Voices of Gen Z: Teen Writer that Inspired Me
October 27, 2020
I posted this on my personal Facebook page, and it’s worth reposting on the blog. I have been interviewed by a few news outlets including KPBS and mentioned in Del Mar Times, and will be doing a podcast soon with KevinMD. But the one that has been the most meaningful was this recently completed interview with Voices of GenZ writer Arlene Nagtalon. Rereading our conversation in her article, I felt much the same way when my son talked about his Climate Strike Speech at school. To see our children especially these brave teenagers tackle issues that we as adults have failed at, is inspiriting.
“Its 11PM and trying to coordinate with some key people efforts to get a measure passed tomorrow at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to limit flavored ecigs in order to protect our teens. And it’s frustrating because big tobacco and many forces are out there fighting against such a common sense measure. But when I get frustrated and want to give up fighting for pediatric health and our environment, I think about amazing teens like Arlene Nagtalon. This is a co-worker’s daughter. I was touched when she asked to interview me for the youth on-line magazine Voices of Gen Z. Below is the interview. I’m a bit tired of talking about myself, but I was so grateful to get to know Arlene during our virtual interview. She wrote all about me, but sprinkled during my replies was a true back and forth conversation that was very satisfying. I can tell you it was one of the best most intelligent and stimulating conversations I’ve had in a long time. Check out her article, but better yet check out this magazine. What these young minds are discussing, blogging about and writing – is simply amazing. They get it. They get the issues. It’s their world and they are fighting for a better future. I sound probably hypomanic in the interview because it was so fun to talk with Arlene. Kudos to her mother and father for raising an amazing daughter. Her pediatrician (a friend and colleague) for being her pediatrician. It really takes a community. Anyway just wanted to share why it’s worth fighting big tobacco at 11pm at night and why picking up plastic is worth it, because it’s for our children. It’s true we borrow the world from them.”
I’m not sure how Arlene did it, but through her interview she was able to have me articulate so well my identity – better than I have in over 300 blog posts. I confessed to her, “About a year ago, youth activists like yourself truly inspired me. When I was going through a difficult time in my own life with long working hours, hearing Greta Thunberg talk on the news with the climate strike truly struck me as a pediatrician. There was a need for adults to step up. As a pediatrician, it’s heart-wrenching to see these kids do these unbelievable things like taking a year off from school. As an adult, I’m here thinking, “Gosh, if these kids are doing big things and I’m an adult, I really need to step up my game!” So that’s how I kind of came to where I am now. And honestly, I’m a generally happy person, but I’m very scared about the direction where the environment is heading. I fundamentally think it’s an existential crisis, therefore, I think you gotta put everything into it. I think my role as an environmental activist is more powerful because I still work, and I try to think of changing it from the inside. I still support the protests, but I consider myself as a quieter environmentalist who tries to agitate from the inside.”
Check out her entire article Arlene Nagtalon, “Dr. Plastic Picker: Hero & Avid Environmentalist – A Q&A.” I love the subtitle of the series too, “Conversations That Matter.” It is so powerful. No more small talk and meaningless chatter, real conversations with a teen writer who is so much smarter than most adults I know (sorry my fellow colleagues!). https://www.voicesofgenz.com/post-1/dr-plastic-picker-hero-avid-environmentalist-a-q-a-with-dr-vi-thuy-nguyen?fbclid=IwAR3PYX9oFY2lvEOoRtJBY3zRwz10TkbgguIz7PI7B5FXgsdXPznn78knTkc
Plus I got to update my As Featured In Image with Voices of Gen Z! Thanks Arlene!!!