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Paul’s ‘Grasshopper’ friend leaps to rescue of Brazil’s Cerrado

An animated short about Paul McCartney's encounter with grasshoppers in 2013 aims to raise awareness about an endangered ecosystem

Posted : 25 April 2022

A new short film hoping to change minds about the destruction of the Amazon has taken its inspiration from a stage invasion at a Paul McCartney gig. A stage invasion by grasshoppers, that is.

On May 6, 2013, while the MFM founder was performing in Goiânia, Brazil, as part of his Out There! tour, a swarm of esperança grasshoppers descended on the stage – and enjoyed the experience so much they stayed for the show. One perched on Paul’s shoulders for almost all of his three-hour performance. He christened it Harold.

And it is a descendant of Harold’s, Lino, who narrates the seven-minute animation, created by Lia Reis, an environmental activist and film-maker, to raise awareness of the destruction of Brazil’s tropical savannah, the Cerrado, for soya and livestock farming. Insects are among the thousands of species being destroyed daily to feed the world’s appetite for meat.

Lino explains that the swarm was drawn by the sound and light of the gig, and that his great-grandfather had an epiphany while sitting on Paul’s shoulder. It clearly inspired Paul too. After presenting Harold to the 47,000 people in the audience, he sat at the piano to sing Hey Jude and used the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder” to quip: “It certainly is now!”

After cutting from the animation to footage of the gig – which Reis was at – the director signs by explaining that as well as a message of thanks to Paul McCartney, the film is also “a small gesture in defence of the Brazilian Cerrado, one of the most endangered biomes on the planet”. Home to more than 14,000 plant species and hundreds of thousands of animal species of animals, a century ago this unique ecosystem, home to jaguars and giant anteaters, covered an area half the size of Europe. Half of it has now been cut down.

Reis, who works with the group Agencia Sapiens, adds that deforestation and industrial livestock farming and planting soy for cattle feed is causing 10 rivers in the wetland region to disappear every year. As Lino the grasshopper asks: “How can humans destroy these beautiful Cerrado forests? Who would trade all of this diversity for soy and cattle?”

It remains to be seen what kind of creatures will make it on stage during Paul’s Got Back tour of North America, which starts in Spokane, Washington State, on April 28!

Check out Harold on Instagram

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