Trying To Make An Impact, But Enjoying the Sweetness of Life
May 22, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It’s 820AM and Sunday morning. The two teenagers are fast asleep. Mr. Plastic Picker had worked 3 extra overtime shifts Saturday, and then within the last 20 minutes of his shift (which he did telemedicine from home) was called into the hospital to do an urgent procedure. This kind of put a wrench into our plans as a family to have dinner. He was slightly annoyed and had to throw on scrubs and leave the house. We were planning on going to UTC in La Jolla for some window-shopping and dinner. The teenagers watched another English period drama episode they are watching together, and I waved him off standing in the front yard as he drove off in his old trusty Prius. When you are a young doctor newly getting paid to save people’s lives, the paging and the immediacy and the hero-worship can be thrilling and addictive. But for us well into middle-age and having been doing this competently for over 15 some would say 20 years, it gets old. It gets old – really fast.
I was standing on our front porch waving my husband off as he went to save someone’s life. I sometimes think we don’t stop to realize those moments, and that in the middle of the crazy beauty plethora of our front garden with ready tomatoes and lemons and parsley and white radishes and butterflies – it’s the ending to the college romance story that we would never have imagined. Two children healthy and safely into their teenage years with their priorities straight, and liking each other enough to ask “do you want to watch a movie right now? What are you doing?” And us, secure enough it our finances for me to decide – “Let’s just go out to get Vietnamese food. The place is good enough. Grandmother is gone and I want Vietnamese food.” And so while father was doing his job on call, we ate out and returned to our home that night. Kids watched another movie and baked. I went to bed early, and at some point Mr. Plastic Picker came home. This morning we woke up rested, not knowing when the other had gone to sleep. But we shared making our morning drinks, him decaf coffee now instead of regular coffee and for me – matcha green tea with a little bit of brown sugar and soy milk. We both had a blondie that was baked by our daughter last night.
And with that we are enjoying the sweetness that is our lives. I spent most of yesterday advocating for California state climate bills. There are so many numbers. SB 1202 Zero net emissions of greenhouse gases. SB 1010 Air Pollution: state vehicle fleet: zero emissions vehicles. SB 1482: Building Standards: electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Those we advocating for as a unit between AAP California and AAP San Diego and SDPCA. And then personally I lobbied for AB 2649 Natural Carbon Sequestration and Resilience Act. AB 2026 Recycling plastic packaging and carryout bags. Continued organizing with one of our students a webinar on reducing single use plastics in healthcare. Chatted with pediatric friends on who wanted to be part of the San Diego Audubon Society board of directors. Many climate projects between finishing my Kdramas and cleaning the house.
And this morning, I’m going to slow down. Just taking care of the blog and did our family donations that we are behind. Donated $187 to plant one tree per Instagram follower, 1871 trees now for Nepal. In total our family has donated over the last 3+ years no more than 10,000 to environmental organizations and we’ve tried to be impactful. We’ve now helped plant or preserve 1,055,981 trees and 15,084 acres of land/ocean. And I feel so healthy today. I’ve started running again to help with some cardio, and slept well. When you are better, it’s slow but real. I feel that way for the earth as well. True climate work will be slow and the earth can heal, but we just have to keep at it. Chipping away, project by project, tree by tree, recruiting activists by activists. That’s the only way forward.