You Could Develop A Severe Allergy To Beef And Pork
You probably wouldn't notice a bite from the lone star tick. And you almost certainly wouldn't make the connection between that and the hives, chills, fever, and vomiting you'd experience the next time you ate red meat. But one bite from the tick can make you severely allergic to beef, pork, and mutton, because God was in a bad mood when he invented it.
So that sounds awful, but what does this have to do with climate change? Well, a decade ago, the lone star tick was limited to southeastern states ("lone star" comes from a distinctive white dot on the female, not from its love of Texas). The bizarre medical condition associated with it was also only discovered a decade ago. Before that, any Floridian who started ranting about how a tick made them vomit up hamburgers was dismissed as a lunatic. There's still a lot about the symptoms that we don't know, such as whether or not they remain for life, or if they can get nasty enough to shorten said life. Some physicians still have no idea that the condition even exists. But we do know that the lone star tick is spreading.
Lisa Zins/flickrThankfully, lone stars don't spread Lyme disease. But don't worry, that's absolutely going up too.
Ticks love warm, humid weather, and climate change means a lot more of that. The lone star tick has been spreading north and west, and can now be found as far afield as Nebraska and Maine. And more warmth means not only an expanding habitat, but also shorter, milder winters that give them better odds of surviving and spreading their strange curse of a disease. They're also aggressive, tough, and have a tendency to swarm, so you'll need more than a can of bug repellent to stop them. Ironically, the healthiest solution might be the lifestyle we've always advocated for -- skip that nature hike and simply sit at home eating steaks.
We're Experiencing A Jellyfish Uprising
Booming jellyfish populations are a problem. On a personal level, it's becoming more likely that one will give you a nasty sting, and on a broader scale, they're screwing with everything from the cooling water intakes of nuclear power plants to salmon farms. Of course, this has all been exacerbated by the fact that jellyfish have long been an understudied creature. About the only thing scientists studying the population boom are 100 percent sure of is that no jellyfish equivalent to Barry White has arisen from the murky depths to encourage lots of sensual planula production and asexual budding.
It might be because jellyfish thrive in warm water, which we're rapidly getting more of, and they also handle murky water (and water with increased acidity and decreased oxygen levels) better than competitors. Disastrous climate change also means fewer predators, a situation we're aiding through overfishing, even in otherwise-normal waters.