My name is Gail. I've lived on the same small farm - Wit's End - in rural, western New Jersey for about thirty years. I love to garden, and I have planted hundreds of flowering shrubs and trees on these acres. I love to walk in the woods.
I hadn't paid much attention to climate change, even though I saw An Inconvenient Truth when it first appeared in the theaters. I had the impression that climate change was going to affect places far away, in the distant future.
That changed in August of 2008. To my astonishment, the leaves on the trees wilted abruptly. All of them, all at once, were hanging straight down, limp and lifeless. I had never seen anything like it, and nobody else seemed to notice or care. I realized only a major impact could affect them so profoundly.
I started to read about climate change, and to write scientists and foresters, trying to learn what was happening to the trees. I assumed that a very long-term decline in precipitation and snow cover must be causing the trees to die off. In the fall of that year, the conifers began producing cones in excess, and dropping their needles, which I read is a sign of imminent death.
Once I started to educate myself about our changing climate, I quickly realized that the time to stop burning fuel was probably around 1960. Amplifying feedbacks are now well underway, and unstoppable, as is ocean acidification. There is no question that we have set in motion a catastrophe that can only result in mass extinctions, perhaps even of ourselves.
In the course of grieving over this realization, I continued to study the trees, perplexed by the dramatic and suddenness of symptoms of distress. In the summer of 2009, I came to the conclusion that drought can not explain tree decline, because young trees being watered in nurseries, and annual plants - even heat tolerant ornamentals from much hotter latitudes - exhibited the same damaged foliage as the season progressed.
Simply by process of elimination it became clear that the only componant of the environment that all plantlife shares in common is the atmosphere. Reluctantly, I became convinced that what is injuring vegetation is air pollution. Like many people, I assumed that because the air looks clear, it is clean. Ozone, however, is invisible, just like oxygen, nitrogen and CO2...and the constant background levels are increasing every year. I quickly discovered, to my amazement, that there has been a vast amount of scientific research on this topic and in fact, it is quite well known to government agencies, foresters, and agronomists that ozone is hamful to human health, crops, and trees.
Dozens of primary sources are listed on the research library tab, above.
In 2009 I started to curate a blog as a repository for photos of evidence, as a collection of links to studies and reports, and a place to record my thoughts and correspondance with scientists and foresters. In January, 2012, I moved the blog here, to this website.
A special thanks to RPauli of Seattle, who encouraged me to begin the blog, and anonymous highschooler (soon to be a college student!) for insisting I begin the website.