When I was a kid I was always a little confused by Fishstick Fridays. (And no, I really don't like fishsticks, but thanks for asking.) Growing up in WASP-y Oregon, I didn't make the Catholic connection until my teens. I eventually married a vegetarian of Irish-Catholic descent, and together we produced a couple of baby vegetarians, and so my meatless Fridays usually extend well into the following week. That is, unless I'm in a restaurant or dining with friends, in which case anything goes. So I guess that makes me a flexitarian or something.
But I am a guilty meat eater, just as I am a guilty driver, airplane passenger, and garbage generator. I know how those delicious sausages are made, but that knowledge does nothing to enhance my dinner. I believe that personable Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan is essentially wrong and that annoying Face on Your Plate author Jeffrey Masson is probably entirely correct when it comes down to the higher moral road on the issue. Information concerning the extent to which meat production is wreaking havoc on the environment – whether by clear-cutting rainforests to increase beef production or the creation of manure lagoons by factory farming – is widely available. And so are skeptics just as willing to argue that rice fields emit huge amounts of methane.
Fortunately, longtime vegetarian Paul McCartney has figured out a way to make the carnivore's dilemma a little less painful. During the European Parliament's "Less Meat = Less Heat" hearing on December 3, Sir Paul and climate-change expert Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri teamed up to endorse the Meatless Monday concept.
McCartney is pushing a 'Meat-Free Mondays' campaign, aimed at encouraging people to cut down on their consumption.
"Our campaign says 'try one meat-free day in the week'," he said.
"It's very do-able. If you say to people, 'go vegetarian,' that's very hard to do.
"But if you suggest to people 'one day,' I think most people will have a bit of a blow-out over the weekend and Monday they go to the gym.
"Once, for instance, we didn't recycle - we weren't interested, but now it's an accepted part of our lifestyles."
That's what I've always liked about McCartney. He's a radical who usually comes off as eminently reasonable, even a little old-fashioned. As demonstrated by his new corny-as-Kansas ode to Meat Free Monday: