I started writing this week’s column and had decided to write, in recognition of Women’s History Month, about all the women in our community who make this area such an amazing place to live. I soon found that I had written well over 3,500 words … and I kept adding more women. This didn’t surprise me. We all seem to work together for a common cause – the betterment of our area. Now of course there are those who try to disrupt but there are far more out there who keep their heads above the social media noise and just work to help others. So instead of continuing my column about each and every one of the women in our community who go above and beyond, I would like to suggest you take time to look at the women in your lives and just say “thank you.” You have no idea what a simple recognition like that will mean.

Instead I would like to focus this last edition of Women’s History to Gaia, the Greek goddess Earth, the mother of all life.

My daughter-in-law just had her second child, a boy as wonderful as her first son. I had the privilege of staying with my son and daughter-in-law during the first couple of weeks to help where I could (my mom did this for me and her mom for her and so on). This tradition allowed me to remember the beginnings of motherhood.

My first grandson was born during the pandemic. I realized it was a tough time but hadn’t realized how tough it was until my daughter-in-law spoke about the recent birth compared to that of her first child. She talked about the fear then of COVID in the hospital, the fact that she could only share the joy virtually of their first born with family members; no one could come to the hospital and she was in fact grateful that my son was at least allowed in the birthing room – something that was common prior to the pandemic.

This was also a time of unrest on city streets in response to the murder of George Floyd. With a raging pandemic and riots around her, she brought her child home and dealt with the concerns while these wonderful parents adjusted to raising their child.

Many of us had struggles after bringing our newborn home but few of us had to deal with a pandemic the size of COVID; however, my daughter-in-law took it in stride. Now I am not saying there weren’t tears and panic at times but she pulled herself through it and kept going … because that’s what moms do.

And so Gaia has done “what moms do” over and over again. Our Mother Earth has faced her own pandemics in the form of mass extinctions.

According to, “The planet has experienced five previous mass extinction events, the last one occurring 65.5 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs from existence. Experts believe we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.”

“Past mass extinctions were caused by extreme temperature changes, rising or falling sea levels and catastrophic, one-off events such as huge volcanic eruptions or an asteroid hitting Earth. We know about them because we can see how life has changed in the fossil record,” according to the Natural History Museum.

Each time Gaia took the hit and came back, different but still surviving although species that once roamed the Earth (the biggest example is the dinosaurs) did not survive. Oh, remnants of dinosaurs can be found in birds. Paleontologists and paleobiologists have found that over time, a very, very long time, birds evolved from dinosaurs.

So, what Dr. Ian Malcolm [Jeff Goldblum in “Jurassic Park”] said: “Life finds a way” is true though it might not be life as it once was.

Our Mother Earth is struggling like she never has before. The pandemic she is facing is actually us. Our greenhouse gasses, our constant pollutants and our refusal to admit we messed up in a big way are driving this human-caused climate change pandemic.

I have researched and thought a lot about our accelerated, human-caused climate change and there are so many areas we can look at to find the cause. But after thinking of Gaia as a mother I realized the main cause of climate change is our inability to admit it was our fault.

For years we have had climate change deniers. I remember when I first started working as a journalist and approached the subject of climate change. I got letters and calls about how I simply didn’t understand … climate change is cyclical. Yes, that is true – but not at this rate. It’s like driving to work; if you speed you will get there faster but along the way are consequences like receiving a speeding ticket or worse – having an accident. That is what we have done with our “cyclical climate change;” we have sped it up so fast that we are now facing the consequences that include melting ice caps and extreme weather conditions.

Regarding Mother Earth, I think we are like children who do not want to admit to our mother we did something wrong. I have a question for the moms: How many times has your child been standing next to a broken item and insisted they did not do it? Or little muddy footprints lead to your child covered in mud and, when you ask if they were playing in the mud, they quickly say, “It’s not my fault.” This is what we are saying about climate change to Gaia, our Mother Earth.

A recent scientific paper looked at the identification, toxicity and health hazard of micro-plastics in humans.

“The literature review shows that micro-plastics are frequently detected in environmental and human samples. Humans are potentially exposed to micro-plastics through oral intake, inhalation and skin contact. We summarize the toxic effects of micro-plastics in experimental models like cells, organoids and animals. These effects consist of oxidative stress, DNA damage, organ dysfunction, metabolic disorder, immune response [and] neurotoxicity, as well as reproductive and developmental toxicity. In addition, the epidemiological evidence suggests that a variety of chronic diseases may be related to micro-plastics exposure. Finally, we put forward the gaps in toxicity research of micro-plastics and their future development directions. This review will be helpful to the understanding of the exposure risk and potential health hazards of micro-plastics.” (Source: Environ. Health 2023, 1, 4, 249–257 Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2023 Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Co-published by Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and American Chemical Society.)

So even when we stand in front of Gaia, with micro-plastic in our organs and she wants to know how that happened, we say, “Not our fault.”

Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 20 years with production increased exponentially from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050. Every year about eight million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world, according to National Geographic, “The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis, Explained” Feb. 21, 2024.

And, of course, not only is the world making more plastic but manufacturers want plastic more durable so they can add chemicals. These chemicals can prolong the life of plastic products so now they can take up to 400 years to totally break down… What a legacy to leave.

Now I know we have all gotten used to plastic products. The single-use water bottle is convenient; while I don’t use them at home we do for many of our non-profit events. So what can we do to help ease Gaia’s pain?

In November of last year there was a gathering of nations for the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee to develop a treaty dedicated to end plastic pollution. This is not an easy negotiation especially when dealing with the 175 countries that all agreed something needed to be done; however, the decision on what that will look like is still being discussed. The goals are these discussions and a plan will be revealed at the end of this year.

So what can we do now? Honestly, for individuals it will have to be a boots-on- the-ground effort, and even that will not make a radical change; however, small steps may help. For example, get a reusable bottle for drinks, including water, volunteer at a cleanup event and simply don’t litter. And the most important thing is that in everything we do, we must think of our Mother Earth and how we need to help her. There will be bigger efforts in the future that we all will have to do to help build up the strength of our Mother Earth but we can start by showing a little effort and by saying thank you to Gaia when we can … You have no idea what a simply recognition like that means.

The Easter Bunny will be hopping through a lot of mud and soaked ground on Sunday.

Although patchy fog was expected for this morning, today we should not see any rain. Starting Friday night rain is likely with lows of 45 degrees.

Saturday is when we will see a lot of rain, between 1.5 inches and 2.5 inches in the area. Easter Sunday will see some “showering” but not the heavy rainfall of Saturday.

“It could be hit and miss,” said Mike Wofford, NOAA meteorologist, of the rain throughout the area.

There will be some wind through the weekend with gusts up to 25 mph.

Monday has a slight chance of rain and then Tuesday will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60s.