Updates from the Field: Dr. Young-Ho Yoon Making Environmental Moves – Dr. Plastic Picker

Updates from the Field: Dr. Young-Ho Yoon Making Environmental Moves

| Posted in MDs Making Eco-Choices (Interviews)

Dr. Young-Ho Yoon and his son several years ago.

October 7, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Dr. Plastic Picker has given me the gift of reconnecting with friends. We are going through this period of shared panic and grief, and now action regarding the climate. Recently I checked back in with Dr. Young-Ho Yoon, who will forever be my senior resident from Mans Greatest Hospital. He continues to work as an outpatient private practice pediatrician in the Boston area, and being the center of his community of family, friends and patients. Pediatricians are powerful and connected figures. His is also living in a two-MD household and we were sharing common frustrations of educating kids during the pandemic. He shared with me some pretty awesome spreadsheets regarding different childcare options, that is just how organized and precise his mind is. Remember, he is the senior resident that drilled into me proper fluid management and a love of renal physiology. To this day, it has remained a strength for me and I hardly every need to IV a patient as I vigorously push oral rehydration because I know the details on Sodium and Potassium concentrations for most intravenous and oral solutions and common foods/drinks and can explain it well to parents. We had a beloved renal attending who would always look at urine samples for the residents at any time of day, and I was sent several times from the inpatient floor by Dr. Young-Ho when I was an intern to bring the urine sample to this attending’s lab. Dr. Linshaw would call it liquid gold. I often tell that story to my patients when I ask for urine samples, and I think of Dr. Linshaw and Young-Ho when I think of how much a urine sample can tell you about someone’s health.

So what has our Pediatrician Eco-Conscious #1 friend been up to? He was kind enough to be our first MD interview on this blog in November 2019. Click here to read his first interview https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-young-ho-yoon-pediatrian-and-environmentalist-1/. Since then, Dr. Yoon has been busy making further changes in his family’s life. I think for his household he is the Eco-Champion.


In our first interview, Dr. Yoon had said ” I sometimes idly wish that I were a mad scientist who could create a new food chain at the bottom of which were bacteria that could break down microplastics. Or otherwise create a chain of thermostable enzymatic reactions to accomplish the same result.” And indeed it is happening. Dr. Yoon sent us updates on a Japanese research team that has made some breakthroughs. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/28/new-super-enzyme-eats-plastic-bottles-six-times-faster?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-1 And he wrote, “It’s an encouraging report.” Honestly that is equivalent to me running up and down the hallway jumping for joy. Perhaps he follows the plastic news because his former intern is now Dr. Plastic Picker?


Dr. Yoon already had a plug-in electric Chevy Volt, but he updates us that he is using his electric bike more. “You might be excited to hear that I rode my electric bike to work three times in the last 5 days, figure it uses less energy than my electric car and better for my health.” This is good as he is getting more exercise, and there is less microplastics from tire wear and tear into the environment.


We replaced our gas water heater with a hybrid heat pump unit, also added a heat pump dryer to complement our gas dryer. I figured we could use the gas dryer in the summer but otherwise capture the heat from the heat pump dryer for the rest of the year . . . Cools and modestly dehumidifies the surrounding space. Definitely quieter than the gas it replaced.https://www.rheem.com/product/performance-platinum-proterra-hybrid-electric-water-heater-with-leakguard-80-gallon-30-amp-xe80t10hs45u0?fbclid=IwAR0hhoN3n3AqRjzVuKHHuSYOzz60xkGRQM3uzaYE9I2wuFE5Ume8sB4TPwc This is so cool. I havn’t looked into this at all. I just sent this link to Dr. McFrugal my eco-friendly vegan physician personal finance friend, to see what he thinks.


I also bought a composting unit (Aerobin 400) for our food scraps. I had been using a rotary mower but likely need to get an electric one.https://compostbinhq.com/exaco-aerobin/.” Hmmm I think Dr. Young-Ho Yoon is on to something. I started a compost bin from a reused plastic tub, but I haven’t drilled holes in it yet and I haven’t purchased the red wriggler worms. It’s pricey for the average household at $300 but honestly we are a two MD household and we can afford it. Hmmmmm this is fascinating. I’m going to call my mom today who loves to garden, and see if she wants one two. I may buy two, one for her and one for us. Remember we are FISE (Financially Indepedent to Save the Earth), so can afford this eco-splurge. Hmmm, Dr. Young-Ho Yoon is so smart!


We had a spell of really cold nights recently. I knew our exterior doors had sagged a bit, so I thought some of the cold air penetration was related to that, but I had them straightened with only a little improvement. I realized that there some gaps at the sash that I can weatherstrip, and I’m looking to purchase an infrared camera to visualize the areas of leakage.” This is fascinating. I think we have an area that little mice friends have been hanging out in our backyard eating my mother-in-law’s figs. I wonder if I would be able to see those critters at night with an infrared camera???? When I asked him more about this infrared camera, he explained “I bought a used Seek Compact thermal camera for my iPhone. The Flir probably would have been better, but I didn’t find a great deal on eBay at the time. Using it totally reminds me of the movie Predator, especially since the resolution is pretty low. I discovered that a bump-out section in the front of our living room does not seem to be insulated above the ceiling, so that (and not the windows beneath it) is the reason our living room gets cold.”


Young-Ho didn’t describe it this way. But when he updated me on this last change, I thought this is what we call in the Instagram litter-picking world “wear your values.” He writes, “other minor lifestyle changes: the only dress shirts I wear these days are Uniqlo Super Non-Iron (https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men/dress-shirts/super-non-iron-shirts) so that I can launder them in the washing machine and hang to dry, saving money on dry-cleaning (and those plastic bags!), otherwise more casual button-ups, also very dark jeans.”

There are so many ways to be an earth champion. I have always been fascinated by Dr. Young-Ho Yoon my former senior resident. The same mind that drilled into me the details of fluid management, is also approaching climate change is a more technological way. I definitely think he is onto something, especially with the Aerobin composter. When Mr. Plastic Picker wakes up I will need to tell him about what Dr. Young-Ho Yoon has been up to. Mr. Plastic Picker is skeptical of most people but he trusts Dr. Young-Ho Yoon.

My son. Back then Dr. Young-Ho Yoon was one of the few friends who knew him, and always brought him the cutest outfits! Young-Ho, he towers over everyone now! No more chubby cheeks. The other person is his cousin on Mr. Plastic Picker’s side. Applying to college now. Wow. Maybe MIT?

Thank you Young-Ho for lending your time to update us on your efforts. I think you’ve definitely influenced us! I think we will likely get the Aerobin Composter, maybe two. Maybe I’ll have the former chubby-cheeked toddler above begin emptying the composter as part of his chores? Everyone needs to pitch it.

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