Year 4, Month 8, Day 20: Eeeeeeeew.

Just eeeeeeeeew. The Concord Monitor:

In 1950, New Hampshire was home to just 50 moose. Today, the count is near 5,000, but state biologists fear that climate change – by way of winter ticks and other parasites – is threatening the herd.

“Shorter winters are a problem for moose because they give ticks a leg up,” said Kristine Rines, moose project leader for the state Fish and Game Department. “People have to recognize that the (climate) changes we are facing are not just changes in the Arctic. It’s not just polar bears that are going to be affected.”


It’s hard to imagine ticks taking down one of the state’s largest animals until you consider the magnitude of the problem.

In the recent issue of New Hampshire Wildlife Journal, Fish and Game biologist Dan Bergeron reported that the average number of winter ticks on a single moose in Alberta, Canada, is 32,000 but can be as much as 150,000, all of them feasting on the moose’s blood.

According to Bergeron, the number of winter ticks is directly related to fall and spring weather. If those seasons are mild and nearly snowless, ticks thrive. The winter ticks, which are different than deer or dog ticks, attach to the moose, mate and lay eggs, Bergeron wrote in his piece. That cycle repeats and repeats unless the state gets a traditional, long, cold winter.

Read that number again. 32,000 ticks on average per individual. I’m sooooo squicked out by that. July 29:

When it comes to undocumented immigrants, the most powerful causal factor is global climate change. While it’s obvious that a warming atmosphere, rising sea levels, and increasingly extreme weather are going to create burgeoning populations of climate refugees, these human casualties of the intensifying greenhouse effect are just the tip of a (rapidly melting) iceberg.

If conservatives really cared about illegal aliens they’d be working to address the greenhouse effect and its consequences, for it’s not just people, but non-native mammals, plants and insects that find their way Northward as newly hospitable ecological niches open up. Ask New Hampshire’s moose population, which is now hosting hundreds of millions of winter ticks, thriving in the warmer temperatures that constitute the region’s “new normal.” Unlike the hardworking humans so often targeted by conservative xenophobia and fear-mongering, these debilitating bloodsuckers are genuine parasites whose contribution to the local economy is entirely negative.

Warren Senders


Year 4, Month 5, Day 19: Clippety-Clop, Clippety-Clop

And heeeeeere’s Plague, right on time. WaPo:

FRESNO, Calif. — California and federal public health officials say that valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease infecting more and more people across the nation, has been on the rise as a warming climate and drought have kicked up the dust that spreads it.

The fever has hit California’s agricultural heartland particularly hard in recent years, with the incidence dramatically increasing in 2010 and 2011. The disease — which is prevalent in arid regions of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America — can be contracted by breathing in fungus-laced spores from dust disturbed by the wind as well as human or animal activity.

The fungus is sensitive to environmental changes, experts say, and a hotter, drier climate has increased the dust carrying the spores.

I’ve used this analogy once or twice before and gotten results. May 6:

The problem of illegal immigration is far worse than even the most xenophobic demagogue could imagine. Incomprehensible numbers of unauthorized visitors still barely register on the radar of our governing class.

As climate change intensifies, we’re going to meet disease-carrying insects, fungi, and micro-organisms that have never before appeared in the continental United States. Propelled by the same essential needs that motivate humans — somewhere to live, eat, thrive and reproduce — they’ll move to American soil as environmental conditions transform in response to the accelerating greenhouse effect. The spread of Valley Fever in California is just one example.

Right-wing lawmakers and media figures rail against border-crossers who “parasitically” exploit our economic resources. But these conservative grandstanders cannot acknowledge that the plethora of genuinely dangerous parasites arriving in the wake of the climate crisis will be undeterred by grand border fences, punitive laws, or moats filled with alligators.

Warren Senders