neilyoung_sternI was thoroughly impressed with Howard Stern’s interview with Neil Young yesterday morning.  This was Howard’s dream interview as he’s wanted Neil on his couch for over thirty years.  It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Neil covered a wide array of topics including his involvement in the high-resolution Pono Music service, his new book “Special Deluxe: a Memoir of Life & Cars” and of course, the legendary body of music ranging from Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Crazy Horse and his long solo career.

However, the most impressive thing to me was Neil’s passionate and informed work in protecting Mother Earth.  It is quite obvious that he genuinely cares for the environment.  He has invested substantial amount of personal time and his name recognition towards the important cause of protecting the land, fresh water, the ocean, wildlife and even ensuring our own survival as a species.

This spring, Neil supported indigenous communities in Canada through the “Honour the Treaties” tour in opposition to the oil sands development in Alberta.

Neil rattled off some alarming, yet persuasive statistics.  He spoke up for air quality, water quality and offered direct criticism at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and even President Barrack Obama for poor environmental decision-making made under their watch.  He took direct aim at oil and gas industry, the practice of fracking and it’s impact on the earth and the water.

These are the messages that I found so important:

  • Capitalism and corporate influence on government policy – There are places in the world where governments are taking viable steps to move away from fossil fuels by encouraging use of green technology, bio-fuels and renewable energy sources, especially solar.  While in North America, influential corporations make it in their best interests to continue our dependence on fossil fuels.  We have to rethink government especially the influence that corporations have on government policy.  Corporate lobbying and corporate political donations have an incredible amount of influence on lawmakers in the United States.  Although less prevalent in Canada, corporations do exert incredible influence on the direction of environmental policy.
  • Reducing our own carbon footprint – It is essential that each and every one of us take stock of our own habits and make decisions that can make things better.  We have the ability to choose – to make informed decisions – personal decisions – every day – to improve the health of the earth and water around us.  From the types of cars that we buy, to the food that we eat, and the waste that we create.  Everyone can and needs to be a part of the solution.

So many of our people that have taken up the cause to protect Mother Earth and her lifeblood, the water.  Our teachings clearly tell us that it is our role “to speak up for those things that cannot speak for themselves”.  The Anishinaabe, and indigenous people everywhere, are beginning to get through to the public and to lawmakers.  It is really great to have allies and friends like Neil Young to support this important work and raise the profile of this important conversation.