Youth Activists: Let Them Inspire Us but They Are Children – Adults Need To Get To Work – Dr. Plastic Picker

Youth Activists: Let Them Inspire Us but They Are Children – Adults Need To Get To Work

| Posted in Climate Advocacy (AAP/Climate Reality/ClimateHealthNOW)

Relying on one generation to make change is scary. Come on middle-aged adults – step up!

October 31, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I finished attending the National Children’s Health and Climate Leadership Forum. It was actually an impactful conference organized by the AAP and Eco-America. I was able to dialouge with climate leaders from a large swath of organizations including Faith leaders, American Lung Association, and other MD Climate Activists. I even met one fellow pediatrician from New York who private messaged me that she was a “Dr. Plastic Picker East Coast Fan.” I was so touched. Truly.

The several conferences I have been to now, usually have showcased youth and student climate movements. We had a teen speak about organizing the climate marches in Philadelphia. What struck me is that she admitted that she had to step away from the climate movement and marches because she had to self-care. She became exhausted. And then she magically transformed into a very articulate but still very recognizable teen that was busy with school and extracurriculars. She is applying to college.

I have also been inspired by the youth climate strikes, but I think it’s important to put that in context. It’s the totality of them together that inspire. Individual organizers are wonderful, but we should see them in the context of who they are – they are children. And they need to be able to live their childhood. It’s amazing to me that so many teens and youth have devoted entire gap years to climate work. There are indigenous teens and entire communities that have devoted their lives (sometimes literally when activist have been murdered) to trying to save the climate. Yet I still have colleagues who ignored my emails or overtures. I know now it has less to do with me than them. But the inaction amongst adults is embarassing. During one of the talks when the youth activist was speaking about how the youth movement does not have funds, I almost typed into the chat box $$$$$. As adults we need to put our money where our mouth is. It’s just the truth.

I don’t expect everyone to now redirect their career toward climate work like I have. I forgot what presentation I wrote it in (I write so much these days) but I typed out that I have “pivoted my career toward sustainability.” And this is true. Maybe the address by the youth activist accomplished their purpose. It has further inspired me to commit to how much as functioning and influential adults we can do.

New Actions Dr. Plastic Picker is going to Take to Combat Climate Change.

(1) Do Really Good Job with the VIDEO TEEN PREVENTATIVE VISIT PILOT for MediCAL patients. This is for work but it is very important fot health equity and the environment. The holy grail of health equities is the idea of the medical home, and bonding with a primary care doctor. We piloted this with 10 patients yesterday and it went well. I need to write it up and do the flowchart, and finish my literature search. I have the support of the other people on the project, and my goal is to write this up and present at the next AAP meeting. I need this to become a real publication. Bridging gaps in racial health equities also helps with climate change. Also VIDEO visits there is less driving for everyone and is super efficient. Plus if I can get this on a real publication list, than I can add it to my resume. My resume is looking really good by the way. Honestly as Assistant Boss I didn’t really need to burnish my resume, but I am now trying to establish a Pediatric Fellowship in Climate Change and Health. If I want to become fellowship director I need stuff on my resume. My friend Dr. A.F. is also going to forward me the application to become Voluntary Professor at UCSD for Pediatrics. It should be really easy. I am offering to do lectures now at the residency, PRIME HEq Program and teach the residents when they are at our HMO sometimes. Plus I need to put it on my resume. My hyper-focused Crimson University personality is coming in super handy right now in climate work! LOL

(2) PLASTIC FREE/VEGAN FOOD PROJECTS (DIY BEYOND SAUSAGES): For me it has always helped to mix work activism and policy activism like projects at home. My next fun projects goals at home to decrease our plastic in the kitchen and eat #imperfectlyvegan is DIY Beyond Sausage. We really love the Beyond Beef and Beyond Sausage products. But they are not cheap! I’ve perfected Vegan Burgers. The other day I made DIY Vegan burgers and still have 8 more to freeze in 2 separate servings. That is a lot of money saved plus my children told me that my vegan burgers are better. Beyond Sausage products average to about $2.50 a sausage. DIY recipes are less than $1 per sausage. Plus I’m sure they are healthier with less food miles and all the benefits of cooking at home. This is the recipe I’m intending to use I’ll let the readership know how they turn out!

(3) AEROBIN-400 GROUP MD DISCOUNT: I had sent an email to several MDs to our HMO about offering to get a group discount for the Aerobin 400. My email was met with deafening silence. Don’t worry people. I remember you! LOL. I get it. Folks are afraid of venturing into something new. But I ran into a super influential pediatrician yesterday and we were talking about the composter, and she would like to try it too. I’m going to see how much compost I can get, and I told her about my crazy idea of getting a group discount. She’s a mover and shaker in our organization, so I think it will happen if I can get her support. I don’t think I can get a discount for $149 for everyone, but around $270 would be amazing!!! This is still on my dream list. I think we can do it.

(4) SAN DIEGO PEDIATRICIANS FOR CLEAN AIR part of Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. I was advised by Lori Byron to have us sign up for this. I forgot our fantastic premed intern Vivian had already signed us up. I just updated our recent activities. We already did it so it is easy to get quick double credit for it. Oh, I need to update my resume again! LOL Resume updated. I put it under my awards tab. I don’t think I’ll have Dr Plastic Picker join. I actually joined Health Care Without Harm as Dr. Plastic Picker. (just kidding! I joined as my real name but did use my drplasticpicker email address!).

Activity TypeTitle / TopicDate
MEDIAIt’s time to go all in on climate actionSept. 2020
PRESENTATIONAir Pollution, Climate Change, and Lung HealthNov. 2020,
POLICYSan Diego County Board of Supervisors: Tobacco Relicensing Laws , restrictions of flavored tobacco products including e-cigsOct. 2020,
POLICYSan Diego County Board of Supervisors: Hiring of Environmental Justice Staff at San Diego Air Pollution Control BoardSept. 2020,

(5) REFOCUS ON PREMED INTERNS: It’s been so crazy these past few weeks. I think everyone is also worried about the election but I need to convene and see where they are in their work. I’ll send them each emails this weekend and check up on them. They are doing all great.

At the National Children’s Health and Climate Leadership Forum, the youth activist that spoke encouraged adults to elevate the youth activists and then “get out of the way.” As someone who has a long history of advising, I completely agree! This is the best way to nurture leaders and talent. Give them the tools and let them rise to the occassion. Plus Dr. Plastic Picker actually still does have a full time job as Assistant Boss. I have to still pick up my last bag of trash today to get to the 20th bag for the month. Plus I have to superglue my #plasticfish I made for my Instagram litterpicking community.

My first real #plasticfish . So weird what you find litter-picking.
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