May 19, 2021
Yesterday was another epic climate work day. If you were at the climate change and health meeting last night, I apologize if I sounded a bit manic. Tuesdays is my “admin day” and during my paying hours I stay true to my tasks that I am paid for. I had vaccine quality meeting, per diem physician meetings, sustainability emails, talking to schedulers and just trying to nudge the department on a forward path. It’s amazing how many time-booby traps are out there. Half of my job is to keep on scanning the HMO landscape of all the ways our department can go and yell “TURN TURN TURN” before we get sucked into the wrong direction. That can be the wrong physician, wrong project, wrong quality metric. For now, that is the role I play and I’m not shy about it. But it can be discombobulating at times. Right now I’m working on reorganizing this very large HMO committee into something functional and impactful. We will get there but there are a lot of politics and fine details that need to be worked out.
But then I had the climate work and it was indeed an epic day. To summarize what happened for the blog readership
But rather than waiting for years for things to happen, I’ve realized that with all the above projects that I need to reach out. Find help. Sometimes the help comes from unexpected corners. I try not to force projects, just put my head down and keep plugging away. And sometimes I look up and I see a bird for inspiration or I see a beautiful face of a fellow pediatrician lending a hand. In the end this task of stopping climate change is monumental and existential. When I accepted that, that it when I learned to reach out and ask for help. And for everyone out there who shows up, whether it be at last nights meeting, or all the multitude of ways we can move the needle on climate change – just thank you. Thank you for showing up and getting to work. Hope is earned. Hope is earned through action.
April 14, 2021
This is the picture I’m most proud of this past week. Three friends together who naturally came together to work on climate change and health policy. It’s been two years to reach this point, then AAP San Diego Chapter Leadership told us – you need to go to this conference. Here is the money. As co-chairs of the Climate Change and Health Committee, we had already been working on moving legislation. But now we had their seal of approval, and off to virtual DC we went.
March 3, 2021
We did it! We advocated. I started this blogpost yesterday and just wrote “Time to ADVOCATE!!! SB 467.” And that was it. I’m returning to this blogpost now with a cute new picture and also to say that for the last 24 hours (with some well deserved sleep in between) I worked really hard for our HMO/department doing a gazillion projects but in between was advocating. It is all happening.
When I declared I was going to save the earth (along with everyone else) I was not kidding. The Youth Climate Movement is powerful, but they are children. They woke me up, pediatrician and mother me. The adults need to get to work. To be honest, back in August 2020 when I wrote this post https://drplasticpicker.com/ab-345-did-not-fail-politicians-failed-but-pediatricians-are-quick-learners-and-we-rise-up/ I was really sad and mad. I just emailed Erik Anderson from KPBS thanking him for the interview from August, but it was again a sad time when we were accused of this being a publicity stunt and ultimately the bill failed in committee.
February 24, 2021
I would usually write a Hopeful Wednesday post, but today in lieu of Hopeful Wednesday – I will just cross-post something from my real-life facebook. Our AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee is a real group of friends. And one our friends did something amazing. Here is the post.
It’s been a year of efforts, and I wanted to give a big shout out to Patty Pascual Hosking part of our AAP CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee who works on the climate advocacy/legislative side of things with us. She was helped by our colleague Jim Moseman who leads the award from Kaiser. Patty had this dream of establishing a Green Ribbon to be given out by pediatricians in our committee at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair for research on climate change. Patty is San Diego raised, and Science Fair had been a treasured part of her teenage years and she wanted to give of herself to our community and to the environment through this venue. As with things that are driven by passion, it happened. I can’t tell you how joyous I am. And thanks to Drs. Anne Marie Birkbeck-Garcia, Joe McQuaide, Cindy Fuji and Laurence Ashbacher and our premed intern UCSD student Ashley Teo for jumping on in. “The AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee has been established as a professional organization at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. The committee will judge and award the top 2 high school science projects that are most committed to the improvement in environmental health and most likely to lead to impactful environmental change. The GSDSEF is scheduled to take palce virtually on 3/15-3/18/2021.” Two high school kids will be awarded a “Green Ribbon” with a small monetary award for books, and also we decided to give each a cool concrete planter below with a native succulent. They have been ordered and on their way. These are made locally in Los Angeles by a small business, and hand poured using carbon-capture technology on site from coal and gas plants before they are released into the atmosphere. The carbon is infused with fly-ash and replaces 80% of the concrete compared to traditional methods. It’s lightweight and it’s cool, because Patty Pascual Hosking is cool as is saving the earth, science fair and empowering youth. Oh, women of color in science too since three of the judges are women pediatricians of color. Patty is too modest and I’m telling her awesome story.
