Neil Young calls for boycott of non-organic cotton
Artist wants fans to join him in protesting against pesticide use in crop production
Writing on his website, Young says: "Friends, on my last tour of Europe, I started to give our music loving audience free organic cotton t-shirts as a way to show that we appreciate you. Your shirts' cotton is grown in the most earth-friendly way. Feel it. Isn't it the best cotton you have ever felt? They're free but there is a catch. Here's the catch – I'm hoping that when you wear your PROTECT / EARTH t-shirt, you will vow to PROTECT EARTH & to take a stand for EARTH in the ways that you can.
"Today, I have taken the steps to remove sales of non-organic t-shirts and other products that damage the Earth from my concerts and my web stores. I vow to speak up & to do what I can to PROTECT EARTH."
The post continues with a list of reasons why he objects to some cotton production methods and details of the damage done. Young writes: "Cotton is second for most pesticide use of all crops & it uses 25 per cent of all of the petrochemical based pesticides, fungicides and herbicides globally.
"The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in the United States as 'possible,' 'likely,' 'probable,' or 'known' human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin). These chemicals absorb into the soil which can affect nearby crops, get into water supplies and rivers and affect many lifeforms downstream."
The move echoes the sentiments of the new song Young has been playing on his recent tour with Crazy Horse, 'Who's Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth', which you can see below. Young also recently announced his collaboration with Rainforest Connection, a company that fits old mobile phones with solar-powered energy sources and implants them into trees around a rainforest. When the phones pick up the sound of chainsaws, animals in distress or gunshots they alert authorities in real time. The advantage over satellite-based systems is that it's immediate, whereas satellites can take weeks to refresh their images and show rainforest destruction.
Young has long been involved in environmental activism, from his role as a Farm Aid co-founder to the promotion of his LincVolt electric car.