Part 1: Closet Case

Rana Plaza building collapses killing 1,134 garment workers five years ago today. 

I scrutinize every piece of food that enters my mouth. I make 90% of my cleaning products. My garden is full of both beneficial and not so great bugs. You’d be hard pressed to find a package in my pantry. My driveway and walkways are adorned with weeds. My medicine cabinet is sparsely decorated with a mix of local, organic, and homemade natural remedies. Even my laundry practice is over thought and responsible. But open the doors to my 1950’s closet and you will find a mix of fast and slow fashion, with a heavy emphasis on fast fashion. Why is is that I have flipped so many aspects of my life but put little thought or energy into the very clothing that covers my body 24 hrs a day? Though I believe I really have always known what was going on behind these brands, it has really only come to the forefront of my thoughts in recent weeks. Can you say hypocrite??? Continue reading

The True Cost of Repealing the Clean Power Plan

Lily and I attended the listening session on February 28th in San Francisco, CA hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding their proposal under Administrator Scott Pruitt to repeal the Clean Power Plan. I wrote about my opposition to this plan as you may remember in the post A Load of Crap and How to Flush it.

I signed up to attend and provide oral testimony during this listening session weeks ago. I was very excited for the speaking opportunity in such proximity and for an issue I’ve earned sweat equity in the outcome. This session was the kind of thing Climate Reality had trained me for! After the date for it was announced, I started a rah-rah campaign to entice other climate activists and resistance-minded allies to attend and speak. I had visions of zero-emissions carpools, large painted banners, matching shirts– perhaps as a nurse I could wear my scrubs– all in the name of chewing on the ear of the EPA.

Then Hubs and I decided to move and put my house on the market. Suddenly I was attacking the junk in my closets and garage like they were the very fossil fuel industries causing global warming. The night before the listening session also became the night before the Broker’s Open. I was sorting my laundry area until O-dark thirty. I took a two hour “nap” at 4 in the morning, and woke up to make beds, clean my bathrooms and vacuum floors. Lily arrived early, with final touches of decor and baby Theo in tow, and provided emotional support for me in my zombie-spinning-nonsensical-twirling state.

And she told me to stop bleaching. “I stepped in cat poop! Does it smell like cat poop? It can’t smell like cat poop! I’m going to take that cat’s ninth life! I was picking up poop and I stepped in poop! Does it smell? Lily!” “No, it smells like bleach. Stop it! You shouldn’t be using toxic chemicals.” Okay fine. I got caught. I selfishly pulled out the big guns. I had a moment of screw the planet if it means I get ahead somehow!

And then I got a grip. Today was EPA day after all. And Lily is the most unforgiving of witnesses.

After my realtor kicked me out, I made my way to Lily’s house. Were we really going to drive to the city for this little EPA thing? Does it really matter? I had already written a letter. Written testimony was weighted the same as oral testimony, after all. Just like the bleach in my bathtub, I was bargaining with myself, trying to justify and minimize and bargain my way into the easy route.

Just like SCOTT PRUITT! Good thing I wasn’t Administrator of a major governmental agency on February 28th or I would have been acting just like that nard ball.

Anyway, back to Lily’s house. Actually, her living room floor. That’s where I was laying in the prone position lamenting about how tired I was and bargaining with myself and Lily about into not going. I had no clothes, no sleep, and no words prepared. I had pillows under my eyes and no makeup on yet to conceal them. Lily threw some one-sized fits all number and and told me she would drive. I told her I couldn’t do flats and eyeballed her Uggs and she said fine. I don’t know how she did it, but she got me in that car and to the room. Having only three cups of coffee on my stomach, I almost puked, but the mystical creature that is Lily got me there.

I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. We were surrounded by so many other concerned citizens, from so many different vantage points: mayors, professors, scientists, nurses, people who had lost their homes, have children in their lives they are concerned about, an Allegheny county native, victims of the the northern California wildfires. We heard from such a variety of opinions supporting the same goal: Don’t repeal the clean power plan!

