Even over a glitchy Zoom call from suburban Austin, Texas, Adrian Grenier is unmistakable: aqua eyes, strong brows, easygoing disposition. The actor—most recognized for his starring role in the hit HBO series Entourage, as well as his turn in the film The Devil Wears Prada—decamped to the Lone Star State a few years ago, leaving Los Angeles (mostly) in the rearview mirror and stepping up his role as an advocator of environmental issues.
“I found that my previous lifestyle left me feeling disconnected,” says Grenier, farmland and machinery in the background. “I was living the American dream, but I still didn’t feel like I belonged.” (To note, he still acts—mentioning a “few things” on the horizon—but it’s not as front and center in his day-to-day.)
Grenier is a UN Ambassador for the Clean Seas program, a campaign to end marine plastic pollution. He is also the founder of the Lonely Whale foundation, which is dedicated to supporting ocean health and the well-being of marine life. Additionally, he is a cofounder of Earth Speed Media, a think tank and content-production firm that focuses on sustainability, social responsibility and environmental stewardship. At present, he is spending much more time developing the latter with cofounders Bia Carminati, Akira Chan and Ba Minuzzi.
“Earth Speed has been my focus. We’re growing the media side, creating documentary content that’s both short-form and medium-form, along with kind of bite-sized pieces,” says Grenier. “Eventually, we’re going to launch our storefront, which will offer a number of products within the culture and lifestyle of a nature-based ethos.” (At this point, a cacophonous squad of chickens interrupts our call.) “Speak of the devil,” he says with a big smile.
Grenier often puts himself in front of the camera, a place he has proven himself to be comfortable. It seems that much of what he’s doing is also a sort of personal log. He’s a man who’s deeply concerned not only with the way and wellness of the world, but also his role in it. For example, Earth Speed makes a brief video series called “Friends & Mentors.” “Look out for an episode in which we go to visit a wine mentor,” says Grenier. “He’s a multidecade vintner here in Texas making natural wines. He’s teaching me how to make wine the natural way, the low-impact way, with Texas grapes.”
What’s the driving force behind his green pursuit? “I realized I needed to be grounded,” he says. “I needed to see something that made a difference. When I water the plants, it makes a difference. When I feed the animals, they respond. This is opposed to the abstraction of performance.” Meaning: Acting often felt ephemeral. Being closer to and maintaining connection with nature is a much more permanent and fulfilling sensation. Grenier believes people may truly grasp the importance of environmental advocacy if they, too, seek this linkage.
“I choose, in my daily life, to put my hands in the soil and be here in nature finding a more meditative way of living. And that’s really what we’re offering people through Earth Speed. It’s a suggestion to find time and nature within and around you—and just connect with it.” He adds an interesting point, which speaks further to this vitality of the relationship between self and soil.
“People say, ‘Reduce your carbon footprint.’ That’s demeaning. It almost takes away your permission for existence. So I say, instead of reducing your footprint, maximize your handprint. Go out and make something. Go out and do something to make the world a better place.”