Secondary Environmental Net Positives – June 2020
June 30, 2020
It’s June 30, 2020. Things were a bit off yesterday. The great benefit about blogging is that it enables me to sort out my emotions. I mentioned to Mr. Plastic Picker that I was off yesterday because the world is off right now as the COVID-19 pandemic is rising. I think we forget, even Dr. Plastic Picker, the historic nature and god awfulness of this entire thing. Many of us, especially anti-maskers, are in a state of denial. Then my mother-in-law went to the ED, thankfully for a minor illness. My mother was upset at my father for an upcoming business trip to Arizona, where they are becoming another hot spot. But he’s cancelled it now. I had a slight headache and I could not figure out why. But it’s during these early morning blogging sessions that I find forgiveness and understanding and know that I am stressed like everyone else.
Oh, and I wrote what initially I thought was a good post “Our Colicky Covid World: Stop Being a Baby and Wear Your Mask.” I posted it on my personal facebook, COVID-19 Pediatric Facebook page, Dr. Plastic Picker facebook page on Dr. Plastic Picker Instagram feed https://drplasticpicker.com/our-colicky-covid-world-stop-being-a-baby-and-wear-your-mask/. Initially I thought it was witty but now I realize that it sounded a bit mean-spirited. Mr. Plastic Picker thought I should tone it down a bit and suggested a more gentle compromise at the end. Our teen son pointed out that I had some embellishments that were not 100% true, and that I needed to like I wrote in my article “be the adult in the room.” I sometimes read my posts outloud to the family and everyone makes comments and suggestions. I did change the sentence after our son’s comment. But I refused to change the ending as Mr. Plastic Picker suggested. Our daughter explained it to her father well. “Mommy is saying that the whole world is having a tantrum, and they are acting like babies. And she’s having a tantrum back at them through her post.” With that I am again reminded that my children are wiser and smarter than I am.
Yesterday’s post probably took up too much mental energy as I watched whether people read it, and whether it resonated. But this morning is another day and another opportunity to write. I am glad I wrote that post because that is what I felt at that moment yesterday in my great annoyance at the anti-masker movement.
But this blog has always been about picking up plastic and our family’s small acts of environmental stewardship. Sometimes I am not sure how it became part personal finance blog, COVID-19 MD stress-outlet, leadership and public policy commentary. It just goes to show how plastic effects all parts of our lives. But it is June 30, 2020 and it’s the end of the month. I am happy to get back to my most joyous monthly task! Here are our June 2020 Secondary Environmental Net Positives, the concrete and specific actions I took with the earth in mind.
List of 20 Secondary Environmental Net Positives (June 2020). Listed subjectively from greatest impact to least, but it’s all kind of subjective.
- Thirty Vegan/Vegetarian Meals. Watching 2040 and reading Drawdown was eye opening. Eating a more planet-friendly and sustainable diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the most powerful ways to combat climate change. This has helped us put what we eat in context https://drplasticpicker.com/my-path-is-more-clear-what-drawdown-and-2040-taught-me-about-climate-change/. But more importantly it’s been an incredibly fun and delicious process! I want to write a post on Vegan Goals soon. Stay tuned!
- Twelve Food Waste Projects. Twelve times I made mostly for myself or the family certain meals to try to avert imminent food waste. Even Mr. Plastic Picker mentioned that we have a lot less waste in general. This included getting through those individual salad dressing packets that were piling up in our fridge. I have been using those in lieu of cheese. We finished the last bits of pancake mix and used old frozen blueberries that had been in the freezer for months. Pancake and instapot oatmeal is a great way that we used up a random packet of acai sauce from an old Girl Scout meeting. Our fridge is cleaner. I’m going to try to deep clean it this weekend.
- Thirty-Six Nurses’ Day Jackets Purchased with 20% Recycled Polyester Content. This still makes me very happy. I admit to taking double credit. Here is the blog post I wrote about it. https://drplasticpicker.com/nurses-week-gifts-20-recycled-polyester-and-wrote-to-target/
- One Referral to I Love A Clean San Diego. Another pediatrician who leads multiple youth leadership groups reached out to me about beach clean up projects. She is very self motivated and someone I respect a lot. I just told her the process I’ve taken to organize group beach cleanups which is already through a vetted organization. Probably passing on this information was one of the most impactful things I have done, because now the wave of environmental activism through litter picking has spread to another well-connected pediatrician who has her own very powerful circle of influence.
