Adrian Grenier on saving our planet and how Arnold Schwarzenegger is helping him


We all know and love Adrian Grenier as Vinny Chase in HBO's "Entourage", and if you don't, then you must recognize him from his cameo in Britany Spears' "You Drive Me Crazy" music video. While Grenier has laid low on the big screen, it's for a good reason that we all need to pay attention to.

After creating the Lonely Whale in 2015 to inspire people to take action in protecting our ocean environment, Grenier was named the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador in 2017. With World Environment Day falling today on June 5, we spoke to Adrian Grenier exclusively to discuss everything from using his voice to advocate for reducing plastic use, protecting our marine life -- and which celebrity friends are helping him along the way.

AOL: Can you pinpoint a specific memory when it really hit you that you needed to bring awareness and become such a positive voice for the environment?

Adrian Grenier: I was lucky to grow up with a mother who instilled love for our shared environment early on.

Can you share a little bit of what inspired you to start the Lonely Whale?

I was inspired to found Lonely Whale alongside my producing partner Lucy Sumner with the hope that we could create empathy for our ocean, connecting those that never even have the opportunity to see the ocean to find new ways to connect. If you can't connect you can't care, and the oceans have so much need for our attention and our compassion and our empathy.

In your speech at last year’s World Environment Day at the United Nations, you said, “A lot of people know me from the roles that I’ve played on TV and in the movies, but the most important role I play is the role of one single human being - one citizen.” Can you expand a little bit on what you meant by that?

Oftentimes we glorify the power of celebrities and their ability to create change, forgetting that we - individual citizens - have that same power to create change inside each of us. That’s why my role as an engaged global citizen remains the most important role I’ve ever played. I view it as my duty to remind my fellow citizens that they share that power. It’s up to each us to realize our own agency and drive forward the change we need today for a healthy future.

We know you have a long list of celeb friends, are you enlisting the help of any famous friends to get the word out?

Have you been tagged yet?! I’ve teamed up with the UN Environment and a few of my friends to #BeatPlasticPollution in honor of World Environment Day. Celebrities from Aidan Gallagher to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Dia Mirza have joined me and the UN Environment to inspire others to ditch single-use plastics. This challenge has been accepted by over 65 celebrities with a reach well over half a billion. So AOL, I think it's your turn... Tag, you’re it!

Aside from swapping your plastic straws to paper, what’s another simple way for us to #stopsucking when it comes to plastic pollution?

My team and I at Lonely Whale view the plastic straw as the “gateway plastic” into the larger plastic pollution issue. Once you’ve perfected your pledge to #StopSucking, level up and ditch the plastic water bottle. It’s harder but such an impactful commitment. One million plastic water bottles are bought every minute around the world. Let that sink in…then make a commitment to #BeatPlasticPollution.

We know it has been a mission to get the attention of Starbucks to help get them make the switch from plastic to paper straws. Has there been any progress there and what can we do to help?

We need bold corporate leadership today to stem the flow of plastic pollution into our global oceans for #CleanSeas. We don’t have time to wait. As UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim stated last December, our ocean is facing an “ocean armageddon” due to plastic pollution. Action today is critical to address plastic pollution. We need to hold producers of single-use plastics responsible and demand a legally binding global agreement from our global leadership.