Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
I remember during my childhood how my parents would look at all of the neighbors' beautifully green, glimmering grass and talk about the need to water our pale, dried-out lawn. A yellow lawn amid a bunch of green never looked very pretty.
Now, imagine a world where everyone's lawn looked as pale as ours. With climate change increasingly looming on the horizon, we face extreme weather patterns and severe drought that make it difficult for common plants such as grass and trees to grow normally.
Unfortunately, a yellow lawn is not the only effect of a changing climate. If the grass in your yard won't grow, imagine the problems farms will encounter. Should we allow climate change to continue its destructive path, severe drought would cause difficulty when growing fruits, vegetables and all types of grains, resulting in food shortages everywhere. The poorest countries will be affected first, but at some point, even the wealthiest nations may not be able to keep up.
Most scientists agree climate change is caused by excessive emissions of greenhouse gases by humans. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we must not exceed our "carbon budget" if we are to prevent a 2 degree Celsius increase in average global temperature. Such an uptick would cause a change in weather patterns so dramatic that it would be extremely difficult to mitigate the damage.
The United States recently signed the Paris Agreement, a commitment among countries of the world to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. However, President Trump has entertained the possibility of pulling the United States out of this agreement. Trump has expressed the concern that committing to lowering our greenhouse gas emissions may slow economic growth, putting our economic progress behind other countries.
It is important to remember that the United States is not alone in this endeavor, as 144 other members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have entered the agreement. Additionally, the IEA has reported that while greenhouse gas emissions have decreased in the past few years, the global economy has grown. Since the United States is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, it would be wise for us to look into ways our economy can grow without emitting so much unsustainable air pollution. By sticking with our pledge in the Paris Agreement, we contribute to a more beautiful and sustainable world.
Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are due to make a decision regarding the agreement soon. Help convince them to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement by letting them know that you want an adequate food supply and a beautiful green planet. After all, no one likes a yellow lawn.
Clifford Hangarter is a freshman clarinet performance major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.