How Fatherhood Changed Adrian Grenier Forever

Bloomberg Green Festival. July 10-13, 2024. Seattle, WA. Photo: Jason Redmond / Bloomberg (Jason Redmond/Photographer: Jason Redmond/Bloo)

(Bloomberg) -- “When I was younger, I really believed we shouldn’t bring more kids into the world,” actor and activist Adrian Grenier told the audience at the Bloomberg Green Festival in Seattle on Wednesday. “It was a very dark and cynical worldview.” 

Thirteen months ago, that worldview changed when Grenier became the father to a baby boy. Long involved in climate work through his ocean advocacy nonprofit, the Lonely Whale Foundation, Grenier says having a child inspired him to think on a longer time horizon and to focus his efforts on future generations.

“I’m planting seeds for trees whose shade I won’t get to enjoy,” he said. “I’m having a conversation on an infinite timeline.” 

In 2020, the Entourage star left Hollywood and moved to a ranch outside of Austin, Texas. He’s most recently turned his focus toward regenerative agriculture, which involves shifting farming away from harmful environmental practices and towards the restoration of biodiversity and soil health. Grenier says that work, like the Lonely Whale Foundation, takes a somewhat counterintuitive approach to effecting change: being “as small as possible to be effective.” 

“I practice this thing which I’m sort of creating, which I call oscillation — you have to oscillate between the very big, the macro, and the very small,” he said. Regenerative agriculture is one example of a way to solve problems on a hyper-localized level: By taking care of a small plot of land and learning from farmers about the challenges they’re facing, Grenier said he is better able to come up with solutions that meet their needs. 

The “very small” approach can also make the enormity of the climate crisis easier to confront. Grenier said he was inspired to start the tongue-in-cheek #StopSucking social media campaign — which discourages the use of plastic straws — after finding out about the roughly 10 million tons of plastic that enter the ocean each year. The problem can feel overwhelming, so he wanted to break it down into “something actionable and tangible and small.”

The campaign reached over 74 million people across social media platforms and resulted in more than 50,000 pledges to stop using plastic straws, according to the Lonely Whale Foundation.

“This top-down, wagging your finger, soapboxing, telling people how to be, who to be, has served its role,” Grenier said. “We’re going to be far more effective when people recognize they want to take responsibility and that they’re empowered to make changes where they are.”

Watch the full interview and check out more from the Bloomberg Green Festival here:

#BBGGreenFestival Opening Night program begins with Actor, Filmmaker & Environmentalist @adriangrenier, 'Planet A' Director Emelie Coleman Mahdavian, the @re1nitiative @xiyebastida, and more!


(Corrects the spelling of Grenier’s name in the first paragraph.)

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