National Geographic : 2018 Mar
Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief We both wore blue suede shoes to the interview, as in the Carl Perkins song that the Beatles covered. But McCartney said his are “fake blue suede” shoes that daughter Stella’s company makes with a non-leather material. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY. started to draw this comparison between greenhouse gases and basically too much livestock on Earth. It wouldn’t be so bad ifitwasjustoneortwoonafarm,but when there’s billions, the way we now do it, it has a big effect on the atmosphere. For me, the bottom line is we’re on this incredible planet, and there doesn’t appear to be another one in sight. And alongside us are these little dudes, these animals. We’ve all got the chance in life to survive, and I like the idea of giving them their best shot. I’m conscious of that now, whereas when I grew up, you never thought of it as meat. It was just some stuff that arrived from the super- market, came all wrapped and packaged, and didn’t look like an animal. I think that’s how most people are. SG: But you brought up your daughters very differently. Today your daughter Stella doesn’t use any animal products in the clothes she designs. PM: That’s right. My kids are great, and they have always been vegetarian with the option that if they wanted to change, they could. But they never wanted to, and now they bring up their kids vege- tarian. So the whole family is ... and you know, nobody seems to be suffering. SG: In a lot of parts of the world, though, there are people for whom raising live- stock is their livelihood. Even having one pig or goat or cow is the road out of poverty. PM: But I don’t think that’s the problem. I think the mass production is where the big problem starts to come in, where cer- tain companies have billions of animals, often cramped in really cruel conditions. I was brought up by my mom, who’s a nurse, a midwife, and my dad was a cotton salesman. Just ordinary people in Liverpool, and we just had ordinary food, the same as everyone in our street. But when I reached a certain age, I made a change. I just thought, “You know what? Maybe this isn’t what I want to do. I’ve got the free will to do something else.” So I encourage people. I say, it’s ac- tually quite fun when you look at what you do, what you eat, how you live, and think, “Is this what I’m going to do the rest of my life, or would it be interesting to try to make a change?” I think a lot of people do that these days. SG: You’ve been one of the most famous people in the world for a very long time. You could support so many causes and have your voice heard by a lot of people. Why this cause, and why now? PM: Well, this is personal. I do support a lot of other causes too—but this partic- ular one, this is how I live. And I like the idea of this particular campaign because I can then say to people, “Just try it.” Nobody’s forcing anyone to do anything; you just try one day meat free, because it’s a good idea. SG: So you think some of the main advantages here are personal health, health of the planet, and compassion for animals ... PM: Mm-hmm. SG: What am I leaving out? PM: Those are three pretty good ones. I’d go with those. *** Thank you for reading National Geographic.