Ever wonder what Adrian Grenier has been up to the past little while? Thanks to a new essay on Refinery 29, we have a pretty good idea. He’s been working as an environmental advocate, educating people about the oceans with his Lonely Whale Foundation, while also quietly evolving into a prose writer. In the piece, titled “Why Adrian Grenier Wants You to Give Up Plastic Straws,” the former Entourage star takes what could have been a dry subject and turns it into something strangely evocative and profound. Let us examine:
We begin by hearing that Adrian Grenier learned to scuba dive when he was 27, which is when he first became a “guest of the ocean.”
In those 48 hours, we learned to become guests of the ocean, to observe and wonder at our underwater environment, not to dominate or master it.
Then, one day, at an intimate dinner party, he was awakened to the blight of plastic straws.
While my character, Vincent Chase, indulged in the extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, offscreen, I’d always preferred more intimate dinner parties surrounded by close friends. Not too long ago, I invited a few people over for a casual evening. Our conversations are usually intellectual, creative, and invariably, devolve into humorous stories … As we discussed how our choices as consumers can lead to horrible stories, someone plucked a plastic straw from their glass, identifying it as a culprit.
And so he started a charity called the Lonely Whale Foundation, which he chronicles in a sentence so layered and impressionistic that it deserves to be optioned into a movie:
Two years ago, my diving and producing partner, Lucy, resurfaced in my life, calling to tell me about this whale, this lonely whale. She told me the story of a solitary creature that has called out to no response for more than 30 years, and asked me to join her in answering it. So I did.
Throughout the piece, he poses deep questions. Like: Where is the trash on Instagram?
Technology has done such an efficient job at letting us hide from one another and hide from our environment. I see it every day on the streets of New York: eyes glued to our phones, stepping over bags of trash on the streets. But where is the trash on Instagram?
He takes impressive risks with his prose, like when he casually posits that, in his experience, mythical sea-women control the tides.
The ocean is often cast as female in stories, with tales of sirens and goddesses controlling the tides. In my personal experience, that narrative has rung true.
How can we make a difference? It begins, like all meaningful social movements, at happy hour:
With your voice, you have the power to start a conversation about plastic pollution at every meal, on every date, and at every happy hour.
The piece closes, naturally, on a mythical yet feminist note:
Use your strong female voice to call out like the sirens you are and refuse straws.