Artwork in City Hall, San Francisco depicting sea level rise by 2117

I was surrounded by my base, and it was nourishing to drink in that refreshment and respite this room of strangers offered. After weeks of feeling like what I was doing wasn’t working or wasn’t important and that no one cared, here was a room full of people who had extracted themselves from their busy lives, to show up, to say their peace, and fight the good fight.

I was speaker number twenty five, so I had twenty four 3-minute speeches to figure out what to say. After, I received a few approving nods. I collected my bags to go, and one woman followed me out (pickup time across the bay was looming regarding aforementioned children). Like Lily, she sported a baby carrier on her chest. She was a mother too, said she really identified with what I had said, and we shared an embrace that calmed my nerves and filled me with sisterhood.

Here’s what I said. If you are reading and you haven’t yet done so, its not too late to get your word in edgewise and submit your opposition to repealing the Clean Power Plan: One Thing You Have to Do Today.

Mellissa Ahern. A-H-E-R-N.

I am a nurse, trained Climate Reality Leader, taxpayer, constituent, American, Godmother, and Mom.

Man-made climate change is as proven as gravity. This repeal of the Clean Power Plan is in direct opposition of the swift action necessary to curtail the devastating effects of climate change.

What is the real cost of repealing the clean power plan? Not just in dollars and cents, but for our safety, health, and habitable conditions on our planet?

How many of the estimated annual 90,000 asthma attacks and 3,600 premature deaths are worth burning more fossil fuels when we have clean energy solutions at hand?

How many babies born without brains due to Zika infection in pregnant mothers can Scott Pruitt sleep with at night?

How many communities can be rebuilt from hurricane Harveys and Irmas can we afford?

How many flooded nursing facilities with our elderly swimming in feces contaminated water is okay in this society?

How many homes can burn down in the middle of the night while citizens sleep in their beds and Trump golfs at Mar-a-Lago?

How many economic crises can Congress bail out when the carbon bubble bursts?

How many farmers can afford to drill deeper and deeper until droughts finally dry our aquifers and threaten our food supply?

Given the division our country is facing, what will become of the United States when stressed with further political instability caused by climate change, climate disasters, and climate refugees?

According to a March 2017 Gallup poll, more that 70% of Americans agree that our government should prioritize alternatives like renewables over dirty fossil fuels.

Quire frankly, I’m pissed. I’m a working mom. I work hard to care for patients at work and my children when I’m at home. I pay my taxes, and I need to come here today and advocate that the EPA do its job and what is right?

I challenge Scott Pruitt’s EPA to do its job, and protect the environment. Stop gambling with our future. Stop wasting time we simply cannot afford.


One Thing You Have to Do Today

IMG_9234.JPGOn Wednesday I had the privilege to attend the listening session on the EPA’s proposed Repeal the Clean Power Plan. I was so impressed by the diversity of attendees all pleading for the EPA to keep the Clean Power Plan in place. From Doctors to Lawyers to Religious Leaders, Scientists and even representatives from PG&E there was no shortage of passion in the room. I was also not the only mom with a baby strapped to her chest, which I was pleasantly surprised about. Our very own Missy spoke to the panel bringing enthusiastic fist pumps, “good jobs” and many tears from the audience; it’s amazing how two strangers with a common goal can hug and cry in an unknown space. The theme was strong, we are busy professionals juggling families, jobs, and life yet trying to convince a big government bully to do their job. Their job that is supposedly to do the right thing by the environment. Now we can get into a heated political rant, believe me I am ready with my economic facts, but rather lets focus on what YOU can do right now.  Continue reading

Second-hand Clothes are Always in Style


I’ve always loved shopping and I’ve always loved a good bargain. That’s why thrift shops, vintage stores, and yard sales have been my go-to since the early days of following my mom around the Salvation Army store. There are so many great treasures and super deals to be found, but it does take time and patience. Continue reading


Happy Valentines Day!

Is it possible to have too many Valentines? Because I have four.

  1. The Bearded Husband–my rock, the foundation to our family, who makes me swoon, and supports and even joins in to my eco-manacle ways.
  2. Thing One– My favorite tiny human.
  3. Thing Two– My favorite tiny human.
  4. The favorite planet, Earth.

