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The effects of global climate change are evident and we are seeing the effects almost daily. There are steps we can all take to protect the environment and I have embarked on an initiative that can have an effect across the nation and ideally, around the globe.

According to a paper by the American Plastics Council, 12 million pounds of recyclable plastic waste is thrown out every day by health care facilities in the United States. Additionally, the study found 85 percent of the plastic waste generated is nonhazardous and is free from patient contact. During a routine surgery recently, I collected all the recyclable plastic that was thrown away in the regular trash before the patient was even brought into the room and I filled up a regular size trash can sized bag. There are 12 operating rooms at one of the hospitals I am on Medical Staff at and each operating room conducts 3-4 surgeries per day. And there are 17 health care facilities in San Diego. You can see how that figure of 12 million pounds per day adds up. Whether or not you agree with global climate change, we need to do better about recycling and I am currently working with leaders from other hospitals to implement a program for medical plastics recycling.

The time has also come to pursue efforts in renewable energy. San Diego County faces some of the highest energy costs in the state and nation. The 50th District is one of the sunniest places in the country and solar panels work extremely efficient in this area. I will work with other elected officials to help bring solar to the homes and business within the district and help San Diego become a leader in solar power and renewable energy.