Jeff Foxworthy“If you take change from the offering plate …” (because you can’t afford your energy bills).Photo: Anirudh KoulCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In the wake of an extreme heat wave that overtook Washington, D.C., the past few weeks, spring has sprung back with some blessedly mild weather. But the wild weather has been even worse in other parts of the country, where many people are still suffering from the effects of hard winds, high waters, and high temperatures that scientists warn could be harbingers of the new normal due to climate change.

It’s hard for me to fathom how naysayers still refuse to acknowledge that increased carbon pollution — primarily from the burning of fossil fuels — is to blame for the increasingly hostile weather we’re facing these days. After all, climate scientists have been warning us for years that global warming will bring more extreme storms, as well as more rain in some places and more drought in others. What’s it gonna take for the climate change deniers to accept that we have a climate problem that needs fixing? This is a serious question, but perhaps humor can help enlighten the know-nothings.

I’m from the South, so I find Jeff Foxworthy’s comedic riff on rednecks to be funny. You know his schtick: “You might be a redneck if … you think a subdivision is a math problem.” In homage to my funny fellow son of the South, I offer the following observations — not to make light of the situation, mind you, but to shed light on the fact that our elected leaders need to pull their heads out of the sand and get cracking to drastically reduce the greenhouse gases that are cooking our planet:

You might have a climate crisis …

  • if June bugs come in May due to season creep.
  • if your Missouri farm is now more suitable as a temporary fish farm.
  • if your house on the prairie is now an island.
  • if a “100-year” storm or flood event keeps happening every few years.
  • if the water in your favorite lake is not enough to float your boat.
  • if your state’s drought makes the Dust Bowl look like the punch bowl.
  • if your governor is praying for rain.
  • if spring is the new summer, and summer is the newest way to cook outside without a grill.
  • if Smokey the Bear quits his post due to pure exhaustion.
  • if your insurance premiums are going through the roof (assuming you still have a roof).
  • if the smog is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
  • if Dengue Fever is another reason to put on mosquito repellent.
  • if the decline of hops is busting your beer budget.
  • if the Dead Zone is not the name of a new zombie movie.
  • if your igloo just melted — and you didn’t build it on the White House lawn.

When abnormal weather becomes the new normal, it’s time to connect the dots. And while you’re at it, why not add to my list of ways to know we have a climate crisis?