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Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Ragland Project

long may you run

We've written extensively before about how Neil Young has been ahead of the curve regarding environmental issues. The Inconvenient Truth of Greendale examined the album's themes which served as a warning of the consequences of environmental degradation.

Which brings us back to the Ragland Project. In 2002, Neil's boat The Ragland set sail to save the world's ocean and climate from the effects of global warming.

Neil loaned his 100 yr old wooden schooner Ragland and crew to the Planktos Foundation and began a series of innovative ocean/climate experiments by adding natural iron mineral dust to a small forest sized patch of ocean. The Ragland was used to deliver a cargo of "rust" (the natural iron mineral dust) to help fight global warming. Natural iron mineral dust used in the experiment supplements a scarce iron nutrient in the ocean. When added to the ocean in minute quantities iron is known to stimulate growth of ocean plants, phyto-plankton. The plants, in turn, absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2.

For more details, see The Ragland Project.

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At 2/01/2007 09:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool. Anyone ever hear the results of the experiments?

At 2/01/2007 10:38:00 AM, Anonymous jane said...

Neil's been sending us postcards from the future for sometime. Maybe it's time for us to listen.
Maybe the line in After The goldrush about lying in a burned out basement was just a prelude to the apocalpse of Global warming.

At 2/01/2007 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Neil be doing any experiments to find out how much pollution is caused when he and other big name musicians perform their stadium and arena shows?

Or, being one of the show-biz elite, does he exclude himself and his peers from such scrutiny?

At 2/01/2007 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Francis said...

Very timely article with the release of a major global warming report tomorrow. thanks!

At 2/01/2007 11:20:00 AM, Anonymous karen said...

Is The Ragland still for sale? Nice of Neil to let them use his boat for that.

And I'd like to point out that on Neil's last tour all the tour buses and trucks were fuelled by bio-diesel, probably creating less emissions on the entire tour than most people do with their cars and SUV's in a week.

Neil walks the walk.

At 2/02/2007 02:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe today's Global warming report will wake some folks up that this is serious stuff.

At 2/02/2007 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Neil and his peers will stop with the big electrical shows. The power to drive all of those lights and power coming from those guitars is probably more than most people use in a lifetime.

Neil and Crazy Horse should be named environmental criminals for the all of the pollution that they've created just so that they could play their electric guitars and have lots of pretty lights shining on them.

Perhaps he'll go to just soft acoustic shows which don't use nearly as much power, nor create as much pollution.

I'm not holding my breath.

At 2/03/2007 03:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous.....don't play electric shows with lights??

Lay off the cannabis sativa. Neil's shows use up less energy than the average SUV burns in two months.

Sounds like a right winger in disguise.

At 2/03/2007 08:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I commented hours ago and it hasn't posted yet. Should I resend or was I deleted?

At 2/03/2007 09:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourself. Neil's been one of the biggest polluting individuals of our lifetimes. Would be interesting to have a tally of all the jet fuel consumption he's been responsible for over the years. And don't overlook the fact that while he may have started to clean up his act some, he puts on events to which tens of thousand of cars are driven, sometimes for hundreds of miles each. Public transportation is not an option at many venues.
Biodiesel's a questionable alternative. It depends what proportion of biodiesel is used in the blend and it still creates up to half the pollution of regular diesel while further stripping our already depeleted topsoil and using alot of water and energy in its production.
It's interesting how some of his most vocal defenders themselves jet around the country and drive long distances to multiple shows to hear him perform After the Goldrush. Instead of being a point of embarassment, it's a badge of honor among fans to fly or drive long distances to shows, even internationally, and to see many shows on a single tour. How about braging about how little you've polluted to see shows?
Exactly how many vehicles does Neil own? He's certainly done his part to glorify cars and driving. If he's making some attempt to clean up his act, I'm all for it. But there's a long way to go to green.

At 2/04/2007 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Cathy C said...

OK, Mr. Holier than Thou. So what exactlt have you done to make the world a better place? Maybe something other than giving grief to Neil for at least making an effort to reduce his carbon footprint? How about Farm Aid? Encouraging locally produced organic food rather than factory farms?

At 2/04/2007 03:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, since you've asked... as a matter of fact, I've been eating organic for 20 years. I avoid excess consumption, including food. I avoid flying, which is terribly polluting in the more fragile layers of the atmosphere. I use public transportation as does my adult child, whom I raised with a conservation ethic. I walk and bike. I buy used, recycle religiously, have my name on the national do not mail list to virtually eliminate junk mail, drive very little, etc. etc. I'm not interested in being holier than thou. I'm just disgusted with the slovenly abuse I see in this country of my beloved fragile miraculous planet and I'm out of patience for the people who don't give a flying fig that we're killing it.

At 2/04/2007 04:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition, I consciously chose to limit my offspring to one, I don't have pets, which create huge amounts of pollution. I'd rather keep the fish in the ocean than in a cat food can. I ate vegetarian for many years, which is far less resource intensive, and still only eat small amounts of animal. I've belonged to CSAs, and of course frequent the local farmer's market. I buy in bulk. I live in a deliberately chosen small home in an urban setting. I don't need to visit Alaska or the Bahamas to feel whole. I'm happy just knowing they exist and reading about them. The writing has been on the environmental wall for decades.I appreciate that Neil is making an effort but I get the feeling he's a bit late to the party and there's alot of window dressing.

At 3/09/2007 11:35:00 AM, Anonymous Rick A said...

No one has noted how ironic it is that rust is the element that works for this and Neil's boat is doing the distribution. Rust never sleeps, does it?

It's got to be hard to be famous and try to project an environmentally friendly image. Should Neil stay at home and never perform outside of the SF area? We wouldn't know about him if he did that. Even an acoustic show uses a lot of electricity for lights, amps, AC, etc.

I think he's trying to do his part the best he can, and I don't think he's doing it for his image or to sell music. If he has cut his energy consumption by say, 25%, that's still 25%.

I have to fly to get to work...there's nothing I can do about it...but it is mass transit. On the other hand, at home I drive less than a lot of people; when I'm in a city, I walk a lot; I keep my thermostat at a reasonable level; turn lights off when not in use; play an acoustic guitar(!).

What I'm saying is, you do what you can. Some of us can do more than others. The human race and the world continue to evolve. Let's hope we can move in the right direction to keep it evolving.


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