- Twenty-Four Bills Changed to Automatic. Yes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Plastic Picker sold a single family home rental property. I did a 1031 exchange and upgraded to a nicer rental property that it already rented out. This change in rental properties entailed new HOA and Mortgage and Insurance bills and I put them all on automatic. Remember Dr. Plastic Picker is FISE, Financially Independent and Saving the Earth. This is why this blog is not monetized because really, I’d have to pay taxes on that income anyway. I still work in middle management https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-picker-shares-real-estate-investing-advice-for-mds/
- HUNDREDS of small Vanicream samples Refused. I had already refused the small Vitamin D samples for the office. Here is my post explaining why. https://drplasticpicker.com/free-baby-vitamin-d-samples-i-should-have-known-there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-free-buy-carlsons-instead/ The Vanicream samples come in miniscule plastic containers and really I don’t push one brand over another. So I REFUSED them! Hah! If Dr. Dear Friend is reading this than she now knows. But we were not supposed to be receiving them anyway as it is against HMO policy. There are a lot of policies.
- Seven Trash Art Pieces. I completed seven trash art pieces. That’s been super fun. It has mostly been my anti-vaping pen trash art. If you have been following me on Instagram, you know all about it! LOL.
- Ten Plastic Bags Refused. This was at two separate Sprouts grocery runs. They are now allowing reusable grocery bags, thank goodness, so I won’t need to list this anymore. Those flimsy bags are everywhere now. Hopefully we all go back to reusable bags. If you need one, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org as I have ones with our blog’s logo. I am happy to give out to those who need one. If you don’t need one, don’t ask for one. We all have too much stuff including reusable bags.
- Eight Showers Averted. Eight times I delayed a shower to conserve water. I wash the important parts and then curl my hair. Those days everyone tells me how beauitful I look. Not sure if that is actually true. They are probably just repsonding to my inner happiness glow.
- Eight Soy Sauce Packaged Refused. We had sushi twice this month. It still comes in styrofoam clamshells. It had been a long time since we had purchased sushi. But all those soy sauce packets seemed silly when we have so much soy sauce here. So the next time Mr. Plastic Picker picked up sushi for the family, he refused the soy sauce packets! Yeah! It made us all feel a bit better.
- Four Disposable Chop Sticks Refused. Ditto as above.
- Three cartons of Non-Dairy Milk. The last one we bought is Macademia milk. The family is excited to try it. Mostly we like Oatly milk.
- Two Bathroom Trash Liners. I made two bathroom trash liners from plastic packaging scraps from our groceries. It’s fun. I know it’s weird.
- Two Home Dog Baths. I bathed the puppy twice while I was bathing myself. I know it’s weird but she’s a small dog and it’s really easy and saves water and time. Nothing inappropriate about it. I’m her grandma.
- One Science Poster Repurposed Into Kitchen Shelve Liners. This reused an old science poster, decluttered my office and now protects my expensive shelving. Win, win and win. It’s actually really fancy looking.
- One Sustainable Product Purchased. I needed to by a graduation present for someone. So I chose to purchase a Tiffin from Sustainable Republic, an Instagram friend. This felt really good supporting a California small business.
- One Upcycled Bird House. I made an upcycled bird house for my mom. It was a repurposed shoe box decorated with plastic coated fancy looking cardboard from Mr. Plastic Picker’s new computer box and crafting supplies my sister regifted me. My mom really loves it. I also gave her some premium birdseed but reused a plastic pesto container. I’m looking forward to hearing about her new little friends. It should be just small birds that come.
- One Set of Upcycled Coasters. I upcycled an old Girl Scout project my daughter had stored in her room. It was this foam poster board. I made coasters for the kitchen with this fancy contact paper that actually matches our napkins. It looks good but more importantly our kitchen table is being protected. And when it wears out, we will feel okay throwing it away. Maybe I’ll make a set for our office lunchroom?
- One Soy Latte instead of Regular Latte. Dr. Dear Friend has made me a convert. I still don’t want to patronize Starbucks too much, but sometimes I need to go have coffee with my best friend. And I now like the drink she likes.
- One Tea instead of Cofffee. This is the hardest for me but I still have half of the dried tea to drink. So one time I did not drink coffee, and instead drank this tea that I was gifted years year years ago.
Wow, twenty specific actions we took for the environment is a lot. Usually my goal is 15 but this month I was on a roll. My goal was also to pick up 20 bags of trash and I’m at 19, so will get a bag this morning and will meet my goal. I wrote 30 blogposts this month. I definitely felt the blog taking over my life a bit. I do need to pace myself as most of this blog is really just journaling for myself and self-reflection.
Thank you for joining our family on this journey. Thank you for wearing a mask. And below is our dinner last night. I was telling one of my teenage patients who has started following me on Instagram, that I know it’s crazy that my dinner gets these views. Other Instagram accounts have beautiful images of food. But I think this shows everyone the reality of a busy doctor trying to save the environment one vegan meal at a time, and one piece of ocean bound plastic at a time.