On June 22, at the sea coast in the south of The Netherlands, Simon got bitten by a tick. Climate change sucks. 54% of Dutch land is infested with Lyme-carrying ticks and the universe of this epidemiologically threatening bug keeps expanding. Contrary to what many people think, ticks live in the grass, not up in the trees. All Simon did was step out of the car and walk two meters in the grass.

In our particular case, I don’t think we should worry too much as I have managed to pull the damn thing from Simon’s leg within a few minutes, the most painful minutes in Simon’s life so far. A tiny part of the tick, however, remained under Simon’s skin and I just couldn’t get it out anymore, no matter all the instruments that a nearby hotel kindly provided. The local Dutch doctor’s assistant dismissed us, saying we “should just wait for another 24 hours”, without even having seen Simon! We then drove to the Belgian Knokke, less than half an hour away, where the amazing staff at the urgent help department at the hospital took us very seriously, no waiting time or any further ado, applied a local anesthetic and smoothly removed the rest of the tick with a needle. “You should have come here immediately”, the Belgian doctor told me. Well, I was sort of used to having the wait for hours at the Dutch emergency unit.

Simon doing math at the hospital, waiting for the anesthetic to get going

Two days later, I discovered that I had been bitten as well. Presumably while standing on my knees, removing Simon’s tick.

Hopefully, this was the end of this little nightmare for us. But it’s not the end of it for our planet. A growing number of countries is getting infected.

Neva got very inspired by this incident of how climate change has kicked our butts and devoted one of her future climate videos to this ticking bomb:

Be careful you all and check tekenradar.nl if you are in Holland for the current situation. Simon and Neva have reported both of our bites there. We view this as a memorable exercise in digital democracy: providing other people with valuable data and promoting communal trust. Isn’t this the way we should go about with COVID-19? Making the data public and open to everyone?

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