Yeah. This One Was Personal. SB1137 was AB345. 3200 foot setbacks and I’m a finalist for San Diego Magazine Celebrating Woman 2022.
August 26, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
Yesterday ended up being a busier climate day than I thought. At dinner our daughter made a paella-like amazing dish of crispy rice and meatballs that she whipped together, just because she is one of those creative type minds. The tumeric gave it the yellow color, she explained, and she used tomatoes from the garden (I think she may have picked them herself while I was busy talking on the phone). The dinner was simply amazing with slices of organic white nectarines on the side. I was in the state of mind to really look at the dinner and appreciate the food and the moment, but my mind was still swirling with all the busyness of the climate projects of the day. Mr. Plastic Picker had picked her up from volleyball practice, She had come home with her father afterwards and I was in the middle of 2 hours of advocacy calls and meetings. At some point she glared at me because I was in the way of her getting a pan and listening to her music whilst cooking, and I was in my moment/zone of talking about a climate project over the phone with a colleague. When I saw her glare at me, I glared back at her.
We laughed at dinner as we tried to figure out what that odd moment was, as we don’t typically glare at each other. They were really intense glares my friends! It was just funny, and we were not mad at each other at all – but realized we were each in our zones and doing something we both feel passionate about. Those concentric circles of experiences were overlapping. Teen unwinding from volleyball practice in her happy zone of cooking, and her mother winding up on a big project and in my “I am being effective for the world” zone.
When I look back at yesterday, I’ll remember the paella-like dinner she made and that glaring episode. What happened yesterday was so much, I will need the weekend to process it all. I had to go to sleep early and crawl into myself last night.
The first big thing that happened was that I was able to drop off our daughter on-time for her volleyball practice and while in the parking lot of her school – made it to an advocacy call. I advocated with San Diego 350.org on SB1137 which is pretty much the previously rejected AB345, an oil and gas setback bill that addresses the health effects of oil and gas drilling on sensitive communities. It would be a momentous bill, and it sounds like it will likely pass early next week on the senate. I was asked to attend by my climate friends at SanDiego350.org. I had printed out their advocacy flyer and reviewed a few articles before hand, and then dived in to the lobbying meeting with the legislative director.
This one was very personal though. I had been inordinately angry after AB345 a few years back. Senator Ben Huesos had called us a publicity stunt by bay area enviros and it was published on KPBS/NPR. And in those comments, Kevin Anderson the reporter had written “San Diego Pediatricians were advocating for clean air.” And with those comments San Diego Pediatricians For Clean Air formed. I’m passive aggressive and when someone makes me angry, and misrepresents what I do or my intentions – I get back at them. I don’t really get back at them, but I use that personal attack on my integrity to fuel the real work. That’s my super power I guess. In ever instance when I’ve felt wrongly attacked or judged, I don’t hurt the person that hurt me – I try to change the system. In essence, this is what happened in my journey to being Dr. Plastic Picker and my burn out from middle-management and the scars that I sustained. I’m healed now and the healing was me trying to help our broader community and the earth.
Anyway, back to SB1137. It’s a oil and gas well setbacks bill, and has major implications for oil and gas production in the state. But this was also the same state senator’s office that dared to call a local pediatrician who was overworked and just looking to speak at my first ever lobbying meeting a publicity stunt afterwards. Since then, I’ve been to many many other different lobbying meetings and they have been in our favor. I’m stronger now and my voice was stronger yesterday, and some of my anger and frustration came out. I don’t recommend this as a way to lobby, but I knew the audience I was talking to and I knew my position of influence. In essence I said, “for me this is very personal because I was here several years ago lobbying with your predecessor on AB345 and Senator Huesos called us a publicity stunt in the paper. I get it. Back then it was bay area climate and health advocates leading the conversation and the world was different. I have to thank Sen Ben Huesos because this is why San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air formed, because we realized we needed to emphasize that we are LOCAL pediatricians and LOCAL constituents advocating for our LOCAL patients. We have since helped change the course of climate legislation in San Diego and California. ” I then went into the health effects of oil and gas drilling which is asthma, premature birth, cancer from the hydrogen sulfide and benzene and also bloody noses. And then I ended, “It’s a different world than it was two years ago and I hope Senator Huesos makes a different decision.” Or something like that. I made sure to smile. Then the youth came about and they were bright and upbeat and their shining faces balanced out my rage. (I’m exaggerated of course, I’m sure I was not that rageful but I was trembling with fury). But all in all, the meeting went really well. It sounds like he is going to vote for the setback bill. He was going to vote for it anyway. Come on, the state of the world is changing. Everyone now wants to be on the side of right and the winning team.
But on this blog is my lived truth. We loss a few years in this code for humanity. We could have passed this over two years ago. I’ll be anxiously watching the bill this upcoming week, and in my heart know that I was part of this grassroots movement to get it passed.
And then our wonderful AAP San Diego chapter nominated me for San Diego Magazine Celebrating Women Award, and I am a finalist. I am going to a fancy dinner with 200 local women leaders who are change-makers in our community. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I am 100% going to go! AAP is even paying for my ticket and a guest. And my date is going to be the teen girl who was glaring at me while she was making us dinner after volleyball practice. LOL. She gave me the biggest hug and told me she was proud of me last night. She said “mommy, you are so cool!”