Paul McCartney’s speech before the European Parliament in 2009, made headlines worldwide. And now it’s been turned into a book, Less Meat, Less Heat: A Recipe for Our Planet. The title echoes the name of the special hearing on global warming and food policy at which he spoke a decade ago this year, Less Meat = Less Heat. His co-speakers on that December day were Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Olivier de Schutter, then UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food.
As Paul explains in his foreword to the book, the speech was given just six months after he and daughters Mary and Stella launched Meat Free Monday. As well as an attempt to encourage politicians to recognise and act on the damage being done to the environment by meat eating and the livestock industry, it took the MFM message global.
The speech begins with an explanation of why Paul launched the campaign, then moves from the personal to the global, addressing the ways in which meat eating is contributing to the destruction of our world: “The livestock industry produces more greenhouse gases than all of the transport sector put together – cars, planes, trains and trucking. They used to be who we thought were the villains of the piece.”
The solution Paul proposes is simple and effective – so effective, in fact, that a decade after his European parliament speech it has become part of the lives of millions of people worldwide. As he puts it: “What I’m here today to suggest is that the first step is a Meat Free Monday, or a meat-free day. I urge you, each of you, to do your bit for your people, for their children and for the planet they will inherit. Go meat free, one day.”
Published by Claudius Verlag, the pocket-sized book is available in both English and German. It is small in stature but, like the words it contains, planet-sized in vision.