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Neil Young protests against Monsanto and Starbucks in new album The Monsanto Years

Updated on December 11, 2015

Protesting Monsanto


Neil Young performs at Farm Aid 2010


Neil Young the environmental activist takes on Monsanto

Canadian rock legend and singer-songwriter Neil Young has written and performed many protest songs throughout his career. Besides social injustice and political matters with songs like "Ohio," "Southern Man" and "Rockin' In The Free World," he has campaigned strongly for environmental issues too.

Neil Young is committed to doing what he can to speak out on issues that concern him. Besides being an incredibly talented songwriter, musician, author and film-maker, Young is very much an activist for environmental causes.

He has recently announced a new album, entitled The Monsanto Years, in which he condemns the Global Giant company that has been a leading producer of genetically modified (GMO) crops and the harmful herbicide Roundup, which has been recently linked with causing cancer. Monsanto has also given us DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone and Aspartame, and all of these substances have been shown to cause great harm in one way or another.

Young also targets Starbucks in his new songs because he thinks the company is working hand-in-hand with Monsanto.

The Monsanto Years

The Monsanto Years has been reported as due for release in June and the album will feature songs with titles that speak for themselves like "Monsanto Years," "Seeds," and "Too Big To Fail."

His anger and distrust of Starbucks is highlighted in "Rock Starbucks." Young claims that Starbucks have been trying to squash GMO labeling in Vermont. He called for a boycott of the firm in November 2014 when Rolling Stone reported:

“Neil Young is seeking a new source for his daily latte. The rocker announced on his website this week that he’s boycotting Starbucks over the coffee company’s involvement in a lawsuit against the state of Vermont’s new requirements to label genetically modified ingredients.”

Starbucks issued an official denial that they are working hand in hand with Monsanto under the name of the Grocery Manufacturers Alliance, on overturning the Vermont law to stop GMO food labeling but Young is not accepting this. He makes his feelings clear on his website.

Young, who is working with Willie Nelson's sons, Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, has spoken out against Monsanto and Starbucks before but now he is stepping up a gear by speaking out to the world in an album of songs about these global companies.

Neil Young - Mother Earth (Live)

Neil Young's other environmental songs

Neil Young has written, recorded and performed many other songs about environmental issues and conservation of the natural world.

His "Mother Earth" depicts clearly how human greed and the "men of power" are ravaging the planet.

On his Grammy and Juno-award nominated Living With War album that was released in 2006, and that condemned the policies of the George W. Bush administration, there was a song entitled "After The Garden Has Gone." It asked plaintively "What will people do, after the garden has gone?"

After The Garden Is Gone by Neil Young

Neil Young is an active campaigner not just in his recordings

Neil Young is not only active campaigning about environmental issues via his songs and recordings, as well as his statements to the media, because he also does benefit gigs and tours to protest about matters that concern him.

Young is very annoyed with the tar-sands mining in Canada and has expressed his anger before. He has already played concerts in support of Honour The Treaties last year but is doing so again, and has announced that he will play a benefit on 3 July in Edmonton in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defense Fund. Honor the Treaties was set up to give a strong voice to indigenous people and their communities affected by issues such as oil-sand mining developments and the pollution it brings in its wake, as well as the destruction of their lands.


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    • wabond profile image

      William Bond 24 months ago from England

      I think it is great the people like Neil Young or Russell Brand use their fame and talents to highlight the damage corporate interests are doing to our world. The mainstream media won't do it, so we do need famous entertainers to inform the people what is really going on.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 24 months ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I agree, William. Thanks for commenting!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 24 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      My wife is an avid Neil Young fan, and now so am I. I am sharing this with her and on social networking sites and with followers. I admire Young very much for saying with his awesome, beautiful songs and singing that common sense, very beneficial to nature and humanity reforms are needed to bring to earth a clean energy sustainable economy and improve the lot of billions of people.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 24 months ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing! Yes, Neil deserves all the support we can give!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 24 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Looks like an album to buy when it is released!

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 24 months ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Yes, it is probably going to be another brilliant album by Neil!

    • profile image

      Donna Cleveland 19 months ago

      Happy to see my photo being used in conjunction with an article about one of my favorite singers.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 19 months ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Hi Donna! I am so glad you are a fan of Neil's too. Thank you for letting us all know and for your great photo!

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