Paul McCartney Wants You to Do One Thing for the Planet
In an exclusive conversation, the music legend speaks about his passions and how everyone can make a difference.
By Heather Brady
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1, 2017
Paul McCartney’s campaign for people to reduce their meat consumption is a deeply personal one.
McCartney, a global icon and former Beatle who is often known more for his music than his activism, is a vegetarian himself and discussed his personal choices and passions in an interview with Susan Goldberg, editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine.
“I support a lot of causes, but this particular one is personal for me because it is how I live,” said McCartney. “Through this campaign, I can say to people, ‘Just try it’ and show that it can actually be quite fun when you look at what you do, what you eat, how you live and think, ‘is this what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life or would it be interesting to try making a change?’”
In the interview above, McCartney talks about the upcoming release of “One Day a Week,” a short documentary film he made with his daughters, Mary and Stella McCartney. The film features Academy Award winner Emma Stone and Academy Award nominee and EMMY winner Woody Harrelson, as they narrate and share facts about the impact of livestock agriculture on climate change.
“My film, ‘One Day a Week,’ aims to raise awareness of this important issue and show people that if we all join together in this effort, we can help improve the environment, reduce the negative impacts of climate change, and even improve people’s health,” said McCartney.
The documentary short supports the McCartneys’ nonprofit campaign “Meat Free Monday.” The campaign focuses on the negative ways that eating meat can harm the environment, and McCartney hopes to encourage people to help slow the progression of climate change by eating less meat.
“Meat Free Monday encourages people to not eat meat at least one day a week with the hope that if enough people do it and the idea spreads, it will make a difference,” he said.
The raising, processing, and consumption of livestock is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, which harm the planet by contributing to climate change. By eating less meat, people can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and minimize water use.
From the January 1965 issue of National Geographic magazine: "Mountain Madonna, with one child at her breast and another laughing into her face, sees her way of life threatened. Her people, of Malayo-Polynesian origin, took refuge in the hills centuries ago. Now they live among thousands of newly settled Vietnamese, who clear tribal areas for themselves, while Viet Cong guerrillas make the highlands a battleground."
PHOTOGRAPH BY HOWARD SOCHUREK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
In the interview, McCartney also told Goldberg about his inspiration for writing the Beatles' song "Lady Madonna"—a National Geographic magazine photograph of a Malayo-Polynesian woman surrounded by three small children, one of them nursing. The image, taken by photographer Howard Sochurek, was published in an article titled "American Special Forces in Action in Viet Nam" in the January 1965 issue of the magazine.
"One particular issue [of the magazine] I saw in the '60s had a woman, and she looked very proud and she had a baby," McCartney said. "I saw that as a kind of Madonna thing, mother and child ... You know, sometimes you see pictures of mothers and you go, 'She's a good mother.' You could just tell there's a bond and it just affected me, that photo. So I was inspired to write 'Lady Madonna,' my song, from that photo."
The film is slated to be released Friday, November 3. Watch McCartney’s full interview with Susan Goldberg here.