Caroline Hadley is a love song dedicated to babies and children, mothers, grandmothers and any girl who feels alone and hopeless.  Caroline Hadley was a strong woman who valued her community, her faith, her friends and her family.  She was my great-grandmother, and I am her namesake.
 
A number of years ago, I sat at my desk, tears streaming down my face as I watched a video of my now-friend, Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group delivering his presentation entitled, “Ten Americans”.
 
I was devastated.  Babies coming into this world pre-polluted!  300 industrial chemicals including DDT in their blood some 30 years after it was banned.  As a mother of two boys, the worry and guilt descended upon me.  What had I done to protect them in the one place they should have been nurtured and safe, the womb? Then once my boys were born, did I feed them, bathe them and surround them with harmful chemicals?
 
I spent the next eight years working to educate myself and other women about when to spend the extra for organic fruits and veggies.  I taught mothers and grandmothers how to read labels to avoid hormone disruptors and known carcinogens in everything from our shampoos to the fabric on baby strollers. 
 
I started looking at the apparel industry, which led me to understand living wages, child labor and how we are quick to outsource our pollution.  I cried once more when I saw a photo of small children playing in a runoff pond full of agricultural chemicals in India.  Did people not realize that when they bought 3 T-shirts for $5 that someone across the globe was subsidizing them? 
 
I studied with Al Gore through the Climate Reality Project and became a certified Climate Leader to further my goal of helping consumers understand the connection between our health and that of the environment.
 
Then in the midst of it all, I lost my mother suddenly. I became untethered.  My father had abandoned us when I was eight.  I had never truly dealt with my anger and pain surrounding that loss.  Losing Mom made me acutely aware of what I had gone through as a girl and what other girls go through invisibly every day.
 
So now what?  My younger son who is now a young man once told me, “You know what your problem is?  You care too much!”  He was right.  I care about your babies and children.  I care about the environment.  I care about animals.  I care about girls and women, who have been abandoned, marginalized, abused and neglected.
 
Through it all, I cling to hope, sometimes by my fingertips.  Love, beauty and nature surround us every day.  I can’t un-see or un-know the many problems of the world.  However, I can share what I know in hope that others may be helped.