Musician, photographer, documentarian, philanthropist and author Julian Lennon is celebrating Earth Day this year with the publication of his third children’s book, Love the Earth, with profits going towards his White Feather Foundation. The organization, dedicated to the conservation of life by supporting the environment and providing clean water, education, and health to indigenous cultures, is named in honor of his late father, the Beatles’ John Lennon — and the younger Lennon tells Yahoo Entertainment that it was like he;d received a message from dad that made him realize he needed to stop “just being a rock ‘n’ roller” and “step up to the plate.”
“Many, many moons ago, I was on tour in Australia, and the [environmentally conscious protest] song ‘Saltwater’ was No. 1 over there in Asia at that time. And I was touring, and I was in Adelaide, and I was in the hotel, and the management of the hotel called me and said, ‘Mr. Lennon, there's an aboriginal tribe down here with 30 to 50 people and a couple of news crews.’ When Julian went downstairs, he encountered members of the indigenous Mirning tribe, and it was a fateful, spiritual moment that changed the course his life and even reconnected him to his dad, who died in 1980.
“The elder of the tribe, who is this lovely woman, walked me in this sort of semi-circle of the tribe and handed me a white feather, a very large white feather, and said, ‘You have a voice. Can you help us?’ And it was a bit of a shocker, because Dad had said to me at one point that if anything should happen to him in his life, that a way in which he would communicate that he's OK, or that we're all going to be OK, would be in the form of a white feather,” Julian recalls. “So, that was a bit of a freaky moment — and undeniable, in my book. Goosebumps, you know, for days.”
At that moment, Julian decided, "I'll do what I can for the children," and he eventually made a documentary about the Mirning tribe, WhaleDreamers, with proceeds going to the tribe. “And that's where the White Feather Foundation started. Initially it was just for that purpose, and one thing led to another. We've done many clean water projects around the world. We deal with health and education. It's an ongoing quest to try and make things better.
“I had no idea when I received the feather that that's what that meant, you know, starting a foundation, changing lives in that particular way.”
As for his ongoing a series of children's books — Touch the Earth, Heal the Earth, and now Love the Earth — Julian says, “I'm trying to educate through storytelling, in a very simplistic way. … I think that the next generation have already shown that they're far more mindful in many respects than the previous generations. I mean, their knowledge today is just astounding. I think the facts and the truth needs to be out there in regards to environmental and humanitarian issues. There's a good fighting chance that we'll still be alive and kicking in a few hundred years, with a bit of luck. We are one with the planet that we live on, and if we do not so good things to that, then we do that to ourselves.”
Julian echoes a bit of his father’s band’s “All You Need Is Love” as he ponders his message for Earth Day 2019: “I think the most important thing to take away this Earth Day is that love is everything. It really is. Love and forgiveness is the only way to positively move forward in life. So, cherish those around you, love them dearly, and love the place you live and the planet you live on.”
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