Music and charity
"We got department stores and toilet paper, got Styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer" sings Neil Young on his 1973 classic track "Rockin' in the Free World. " The Canadian singer has been a environmental activist since his 1966 debut with Buffalo Springfield, but few people know that he also defends many other causes. In fact, he won the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, emphasizing his charitable efforts, at the 2011 Juno Awards.
In 1985, Neil Young co-founded the Farm Aid benefit concerts with partners Willy Nelson and John Mellencamp, which focus on fund raising to help American farmers. More than $US 30 million have been raised since the beginning of the initiative, which still holds concerts annually.
Mr. Young also founded the Bridge School with his wife Pegi. The school educates and supports children with physical challenges and complex communication needs. It is not seen as a permanent school, but its purpose is to permit students to acquire necessary independence for transition to a regular school system. The musician also plays at various benefit concerts. A percentage of the profits goes to the school's funding.
In 2014, Neil Young paired with Honour the Treaties, a non-profit organization promoting aboriginal people's rights. The musician went on the Honour the Treaties tour around Canada to encourage Albertan First Nations involved in the battle against tar sand development on their cultural territory. Mr. Young is sympathetic of the Athabasca Chupewyen tribe’s endeavour to acquire legal obligation to be consulted on controversial issues related to oil production.
Overall, Neil Young’s music really translates his activism. Its convincing precision and lyrical depth really enables it to breathe outside the expected scope. Many interpretations can arise from its analysis. However, the emotion remains the primary focus and this is what makes Neil Young’s music special.