Charity Message

June 4, 2005:

Hello to all of my fans and friends.
While traveling in support of my new album, I thought I would take a minute to discuss a few factors relating to my personal beliefs in charities that I have worked with over the years and my beliefs relating to them.
Most of my fans know that I am dedicated and supportive of many charities and causes. I am concerned with human, environmental, and animal rights. I support Amnesty International. I founded a charity to help the victims and families of self-mutilation understand the devastation of self-harming behaviour. I support GE (genetically engineered) crops to enhance yield in farms.
What I'm more concerned with talking to you about, however, are the charities that I don't support. I do not support PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), nor do I support Greenpeace. Many of you may wonder how I can support animal and environmental rights if I don't agree with these groups. Unfortunately, I have witnessed firsthand the sensationalism that these two charities have stirred-up... I have witnessed that much of the work that they do relies on opinion and not fact, on heart and not mind.
I have befriended many celebrities over the last several years that support the two aforementioned causes... and while I agree empirically with many of their ideals (like most sane people, I am anti animal-abuse), and while I myself am converting to vegetarianism, it is not for "animal rights." In the same token, you will never hear me support organic crops.
Just to give you one example of why I don't support Greenpeace, they advocate organic as the "sole means of farming." While this is a wonderful ideal, it is not realistic. Going back to my main concern, human rights, I'm at a loss for words at how any Greenpeace supporter could suggest that we are after the best interests of the world when we advocate organic farming. To put it simply, we are living in a world that cannot support its current population of more than six billion people. Many third-world countries deal with starvation of millions of people every year because there simply isn't enough food to sustain the population at its current stance, let alone where its headed in the next century. With that in mind, however, if we simply consider a few simple steps, we can help change the world.
I knew I couldn't be a supporter of any of the majour environmentalist causes when I realized that almost all of them support organic farming. In today's society, with the massive population growth that I've mentioned, if we can modify crops in a laboratory setting to make them more resistant to extreme climates, then we can help to sustain more of the world population. Who can argue with that?
I support the vast majority of the charities that I come into contact with, but I simply cannot support a charity that prides itself on sensationalism, arson, crime, malice, or hatred as being "in the best interests" of the cause that they're trying to support. I'm not speaking in particular of any one charity, but rather of most of the mainstream charities that most people consider important to the world.
During promotions for my third album, "The Slope" in 2000, I was working with four different charities in particular and donating an equal portion of the amount to each cause. The three charities were PETA, Greenpeace, The American Cancer Society, and The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. I supported PETA because I supported Animal Rights, Greenpeace because I supported environmental rights, the American Cancer Society because I lost my grandfather to cancer, and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation because I lost my grandmother to MS. I found in my working with these charities that the ACS and MSF both supported the other charities, but that both PETA and Greenpeace discouraged me from working with the other two charities because "they supported animal testing" and "were against the environment," respectively. So the charities that could've potentially saved the lives of members of my own family (with adequate research and funding) are "wrong" in the eyes of PETA and Greenpeace because they are trying to help the lives of human beings?
I live for nature, animals, and the environment. Without them, I wouldn't be inspired and would be out of a career... but, as Penn G. mentioned, "if I had to sacrifice every monkey to save the life of one junkie with AIDS, I would do it without thinking." It's true, I feel that, without humans, our world is pointless... there are ways in which to educate human beings to protect the environment and our wonderful animals... but doing it by burning down buildings and killing other humans is not the answer.

OK, I'm off of my soapbox, and while I'm not trying to get you to change your mind or to advocate any one charity in particular, I hope that my viewpoint has helped to give you a more realistic worldview.

-Brian Larsen
June 4, 2005