STAY COOL Tribute to John Atcheson

John Atcheson (1948-2020) was a novelist, climate activist, and STAY COOL Advisor. (Photo: courtesy of the family)

Tragically, STAY COOL recently lost one of our bright stars. On Monday, January 6, 2020, Advisory Council member John Atcheson passed away in a car accident. John joined the council in 2018, and served alongside his wife, Linda Pratt, who is the current Chair of the Advisory Council. John was a dedicated father and grandfather and leaves behind two children, two stepchildren, and three grandchildren. Our hearts go out to Linda and John’s families as they cope with this unexpected loss.

John was passionate about environmental protection and worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency for many years. The team at STAY COOL is grateful to have had his expertise and guidance. He kept us informed on the latest advances in climate change research and helped create more awareness about the application of science toward protecting the environment. He played a strong role in our organization’s various climate policy initiatives and was most knowledgeable about national and international action. 

John was a talented writer, having published two books, and he was a regular contributor to the Common Dreams NewsCenter  Joe Romm, founder of ClimateProgress, called John’s novel, A Being Darkly Wise, a must-read for those interested in climate change and “one part diary of a Washington insider, one part introductory science textbook, one part love story, one part wilderness guide, and one part scary-as-hell thriller.” Notably, Common Dreams posted this excellent tribute to John.

John recently took on the role of newsletter editor for STAY COOL, and many of our detailed blog entries were authored by him, including these good reads:

John was humble, humorous and loved life. As he wrote on the “About John” page of his website ( “Life is Good” and we know he had a good one. We will miss you, John.

John’s wife Linda shared the following message:

In lieu of flowers, you are welcome to make a contribution to a nonprofit that is aligned with John’s strong commitment to environmental protection. One example is an organization in which he was actively engaged: STAY COOL for Grandkids. Another example is a contribution to our church, UUFSD, where John’s name will be placed on our Memorial Wall.


STAY COOL for Grandkids is committed to presenting the latest research on climate change and its impacts on the San Diego region. In October 2019 we presented a forum in Solana Beach that highlighted recent research on the effects of climate change on our region’s ecosystems and our built environment, with a focus on wildfires and flooding.  Our speakers also discussed ways in which we can develop plans and policies and implementing actions to make our communities more resilient to these impacts. 

On February 4, 2020 we will be co-sponsoring another forum on this topic with St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church Peace and Justice Ministry in Poway.

Click here to RSVP on Eventbrite.

We will have two featured speakers: 

  • Dr. James Randerson, Professor of Earth Systems Science at UC Irvine, will provide an overview of his research into the effects of climate change on wildfire risks in California.
  • Robert Leiter, FAICP, who has been involved in local and regional urban planning in the San Diego region for more than 30 years, will present highlights of a recent report published by the American Planning Association (Regional Water Planning for Climate Resilience) which he co-authored.  This report highlights the potential impacts of climate change on the San Diego region, including increased risks from wildfires and flooding. 

The speakers will also discuss ways in which regional and local governments in the San Diego region can proactively deal with these impacts.  Pursuant to California Senate Bill 379, local governments are now required to update the “Safety Elements” of their General Plans, to address the projected impacts from climate change on natural hazards such as wildfires and flooding.  The law provides an overall methodology for preparing these plans, and defines the roles of local, regional, and state agencies in this process.

Date and Time- Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM 

Location- St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 16725 Pomerado Road, Poway 92064.

For more information, contact:


Each year since 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases an Arctic Report Card which NOAA  describes as “… a timely and peer-reviewed source for clear, reliable and concise environmental information on the current state of different components of the Arctic environmental system relative to historical records.” In 2019, … Continue reading

About wildfires: a summary of our Oct. 11 STAY COOL event

STAY COOL for Grandkids is committed to bringing cutting edge information about climate change and its impacts. On October 11th, we presented a forum that highlighted current research about changes to our land-based ecosystems – particularly with regard to wildfires – that are resulting from climate change, and appropriate planning … Continue reading

Isotopes – fingerprints in climate change, or how we know, what we know

By John Atcheson Isotopes tell us a great deal about where carbon and methane are coming from.  They act as fingerprints that identify with a great deal of accuracy whether the source of increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are caused by humans, or are by-products of natural processes.   The … Continue reading

About our Sept. 10 tour with Dr. Jeff Severinghaus

Have you wondered what it is like to be a climate science researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography? Thirteen of our STAY COOL members had the opportunity to join Dr. Jeff Severinghaus for an in-depth tour of his laboratory and learn more about his work.  Dr. Severinghaus is a professor … Continue reading

The Public Health Connection with Climate Change

The spark that ignited the idea of STAY COOL for GRANDKIDS was the birth of David and Peg Engel’s first grandchild, Violet, in 2012. That is why our mission has always been to mend our generation’s environmental legacy and speak for those who will be most impacted by climate change … Continue reading

Science Corner – Carbon Budgets: One of the most important concepts you’re probably not familiar with

By John Atcheson When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes a projection about how much time we have before hitting a target temperature increase, one of the most important assumptions they use is a “carbon budget”.  Carbon Tracker defines “carbon budget” as: The cumulative amount of carbon dioxide … Continue reading

From Climate Change Communication: Do younger generations care more about global warming?

When considering the way people talk about and experience the current state of our climate, we thought it was very interesting to see this poll that highlights the generational differences. You might want to consider this as you have a conversation with someone younger or older than yourself. Dialogue leads … Continue reading

ReWild: why STAY COOL is getting involved

In June STAY COOL joined the “ReWild Coalition,” a fledgling alliance of San Diego organizations supporting wetlands expansion on the north shore of Mission Bay.  The City of San Diego’s current planning for revitalization of the area presents a timely opportunity for redeveloping a shoreline with resilience to climate change … Continue reading