I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
Thanks to Easter, Passover and Ramadan much of the world will be in a more pensive and devotional period for the next days. It helps to reassure us that we are a world community, clearly deeply fallible but trying to honor our spiritual being-ness. Even if none of these celebrations has strong meaning for you we can all join the worldwide efforts to seek our highest standpoint, to find peace.
We have decisions to make everyday, and if we break it down, our actions are generally contributing to the joint cause or not. Take microplastics, for example. I read an environmental article this week detailing the exponential increase in plastic production in recent times. It describes the huge amounts of plastic waste dumped into the environment, and, predictably, the increasing microplastic environmental contamination of the entire planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans.
Isn’t it amazing that the renewing life cycles remain undeterred!
Well, you should probably know that microplastics were detected in human blood for the first time in March. And now, microplastic pollution has been discovered lodged deep in the lungs of living people for the first time. The particles were found in almost all the samples analyzed. Ok, now we’re getting personal! That’s more than just close to home.
We have some cleaning up to do.
And we can reduce some of our thoughtless habits, right? Shouldn’t we be awake to the ways we all hurt or could help each other? Doesn’t it seem like far often use a much too microscopic lens to our lives?
“Can you believe Sarah brought another carrot cake for Tim’s birthday this year? She obviously is the only one who likes carrot cake!”
That’s not so important.
Turning the Tide
A couple years ago a Irish teen won an international award for clearing microplastics from water. Read about it here.
I think everybody, all humans, are responsible for this mess of microplastics. I don’t think we can blame one person for it. I’m sure that just in my life, I’ve given out lots of microplastics too, everything from driving my car… and even washing my clothes. I think everybody is responsible. And I think that if I’ve found a method like this, why not use it? And why not put it to a greater good?
Life saving, award winning ideas come around only every-so-often. But each day, with a lens a little more open, we can see ways we can do our small part.
Tips from the Green Education Foundation
Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop
Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods!
Don’t use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.
Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor
COVID numbers round up
News from the week:
Guidelines shift away from Monoclonal Antibodies
In the U.S., Omicron BA.2 (the dominant omicron sub-variant) now accounts for an estimated 85.9% of cases, according to the CDC.
Although monoclonal antibodies have been an important helper against past variants for the at risk population we have found they are not active against the current variant. Previously we have had to replace a version of the monoclonal antibody as COVID has evolved. We are at that point again. The current version has substantially decreased in vitro activity against the Omicron BA.2 subvariant that has recently become the dominant subvariant in the United States. The current guidelines are to not use it. Thankfully, Omicron in all variations is not as virulent as those original strains. We are using supplements for all new cases, and for those at high risk we are offering Paxlovid which is in good supply now.
The national case count continues its slight uptick, lead by the mild increases in the Northeast. The US case count has gone from 30,000 cases per day to just under 38,000. Hospitalizations and deaths are very low right now.
In Mass the 7 day average for the entire state rose again slightly to around 1400 cases per day on average, up from 1300 cases per day range last week. (max peak was 20,000) -Berkshires cases are at 39 cases per 100,000 population per day (seven day average) over the last week up from 30 cases per day last week. Max was 300 cases per day. Columbia county continues a slight increase — now 17 cases per 100,000 population seven day average, up from 14.
The UK, Germany and much of the world is in a down trend.
Our local and national increases remain modest. Nothing really has changed that much. I think they will be just a ripple, not a massive wave. Stay well ventilated! In the meantime, life goes on.