On Friday, Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney wrote an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for him to raise the subject of meat reduction at the COP21 conference in Paris, which begins this week.
The family have been promoting Meat Free Monday since 2009: The campaign encourages people to reduce their environmental footprint and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. With increasing evidence of the negative environmental impact of the global meat industry, they say that, “meat reduction is now more important than ever”.
“Massive meat production creates harmful greenhouse gases and depletes precious resources, including land, water and energy, to increasingly unsustainable levels,” reads the letter. "It is a major contributor towards global environmental degradation and climate change and is also a major factor in loss of species and biodiversity – if present trends continue, over the next 100 years there will be a global mass extinction of species. With increasing evidence of the growth of the global meat industry having alarming environmental consequences, meat reduction is now more important than ever.
“Next week you and other world leaders will meet in Paris for the COP21 to try and reach an ambitious global climate deal that keeps global warming well below 2 degrees. A simple but significant environmental action that the UK and other countries can take, with the added benefit of improved health, would be to endorse Meat Free Monday.
“Reducing demand for meat, even by a relatively small amount, would have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to new research by the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, UN member countries can reduce their carbon emissions up to 2% per year by implementing Meat Free Monday.
“There are a number of simple ways to encourage meat reduction, many of which have already been adopted in different countries around the world:
- Have schools, universities and hospitals go meat free one day a week
- Serve more meat free meals at government offices and during official government functions
- Encourage restaurants to promote Meat Free Monday options on their menus
- Support businesses to get involved
“The proposals we are making can be implemented quickly and would have almost immediate environmental – and health – benefits.
“We strongly urge you to include Meat Free Monday initiatives in the UK climate action plan for Paris. One day a week can make a world of difference.”
According to new research from the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, UN member countries can reduce their carbon emissions by up to 2% per year by going meat free one day a week.
The McCartney family also point out that their proposals can be implemented quickly and would have almost immediate environmental and health benefits.
In a video message released today alongside the letter, Paul McCartney encourages people to take up the idea. “Talk to your people, talk to the schools, talk to your friends, talk to anyone you need to talk to and encourage this idea,” he said. “If enough of us do it, it could really make a big difference.”
For more information about the campaign, please visit meatfreemondays.com.