I had a bad Sunday. I went outside to garden at our Catskill house, but I was really just doing patio and walkway cleanup. Weekend houses need weekend work. Yet, I did not weed. I did not dig dirt, walk through the bushes or trees, or plant anything.

And yet when I had finished, and was naked in the shower as my wife examined me for ticks, she screamed, “Don’t move. You have one.” It was sitting on my back and had not penetrated. It is now safe in our septic tank.

I had gone outside dressed from toe to chin. No exposed flesh or so I thought. Yet, I was ticked. When I garden now, I have to have Suzen there for that body inspection. It’s a disaster. I can’t garden without her there. I used to spend a week a month in our Catskill house, often doing gardening so our weekends would be “chore free.” No longer.

Later on Sunday night, we had friends over for dinner. They are fiftyish and have lived in the Catskills for their entire lives. I asked about the tick situation and they shook their heads. As kids, they lived outdoors, camped outdoors, slept outdoors. Now? They live indoors and would never let kids or grandkids sleep on their grass. Those ticks? A new phenomenon they never experienced as kids.

I don’t believe that mankind is the main cause of climate change, but I don’t dispute change is rampant. I think sun activity far outweighs the human impact. Whatever the cause, I think the rise of those damn ticks is a consequence of climate change.

What can we do? Well, I find this book helpful: 50 Ways to Help the Planet. I’ve gone through the book and, truly, Suzi and I are already working on many fronts:

  • Take home less plastic
  • Don’t go disposable
  • Slow fashion [buy things you really will use over and over, not just once and toss]
  • Insulate your home [we spent a lot to super insulate our Catskill house, where nights are cool or cold 8 months a year]
  • Walk every day [Suzi and I both shoot for 15,000 steps or 7.5 miles/day]
  • Walk to work [our bedroom is 40 feet from our office!]

And there are things we can start doing better:

  • Greener vehicles
  • Seeing the world by traveling on trains [we will next time we have, yes, flown to Europe]
  • Don’t waste good food [we really are working to cut waste]
  • Make friends with wildlife [we are planting more and more bee-friendly plants]

50 Ways is a lovely reminder about all the ways you work to make the planet safer, if not tick free. No, you and I probably can’t do them all, but a little of this, a bit of that, and we have some impact. And impact we need.