Meat Free Monday, headed by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, turned 5 yesterday! The McCartneys are committed vegetarians and with Meat Free Monday they want to show to everyone how easy it is to eat less meat by going meat free one day a week. The campaign is based on a simple motto: “One Day a Week Can Make a World of Difference”.
Thanks to campaigns like Meat Free Monday, flexitarianism is gaining more and more popularity around the world as the concept is easy to understand for those who do not want to commit to a full vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. It allows them a flexibility that they can adapt to their lifestyle, social life or health conditions.
Meat Free Monday has had an incredible response so far. From a star-studded launch in 2009 in London’s St. James’s Park, Meat Free Monday is now a global awareness movement. Some of the world’s leading authorities on climate change have endorsed meat reduction as an effective way of fighting global warming, including former US Vice President Al Gore, Chair of the IPCC Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Lord Nicholas Stern and former UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King. And a host of celebrities and high profile chefs support the campaign, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Leona Lewis, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Oliver, Joanna Lumley and Sir Richard Branson.
According to the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “animal agriculture generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and the increased frequency and severity of flooding, droughts, and other weather events expected to follow”. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that global meat production accounts for nearly 15 percent of all greenhouse emissions, while other scientists suggest the figure may be much higher.
Reducing our meat consumption is good for your health and the environment:
- Reducing meat consumption lessens the risks of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
- Research by Oxford University found that 45,000 lives a year (and £1.2 billion in NHS costs) would be saved in the UK by people reducing their meat intake.
- An area of Amazon rainforest the size of a hundred football pitches is cut down every hour to create room for cattle ranching.
- Participating in Meat Free Monday just one day a week can reduce your annual carbon footprint by as much as not driving your car for an entire two and a half months.
On six continents, in over 35 countries and 23 languages, people have taken the pledge to go Meat Free on Monday – making eating for a healthier lifestyle and planet a worldwide movement. From members of the Norwegian military to the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture; the Hong Kong Airport Authority to Kuwait’s Ministry of Health, a diverse array of people and groups support the campaign. No matter where it’s happening, if it’s called Lunes Sin Carne (Mexico), Meatless Monday (USA) or Luntiang Lunes (Philippines), skipping meat on Mondays is a simple step that can have a big impact.
Since its launch in 2009 Meat Free Monday has:
- Made a compelling plea to the European Parliament to take the issue of meat reduction seriously. In December 2009 Paul McCartney, along with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri and others, spoke at a special European Parliament hearing entitled: Global Warming and Food Policy: Less Meat = Less Heat.
- Published The Meat Free Monday Cookbook featuring 312 recipes, including contributions from 42 celebrities, chefs, actors and fashion designers. Split into the four seasons, there are recipes for breakfast, packed lunch, lunch, side dish, dinner and dessert for every Monday of the year.
- Got the message out to schools. In June 2012 Paul McCartney’s ‘A Meat Free Monday Message to Schools’ was screened at the Sunday Times Festival of Education. More than two million school students take part in weekly ‘Meat Free’ lunch programmes, including in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Ghent, Helsinki, Liverpool and London.
- Gained support from big companies. Supermarket Ocado and green energy company Ecotricity support the campaign and sportswear manufacturer Puma was an early adopter of Meat Free Monday in its German headquarters. Malmö Aviation became the first airline to support the campaign and the Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm has also implemented a Meat Free Monday.
From the McCartney family on celebrating the anniversary:
Paul: “Thank you to everyone who supports the campaign. Eating more fruit and veg, and less meat, is good for our health and good for the planet. With diet-related diseases on the rise, Meat Free Monday is more important now than ever.”
Mary: “Happy fifth birthday Meat Free Monday! It’s brilliant to see so many people embracing MFM and enjoying a break from meat at least once a week. I have noticed meat-free food options are more widely available than ever – flavourful and imaginative!”
Stella: “After five exciting years since the launch of MFM, we thank you for all your support and encourage more change, so we can do such a small thing for such a huge cause! One day a week without meat is achievable for us all and we know you can do it to have better health and a better environment.”
If you are ready to embark on a flexitarian diet join in Meat Free Monday. You will not only explore new culinary horizons, feel healthier, try some delicious plant-based dishes, reduce your carbon footprint but also be surprised on how easy it is!