We usually assist with brushing out the worst of these intruders. Then, while assuming positions that would make a yogi jealous, Fritz is able to pick out the remainder with his front teeth. Freshly groomed, he’s ready for his next romp.
This fall an additional hitchhiker has come on board - the deer tick. On our property we’ve had to deal with deer ticks in the spring on into early summer when their season typically ends. Not this year. Even with tick prevention medication, Fritz has been a magnet for these hungry pests.
The spread of ticks and tick-borne disease has increased across the country. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control indicates that cases of tick-borne Lyme disease are 10 times higher than previously estimated. What’s causing this rapid increase? Part of the answer involves our warming planet. Yale University scientists have found that the spread of Lyme disease correlates with moderating winter temperatures.
Ticks are usually dormant during the winter, but with more temperate winters ticks can breed year round. Those springtime larva and nymphs become hungry adults on the lookout for Fritz’s (and our) blood by October. Researchers find that the warmer climate may also be causing ticks to expand their habitat and extend their life cycles to three years. Increased pestilence is only one of many reasons we cannot ignore the fact that the climate is changing. Relatively abundant and inexpensive fossil fuels have been invaluable in helping build a prosperous nation. But we now know that their use is rapidly altering our climate with unacceptable consequences.
Solutions that can transform our carbon-based fuel economy to one that will allow us to sustain our environment are already available. We just need to put them into action. After all, unlike those burdock balls, we can’t hitchhike to a new environment.
This Earth is the only home we’ll ever know; we’re entrusted to keep it vibrant. We are and forever will be…Earthbound.