Today the McCartney family and Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP, former Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change and now Climate Advisor to David Cameron, launched an online campaign to encourage people to skip meat one day a week in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help tackle climate change. The ‘Meat Free Monday Climate Pledge’ campaign (#MFMclimatepledge) will run during the build up to the UN Climate Summit that is taking place in New York later this month.
© Peter John Morgan 2014
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is gathering together global leaders on 23 September – the first time Heads of State will have come together to discuss climate change since Copenhagen in 2009. The summit is being held to jump-start the climate negotiations that are due to conclude with an ambitious global treaty in December 2015. To help build momentum Ban Ki-moon is looking for “bold commitments and actions that will catalyse transformative change”.
The McCartney family and Greg Barker are therefore putting a simple but effective idea on the table: a weekly meat-free day. Over the next two weeks, they will be encouraging people from all over to visit pledge.meatfreemondays.com, pledge to go meat free for one day a week and share the idea with others, before Greg Barker then presents the final results of the campaign at the Summit in New York.
The launch, held at vegetarian restaurant tibits in Mayfair, was attended by environmental NGO leaders and a host of supporters including Chrissie Hynde and Victoria Pendleton. During a delicious Meat Free Brunch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, Global Action Plan, Sustainability Hub and the Eating Better alliance came together to back the campaign and committed to encouraging their members and supporters to get involved too.
Greg Barker, who has personally supported Meat Free Monday since the start of the year said: “Giving up meat one day a week is more than just a symbolic act and, if enough of us do it, will send a very powerful and loud message to world leaders. Meat production is an increasingly large contributor to dangerous climate change so coming together like this may have a small but very real impact.”
Paul McCartney added: “Going meat free one day a week is a simple way to contribute to a more sustainable future. Please pledge your support at pledge.meatfreemondays.com and encourage world leaders to back this in order to help fight climate change.”
Watch Paul McCartney’s video message below.
Meat production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, with some scientists saying the percentage is higher. It also requires increasingly unsustainable levels of precious resources (land, water and energy) and is a major contributor towards global environmental degradation and climate change.
A weekly meat free day is a simple but significant action that everyone can take to cut global emissions. And, with diet-related diseases on the rise, an increased consumption of plant-based food has the added benefit of improved health and could potentially help reduce healthcare costs in the long term.
The Meat Free Monday concept is gaining popularity and similar initiatives have already been embraced by a growing movement of chefs, schools, businesses, politicians and communities in 36 countries. Sid Lerner, founder of Meatless Monday in the States, welcomes the launch of the Meat Free Monday pledge drive during a time when world attention will be focused on the threat of climate change: “Meatless Monday, and the many home-grown variations in 22 languages around the world, are shining examples of grassroots, citizen-led campaigns that collectively are making an enormous impact by encouraging simple changes to our diet.”
To get involved, visit pledge.meatfreemondays.com, pledge to go meat free for one day a week and share the idea with others.