And that is it. There is a Bright Vibes Feed they had reposted a quote “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet is the Belief that Someone Else Will Save It” along with the caption “We need more than a handful of environmentalists. We need 7.8 billion of them.” This is true on so many levels. We are all influencing eachother. And I know that in my small corner of the real world and virtual blogsphere, it’s not just me as a climate advocate. I have friends who are more modest (I’m the loud out there one) and they are environmentalist as well, and we’ll do this together. Hugs from Dr. Plastic Picker on this Wednesday morning. Amazing what good friends who care, and a solid night of sleep after yoga will do for my wellness.
February 22, 2021
I’m working on several substantial climate projects. Therefore I’m up at 424AM to take advantage of the quiet and to read and think. Anyone who wanders onto this blogpost, please know that the readership is like this virtual blanket of friendship I feel as I’m typing away in the silence. This blog is really my journaling about the eco-avatar me trying to save the earth.
We are working on an article for the Journal of Applied Research in Children entitled “INFORMING POLICY FOR CHANGING OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS AND ALSO TO SAFEGUARD THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN IN EJ COMMUNITIES, COMMON SENSE ADVICE FROM FOUR COMMUNITY PEDIATRICIANS.” We were excited to get the article accepted, but now we have to write it. Since our tween daughter was able to almost finish her 7th grade drama project and her History Day Project on Mahatma Ghandi, I thought to myself yesterday – I certainly can try to knock out some work on this writing project. Time moves quickly and I’m the lead author, so I want to really get this moving so we enjoy this experience.
January 20, 2021
Hello Climate Change & Health Committee Members,
December 24, 2020
I’m looking at yesterday’s trash art piece and I’m still blown away. This is going as a set to someone but as I look at it more there are layers and layers of meaning. When I make the trash art, I have to be in the right mindset and then it just comes. I honestly don’t know or understand what I’m making until it’s done. And then I relook at it and sometimes I get scared or awed at what my subconscious does.
This is the High Priestess and her two insectoid supplicants. They are bonded together by the wooden knitting needles which is my daughter’s which was broken and I carefully salvaged. The bodies are upcycled wine corks. I didn’t realize until I was discussing the pieces with several colleagues yesterday (I had randomly texted them the pictures of the pieces while we were discussing our institution’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout) is that I was really intriqued by each person’s eyes. Each eye is different and none of them are normal. The High Prietess has tunnel vision and is looking inward and her one eye socket is deep. The one eyed insectoid has an innocent wide eyed mouth, but sharp ends to protect the High Priestess. It also has a purple felt half heart and purple is the color of valor. Half a heart, is what we should bring to work. Then there is the insectoid supplicant with the disconjugate gaze. I now understand that this one is me. Looking looking everywhere. Scanning. Scanning with a visual field different than humans. Blunt arms ready to protect and defend the insect colony.
September 12, 2020
Our internship program is closed! We have four AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Interns. I have to provide them with mentorship and guidance, and I can’t do it well if I have too many. So our internship program (which I just made up!) is closed. More candidates keep on coming out of the woodwork, but I tell them next year or the year after next we may have an opening. When one gets a job or gets into medical school, than a spot will open up. Sometimes when I wake in the morning, I’m not sure what to blog about. I half started two blog posts but deleted them. They were on environmental projects that are completed now, so really no need to write about them. So much of this blog is helping me figure out what to do next with the climate.
August 25, 2020
I really wanted to blog about my “new to me” sewing machine. My sister handed it down to me last Christmas. We had a magical family vacation up in Park City, Utah where we were able to be together for a long time. Especially now that our home state and Utah are being scorched by wildfires and I haven’t seen my sister since Christmas, it was a magical snowy memory https://drplasticpicker.com/how-did-our-greener-christmas-go-10-ways-we-changed/. We snow-shoed through Utah’s Aspen forest, and I learned how Aspen forest are one living organism connected through their roots. The forest talked to me that day.