house. When one stops the mindless consumerism, it’s amazing how much time, money and brain space you get back. We have space for those two beautiful things below. The two pumpkins my mother-in-law is so proud of. They are from our front yard and organic, fertilized with bunny poop from our pet bunnies and compost. Likely it will be a soup or stir fry.