Secondary Environmental Net Positives – October, November, December 2020
January 19, 2021
I watched my KevinMD podcast at least 15 times, maybe more. Mr. Plastic Picker asked me if I was watching it AGAIN, and I got a bit irritated at him. The reason I was watching it multiple times because it was almost like my Plastic Picking Senior Thesis. My actual senior thesis in college likely only three people ever read. It was a year of futility because I picked a topic that would be doable within the year at Harvard, and not something I was passionate about. I was so focused on the mechanics of getting into medical school and not a passion. I need to remember this for my now 5 AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health interns. I need to find them work that they are PASSIONATE about. This is the only way to true growth and progress. I was not passionate about cleft palate and eugenics theory. I learned the mechanics of academic historical writing. I AM PASSIONATE about plastic picking and ocean beach cleaning, and physician wellness and management and environmentalism. I think this is demonstrated in the KevinMD Podcast interview. Plus, I kept on listening to the podcast because honestly I did not prepare for it. I thought I was very tangential as I was giving the interview. But the interview is actually the culmination of what picking up almost 400 bags of ocean plastic pollution and salvaging over 1500 items from the ocean/landfill and reploying it into the circulation of human consumption does to a person. This litter picking journey and ocean plastic pollution reduction journey for me has been about passion. I think that passion is evident in the podcast interview.
As I was listening to the podcast interview, I could hear echoes of sentences I had written in various blogs. The speaking part is effective because most of those turn of phrases and sentences I had written first. I have been proud of the personal work of self-healing and earth-healing I have done on the beach and on this blog over the last year and a half. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been real and tangible. Anyway, I articulated this self reflection to my sometimes cynical Mr. Plastic Picker, junior college boy of my dreams now middle-aged physician middle manager. The English major that I married understood. The idealistic boy I married is still there, buried somewhere within the cynicism of my middle-age husband. This journey has been about us growing together as well and discovering new aspects of each other. Last Saturday mid-morning, I was standing in the kitchen and I looked up. I realized that my parents-in-law were juicing a large bowl full of lemons with their favorite hand-metal squeezer lemon thing. I was making some home-made dough or something. And Mr. Plastic Picker was at the coffee station (we have a big kitchen) grinding his own coffee in his recently purchased German-designed hand coffee mill. We were all living our more sustainable lives. I looked up and started laughing at the four of us, and pointed out what we were all doing to try ot reduce plastic and live life earth-friendly. He smiled at least and my mother-in-law laughed. Noticing these connections and how we are more connected to eachother has been truly heart-warming.
I used that word heart-warming several times in the KevinMD podcast interview, and I realized that it’s an apt word to describe this entire journey. Heart-warming – all of it.
But rather than going onto philosophical tangests and pontificating, I thought I’d write a long-postponed and easy post of our family’s Secondary Environmental Net Positives for October, November and December 2020. I hadn’t felt the need to detail all the continued positives because they were flowing and changes are becoming hard-wired in our family. But I needed an easy post to write, and also the exposure from the KevinMD podcast that has been shared almost 100 times has made me shy. I need to remind myself that this blog has been about practicalities. I started this blog because I wanted to do something about the environment and document concrete actions. Litterpicking continues to inspire in me a cascading effect of changing our lives to live with the earth in mind.
List of 10 Secondary Environmental Net Positives for October, November and December 2020
- 15 Showers Averted. This are just the showers I purposefully postponed to save water. In general, we are showering every other day or every day and a half these days.
- Composting more. This is hard to quantify, but the Aerobin 400 is doing it’s composting magic.
- One Recycled Thing From the Halloween Event. I’m just typing the notes I made from my iPhone? I think I saved the plastic table liners and plastic work things from the Pediatric Vaccine Drive-Through Event. We will reuse next year.
- Three Tax Bills On-Line: Saved me some stamp money too!
- Three Shirts Cut Into Rags: Two shirts found on the beach that were laundered and 100% cotton, and cut into usable rags for the kitchen. Also cut up a pair of lounging pants where the waist band was too worn. More rags and the inside elastic gave to my mother-in-law for her sewing stash.
- Three Succulent Plants Given Away: I’m having great fun propogating succulents. I gave away three of my succulent babies. I try to reuse pots given to me by others and not by new things. I do have to admit I did buy $100 worth of gardening supplies at Home Depot with fancy new succulents and now decorative clay pots. But that’s it. I will continue to propogate those succulents.
- HiBar Bar Shampoo: My daughter and husband have also switched over to HiBar Bar Shampoo. They are alternating between their remaining liquid shampoo. I tried to get a coupon for the Physicians for Sustainable Future Facebook Group but they politely declined. I still love their products though!
- Refillable Deodorant. Mr. Plastic Picker switched to the HumanKind Refillable Deordorant and so far so good.
- Vegetable Appetizer Plate at Dinner: Since we are eating more plant-based which includes a more Mediterranean Diet, we are trying to eat more olives. I have successfully added a vegetable appetizer plate at dinner. I’ll cut some vegetables and put a bit of cheese and some olives. Some days are prettier than others, but it gives us a bigger variety of vegetables and flavors for dinner and has been fun thus far.
- Salvaged Large Piece of Plastic Artificial Turf: A family member was doing a big construction project and had a large piece of artifical turf he was going to throw away into the landfill. It’s perfectly new artificial turf. My mother called me about it, and my father-in-law and I drove down there to pick it up. It’s perfect! I’m going to put it up on my roofdeck!
And that is it! Those are the 10 Secondary Environmental Net Positives that I remembered to list on my iPhone for September-December. Thanks for following along. We are a shared community, and I also appreciate hearing about other people’s changes and suggestions on Instagram and in real life as well!