We all know the meaning of it’s raining cats and dogs.
Yet no one has solved the mystery of where the phrase originated.
Some say it goes back to Nordic mythology where Odin, the God of storms, was pictured with dogs and wolves (symbols of wind). Witches rode through on brooms with black cats and heavy rain.
Another unlikely legend claims that dogs and cats hid in London thatched roofs during heavy rain and were washed out. Thatched roofs were water proof but it makes a good story.
In 1738 Jonathan Swift published Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation where one character feared that it would “rain cats and dogs.”
It’s raining a lot of cats and dogs these days dressed as psychopathic politicians, corona viruses, economic scandals, racial injustice, and the shredded pages of law of order.
Raining plastic is a relatively new addition. It’s a dark story. Unlike the Orange Man in the White House and the pretty colored balls of deadly corona virus, plastic is not going away. In fact, plastic will be with us indefinitely since it’s practically indestructible.
Plastic, like diamonds, is forever.
The first fully synthetic plastic was called Bakelite, created in 1907 by Leo Baekland who also coined the term “plastics.” A lot has happened since then.
Almost every piece of plastic that has been manufactured since Bakelite is still with us, unless it was incinerated. Plastic is everywhere, from oceans to mountaintops, rivers to farmlands, and cities to our homes. It’s in the air we breathe and the water we drink . . . in birds, fish, animals, and us.
Plastics are made from crude oil, added chemicals, catalysts, and dyes. They are completely manmade and chemically inert. It doesn’t exist in nature, won’t mix with anything, and doesn’t decay. That’s what makes it so good . . . and so bad.
Plastic just breaks down. For example, the 35 billion water bottles used each year and thrown away become tiny particles called microplastics.
When they break down into smaller pieces, they’re called nanoplastics which are often so small it’s invisible to the naked eye.
These tiny pieces are in landfills, cities, and homes. They’re so tiny that the air picks them up and moves them in currents around the world. Then the rain comes and guess what . . . it’s raining cats and dogs and plastics.
Researchers have estimated that Americans ingest 74,000 to 121,000 pieces of microplastics each year. No one knows the effect on human health.
How do you get plastic out of raining cats and dogs?
Change your mindset.
Recovery and recycling can’t keep up with the millions of tons of plastic tossed out each day. There’s a lot you can do like swap single-use water bottles with glass and reusable containers; substitute plastic straws, shopping bags, storage bags with reusables; and wear cotton not synthetic clothes.
The list is long. Most important VOTE the anti-environmentalists out of office and replace them with politicians, organizations, and groups fighting plastic pollution. Let scientists lead the way.
The cats and dogs have no room for Orange Men in the White House.