Adrian Grenier shares how environmentalism is a spiritual journey.

I had a lovely sit down with Adrian Grenier at the recent Planet Home event in San Francisco. Adrian and I have a shared passion for saving the ocean and his organization The Lonely Whale is focused on saving the oceans in three ways: 

  • Bringing scalable solutions to market that are creating new business models that minimize environmental impact.
  • Empowering youth through education and community activism.
  • Sparking viral global movements that create positive and measurable impact.

Adrian is a UN Global environmental ambassador and actively travels the world educating people on personal action for the environment. 

I asked him about his journey to becoming an environmental leader and ambassador on behalf of the planet. 

Grit Daily: What does it mean to be an environmental activist? 

Adrian Grenier: I’ve always participated and sought out ways to be of service. Having a platform and access to world leaders gives me certain opportunities, but the most important way I contribute is how I do it as a citizen, as an individual. We can all pay lip service on a top-down level, but until every human embraces the change they need to on an individual level, we’re not going to get there. We can legislate change but it’s much better if people choose to get there on their own. People need to choose to evolve collectively.

GD: Is there a cultural mind shift happening right now?

AG: Yes, and events like Planet Home are a great way for people to find each other. It’s so much easier to make change when you find other like-minded people and your friends to do it together. No one should feel like an outlier or awkwardly different because you care.

GD: What do environmentalists need to do push the movement forward?

AG: We as environmentalists need to humble ourselves. Stay the course, chop wood, carry water, do the work, stay heads down and be the change. We can’t let arrogance get in the way of change, we can manifest a new reality. We can be present with one another and connect with our values and how we want to live every day and every moment, for ourselves and for each other. That will create a society and world that we want to live in.

GD: What is the most promising solution you’ve seen to address ocean pollution and plastic?

AG: We all know we should be using reusable water containers, which is great! You can modify and upgrade it by getting a carabiner. It’s a simple technology, you can throw it on your bag, your belt loop and be hands-free, you can carry it with you. It’s the little things you don’t even think about it.

GD: What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your journey to being an environmental activist?

AG: That I feel alive and open and available to learning. If you are so absolute about the way things are, you close yourself off to learning. We need to be in a hyper state of awareness in order to be able to evolve, to be open to learning something new about how we can live differently. If you have this monolithic dogma in your head, you won’t be able to evolve into another paradigm another way of being.

GD: How do we tap into that inner consciousness to push past our personal dogmas?

AG: We are all conditioned in this consumer society to receive and take for our own personal need, which is catered to our egos. We need to get out of our linear thinking, which is to consume, indulge, throw away. If we approach the problem with trying to attack each node of that experience, try to stop the drilling, stop the plastic – it seems transactional to me. We need to create more holistic systems in which we can be regenerative with one another.

Instead of changing something outside, we need to be part of the change within our own communities. And that’s not easy, because that requires us to let go of the conditioning which we’ve been trained to follow our whole lives.  It’s a spiritual question, which requires letting go of our egos and what we believe to be true and leave ourselves open to change.

GD: How has Burning Man impacted your views?

AG: Speaking of conscious communities, Burning Man is such a grand experiment on what’s possible. I don’t know if Burning Man will be our everyday experience in society anytime soon. But to be able to witness what is possible when you have a community of 100K people all agree on being more mindful and present and inclusive, and self-reliant. To see it in action just even for such a short period of time, it an inspire what’s possible inside of you. When you go back to the real world, you can bring back a little of that and apply it in a myriad of ways. So yes, I am a huge fan of that experiment which is Burning Man.

Thank you Planet Home for creating one of the most inspiring events I’ve recently been to. Planet Home is focused on bringing the world’s most important ideas and solutions together. Using the latest in scientific, technological, and environmental change, Planet Home brings together artistic installations and experiences that help shed light on how we can all get involved to take care of our PLANET HOME.