A 2014 EPA report identified 4 new climate change benchmarks: number of yearly household heating- and cooling-days, wildfire frequency, Great Lakes temperatures and water levels, and Lyme disease cases.
Lyme disease is the only illness identified as a conclusive climate change indicator. Ticks—the primary carriers of Lyme—are proliferating across the US, Europe and Asia and thriving in areas thought to be uninhabitable by the arachnids—an indication that even slight temperature changes can alter biodiversity. Urbanization also brings ticks and humans into contact more frequently.
“This is all the more disturbing when we realize, ultimately, that it is we who unleashed them,” writes Mary Beth Pfeiffer.
Book Excerpt, “Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change”—Aeon