From Issue 4
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: Can you tell us your Green story — that defining moment that aligned you to a path in sustainability?
Adrian Grenier: In my late teens, I started to look around the world beyond myself. I realized I wanted to create meaning and have a place in the world. I moved to Brooklyn and started seeing a lot more waste. I wanted to do something about it so that is when I started my environmental work really trying to clean up my neighborhood.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: That’s very similar to my story. So what does “only one earth” mean to you and how do you live out this ethos daily?
Adrian Grenier: Well, my perspectives have changed dramatically over time. You begin to have that awareness of a borderless planet because nature knows no boundaries; it is interconnected. The plastic thrown in the ocean here washes up on the shore over there. This means that positive actions can also have a ripple effect environmentally, socially, and conscientiously. We are connected and we have not only a challenge but an opportunity to make the world a better place by making changes personally and locally.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: We need to see ourselves as global citizens in our local spaces. You are the Co-founder of Lonely Whale, can you tell me how and why you wanted to create this organization?
Adrian Grenier: When I founded Lonely whale, there was very little work and awareness about the oceans. The oceans were this abstract, distant entity that was not relatable. Most people don’t experience the ocean on a daily basis. They can understand climate because they experience it every day but oceans were a far greater communication challenge that I wanted to tackle. So that is how it started.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: You’re also a UN Goodwill Ambassador and it’s beautiful to see how you’ve built your life around sustainability. What does it mean to you to give Earth a voice?
Adrian Grenier: If you close your eyes and just spend some time in nature, you start to recognize the unique voices from the different elements all working in harmony. If you are sensitive enough, you can hear the chorus of unique voices. I try to place myself as part of that concert, where my voice is not different but integrated into nature. So I speak from the identity of an emergent being from nature. This informs how I shape my life, lifestyle, and work. Not because I am unique or special, but because I’m part of nature, the whole collective.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: On a personal level, how does being an actor inform your involvement in conservation, and how does your conservation work inform your acting?
Adrian Grenier: Being an actor has been quite contrary to my environmental work. People in the industry don’t necessarily want to know about your stance on the environment. There was a time I tried to make our set more environmentally friendly, and I met a lot of resistance because the changes would have been a financial burden on the limited budget of the production team. I look at acting as a performance that does not always square with the realities. In my environmental work, I have had to get really clear about what is possible and work within those limitations.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: How can we address the intersections between the pressing global issues?
Adrian Grenier: I believe that all of the environmental challenges are aspects of the same dysfunction in our society. They are not different from each other. We really need to find spiritual growth in how we relate to each other, the world, and materialism. We have all been conditioned, having a default training in consumerism, indulgence, and comfort. We want things fast and immediate — a world where everything is super convenient. It is not about what’s happening out in the world. It is about what is happening in the inner world.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: Tackling an issue like plastic pollution can be very overwhelming. How do you stay optimistic through this journey? What practical tips can you offer to young people working to tackle this issue through innovations?
Adrian Grenier: I stay optimistic by remaining curious and recognizing that there is so much that I don’t know and that I want to learn. I think about where I was 20 years ago, and how arrogant I was as a youngster to think I knew it all. There is something quite arrogant about cynicism. It is sort of this absolute dogmatic knowing that things are terrible, stuck in a state of despair, which is self-fulfilling. Now, I remain open and curious about what is possible and what I don’t know. I remain optimistic with an element of faith in knowing that I am part of something bigger — all of nature. Nature knows how to heal itself and if we listen to the nature within us that natural part of ourselves, we know what to do. We know how to heal.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh: What would be your advice to your younger self?
Adrian Grenier: One thing I take very much to heart is the idea that self-care is Earth care. In order to help the environment, you gotta help yourself. If you are operating from the highest state of strength and potential, you are doing a great service to not only nature and humankind but the Earth. So take care of yourself. It’s like on the airplane, put a mask on yourself before you try and help others take care of yourself. You are a vital detail and an important part of the whole. You embodying that change as a healthy, beautiful, and resilient you is a contribution that is invaluable.