While many people were enjoying the unseasonably warm end to February, Marixsa Watson saw the hot days as a sign of the damage of climate change. The vegan cookbook author, who lives in Worcester, explains her concerns.

Sitting under the warm sun enjoying a rare picnic in February I cannot help but worry about the future of our planet and more specifically my son.

Just last year we were seeing snow and freezing temperatures but here we are in a T-shirt and no shoes, sitting on a blanket surrounded by lovely flowers. This just isn’t normal. This is what climate change looks like.

In October, a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said we have 12 years to make radical changes or the planet will suffer catastrophic consequences.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as taking less time in the shower or car sharing. Over the weekend Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an American Congresswoman, spoke on her Instagram about young adults questioning having children due to the conditions the future will hold – the possible lack of food resources, polluted air and water.

Everyone loves their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and we want them to have a long happy life, but is that what we are leaving them? Are we doing everything we can to give them a future?

The planet is made up of mostly water, roughly 71 per cent, and 96 per cent of that is our oceans – saline water we cannot drink. Our drinking water is freshwater from rain, rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater. Think about how many pollutants go into these: factory run-offs, farm run-offs (faeces, pesticides) and general waste, to mention just a few of the issues.

Our oceans absorb carbon dioxide but the more they absorb the more acidic the water becomes, disturbing their biological balance. Over-fishing also disturbs the delicate balance. The methods used in modern day fishing are contributing to the destruction of our planet and our children’s future. The devastation of our reefs – which help with CO2 among other things – by ocean floor trawling is killing off apex predators such as bluefin tuna, sharks and swordfish, meaning the food chain is affected and creating a gap in the ecosystem.

Also, while trees provide some of the oxygen we breathe, so do the oceans.

So, how can you help? Simple, do not contribute to the demand. If you are saying no to plastic straws because they harm marine life but are still eating fish, it is like using a water dropper to put out a fire.

Take a real stand for our future and our children’s future by making real changes.