Dear Tomorrow

I was downtown today. I saw an older pickup truck, jacked up, off-road tires. Its exactly the kind of truck I would have loved to own back in the day; the kind of truck nostalgic country singers croon about. I used to have a truck like it, actually. I would wash it, just to run it through puddles and get “good mud” on it. The kind of truck that I DON’T own now, and probably will not ever again. Not because big trucks and jacked up tires aren’t fun or useful. But they guzzle gas and combust fossil fuels and the climate activist in me can’t wrap my head around using one to putz around town in.

Now I know many people need trucks and use them appropriately. This post isn’t a dis on trucks in general. There is a complete void of readily available and affordable electric or alternative fuel alternative on the market… for now. I don’t expect my contractor to haul concrete and lumber in a LEAF, or a gardener to pack a mower in a Tesla.

In the back of this Chevy was a large political sign… the kind of visual pollution you see at every major intersection a month before an election. It happened to be for the opponent of the candidate I support. “Support” to the point of actively volunteering for the campaign, making calls and writing postcards and emails for.

It made me ill to see this sign in the back of this gas-guzzling older pickup… older meaning really inefficient with a gas tank that still allows for gasoline to vaporize into the atmosphere. It wasn’t being used for a job other than promoting a candidate. This method of advertising had a paradoxical effect, entrenching me even more in support of the incumbent this truck as trying to unseat.

4×4 advertising

Have you heard about the Dear Tomorrow nonprofit? DearTomorrow is a digital platform and archive project where people share letters, photos, and videos to their children, family, or future self about their promise to take action on climate change.

I first heard about Dear Tomorrow at Climate Reality training. Pittsburgh, PA mayor Bill Peduto spoke the 1,300 climate activists about why we resisted Trump’s message to focus on “Pittsburgh, not Paris” when stating he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate accord. I visited Dear Tomorrow’s website and saw Mr. Peduto’s picture and connected the two. Anyway, I thought it was cool at the time. And maybe a little self serving, since this elected person was talking about electing people based on his own platform. Nonetheless, its awesome that a climate activist like Peduto would be mayor of a city with a history mired in coal and steel and building America and all of the pollution that comes with it… and is actually making a difference by what you can not see in the river and not smell in the air!

Pittsburgh, PA mayor Bill Peduto with this “Dear Tomorrow” promise 

So when I logged onto social media and find the opponent of my local county board of supervisor race taking a break from her mercedes SUV and driving a pickup with a huge sign promoting herself, I was irritated. And then there was the chevy I had also seen, confirming that this was not an isolated incident, but an actual campaign tactic. I couldn’t help but think of Mr. Peduto’s Dear Tomorrow and adopt it as my own war cry.





Tonight I went to phone bank on my candidate’s behalf. She was there, making calls, too. I parked my zero-emissions vehicle next to hers. And that felt right!

There are a lot of important issues out there. But what will it all matter if we don’t have a habitable planet to live on? Thats why the issue of climate change is the priority in all of my votes. Click Here for more information on Dear Tomorrow and how to become an environmental voter. 

EV parking with my county supervisor. Vote for values in line with your own.


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.


Advice from a 101-year-old

Its not often one encounters a 101-year-old human.

In fact, unless you are in some pretty specific professions, you may witness more lions, tigers and bears in your life thanks to zoos and such than you will 100+ year olds.

There’s something striking about checking an armband and seeing a DOB from the 1910’s. 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…

View original post 801 more words


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.




A Load of Crap and How to Flush it

I’ve been talking to my almost 5 year old about how to tell if something is alive or not. Which culminated in me rolling around laughing (on the inside, of course) when I told her that poop in a toilet needs to be flushed and she agreed with me as she reasoned that a toilet needs to eat poop or it will die because its alive.

Well here are two pieces of “Recycled/Recyclable- Printed with Vegetable Oil Based Inks on 100% Postconsumer, Process Chlorine Free Recycled Paper” that you can take straight to the recycling can. Or wipe your ass with and feed to the toilet if you find yourself high and dry and your toilet is hungry.  Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

My first attempt to write a letter to the editor was published! I’m a little shocked, but thrilled nonetheless.

IMG_0168Inspired by our Black Friday family outing downtown (I displayed my charging station comments in my post here) to check out the free electric vehicle charging stations, I drafted a quick letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. I was pleasantly surprised to find it in today’s opinion section. Check it out here! Continue reading

Power Trip

Myth: Solar and an electric vehicle would be expensive, unrealistic, unattainable, for people with a lot of cash. Solar and an electric vehicle will need to be part of our household’s “five-year plan.”

Fact: Tesla is drawing up solar plans on my house for me to approve this week and install next month. I traded in the mini van for a LEAF. I’ve paid no cash up front and I WILL BE SAVING SO MUCH MONEY. Oh yeah, and the planet, too.  Continue reading