Singer Leona Lewis has recalled how her parents were ‘annoyed’ that she constantly turned off the lights as a child because she was ‘trying to help the planet’.
Now based in Los Angeles, the former X-Factor winner grew up in Islington and told the PA News Agency that her dedication to the environment came at a young age.
“I’ve always had this realization and awareness — and honestly, it was in school,” she said.
“I remember someone came to talk to us about the environment, and what I took away from that when I was a kid was that I used to come home and turn off all the lights. I remember my parents were really pissed off, because I was walking around and turning off the lights, saying, “I’m trying to help the planet.”
“It’s so funny, because it really stuck with me as a kid – so I know how important it is to get the message out to kids.”
Lewis, 38, has also been a vegetarian since she was 12 and a vegan for six or seven years – and that also stems from a pivotal childhood moment.
“I used to go to Oxford Circus (London) when I was 10, 11, and see protests against animal testing – I think they still do now. But I remember that it triggered something in me, like why are they testing on animals? What is it?”
Lewis said her parents made “a real effort to make me feel comfortable as a vegetarian”, and that’s something she hopes to pass on to her daughter, Carmel Allegra, who is nearly nine. month and she calls “Coco”.
“For me as a mum now, obviously I’m aware and aware and trying to do my part as best I can,” Lewis explained.
“As parents now, everything is amplified and we’re like, OK, what are we passing on to Coco? When she’s older, is she going to look at us and say, what’s this? What did you do? What happened? It certainly makes you more aware, that’s for sure.
For Lewis and her husband, German-born creative director Dennis Jauch, the most important thing they can do for their daughter is lead by example.
“What I tend to do is focus on what we can do. My husband and I actually opened a cafe with sustainability at its heart (Coffee + Plants in LA) – so for every every mug we sell, we plant a tree – we partner with the National Forest Association, and all of our stuff is recyclable.
For Lewis, it helps keep eco-anxiety at bay. “I feel like focusing on what we can do on a day-to-day basis is going to take that anxiety away,” she said.
Another project Lewis is working on is the voice of a short animation for the Ecoflix Foundation UK, which is an adaptation of the children’s book It’s Up To Us: A Children’s Terra Carta For Nature, People And Planet, originally written by Christopher Lloyd.
Available on the Ecoflix channel, the animation explores the relationship between man, nature and the planet, and features a taste of King Charles.
“Children have a unique curiosity about nature and this planet we call home,” Charles explains in the video.
“Leading by our lifestyle and what we do, (Carmel) is naturally going to pick up on that,” Lewis added.
Lewis looks forward to Carmel teaching him new things – just like she did his parents growing up.
“I feel like I showed my parents more (about the environment). To be honest, I feel like their generation didn’t really have that kind of upbringing, that n was okay,” she said.
“I feel like I’d come home and say things and my parents would be like, ‘Oh, okay.’ will learn something in the future. That’s what we have to do.
“I was lucky that my parents listened to me and supported me when I was like, I want to be a vegetarian. I want to turn off all the lights in the house. They were supportive of that. So I hope Coco comes back at home and that I can support what she has to teach me.