MFM Australia has been set up by the Do Something! charity and is being spearheaded by TV chef Janella Purcell, nutritionist Rosemary Stanton and environmentalist Jon Dee, managing director of Do Something!
The goal is to convince the Land of the Barbecue of the importance of cutting down on consumption for the sake of the environment, human health and animal welfare.
It’s a difficult proposition in a country addicted to meat (recent surveys found that the average Australian eats almost 180g of meat a day, double the recommended amount, and fewer than one in 10 people aged 12 and over regularly eat enough vegetables) and where livestock farming provides many jobs and accounts for a large proportion of the economy.
As Dee argues, however, that same industry is responsible for approximately 10 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. He adds that a change in diet will be inevitable in a world where populations are on the rise and resources dwindling.
“One day a week, why not try and get more balance in your diet,” he says. “Between now and 2050 we’re going to have two billion people, and more societies will be eating meat. So the issue we’ve got to face at some point is at what point we hit the wall, in terms of how we can meet that level meat [production] for increasing numbers of people.”
More than 20 countries now have their own Meat Free Monday campaign.