While I’ll be showing my affection to each of my Valentines, I thought I would quickly share a low-waste Valentine project that #2 and #3 could share at school, but also treads lightly on #4.  Continue reading

Tesla Model 3 Leads Record Electrical Vehicle Sales in January 2018

The party line that renewable are bad for the economy just doesn’t hold any merit. There’s nothing but growth and demand in EV and renewables, and the only thing that seems to stand in the way are divisive politics out of Washington.


For those concerned about human-caused climate change, electrical vehicles and the batteries that their engines derive stored energy from are a key innovation. These zero emissions platforms stand to potentially replace more than a billion internal combustion engines — each dumping about three tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere every year. Moreover, the powerful batteries in these cars can be used to store electricity generated by renewable sources. Making clean energy available 24/7 despite hours of darkness and lulls in the wind periodically sapping generation.

(In this National Renewable Energy Laboratory study, the most rapid carbon emissions reductions were achieved in scenarios where large-scale EV deployment was combined with wholesale replacement of coal, oil, and gas fired electricity generation with renewable sources like wind and solar.)

Recognizing the climate-saving potential of this clean tech, nations have pledged to rapidly transition vehicle fleets away from fossil fuel burning automobiles…

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I’m holding my breath that this post makes it way to publication before my laptop is consumed by viruses and pop-ups associated with sleazy XXX websites.

There are a lot of images out there that stimulate the senses. All kinds of kinds. The trite old saying goes,

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Here are MY go-tos.


I loves me some jar porn! A collection of coordinated, neatly labeled, and aesthetically

After: One year later

arranged jars containing dried and preserved goods really makes my heart leap and a coo escape from my lips. Bookend those glass cylinders, I might just moan!

My favorite thing about jar porn is what it symbolizes: the beauty of less plastic waste. Jars epitomize Lily’s mantra that something green can be functional, good for the environment, as well as beautiful.

A collection of jars in your arsenal will have you ready for a whole host of actives, from shopping in bulk, grabbing a cup of coffee, storing leftovers, art projects,


just to name a few.

Here’s my pantry. Its not something you’ll find on Pinterest and if you look closely, you’ll find some boxes of mac ‘n cheese and cans of tomatoes. But its a real-life family pantry, and its come oh so far!

As you can see, jars collected from thrift shops and captured from the recycling bin, coupled by a commitment to bulk shopping really rounded out my shelves from a year ago.


I don’t claim to be a plastic-free Saint, and I do have some plastic habits that just won’t die. Whenever I stray from my jars to single-use plastics, I like to remind myself of what I’m doing to the planet. Pictures of nasty plastic porn are most effective.


Plastic is made from fossil fuels and never, ever goes away. All plastic ever made is still on this earth, in plastic form. It is so very ingrained into our daily lives.

Its hard to discount its versatility and usefulness. It saves lives, the monetary cost is low, and its relatively light and less carbon-intensive to ship when you compare it to heftier glass, wood, or metal counterparts. img

Unlike glass or metal, plastic is rarely recycled and turned into something else. That feel-good feeling you get from tossing that jug into the bin with chasing arrows is really a false sense of accomplishment. Over 90% of plastic is not recycled. Period. So it sits in a landfill or gets washed out to sea.

Beach plastic and styrofoam


These images are much less cutesy. Depictions of climate change, and they are happening in in subtle and not-so subtle ways around the globe. Here are a few from my last family vacation.

January 5th ski conditions in the high Sierra Nevada mountains. The park remained open, thanks to manufactured snow.
A bark beetle infested Ponderosa pine. Bark beetle living conditions are improving thanks to the effects of man-made climate change.

I don’t really need to look at images and videos of asphalt melting, drought stricken farmland, refugee news, mudslides, hurricane swept islands, wildfires, or polar bears balancing on ice cubes to know what scientists are reporting and predicting about the climate is a conservative reality, an underestimation of the effects of what’s to come. I little visual, however, does remind me of everything that is a stake.