Actor, UN ambassador, environmentalist. Adrian Grenier is partnering with icebreaker to share in our commitment to make real change. Writer Marie Knowles caught up with him to find out more about his work and how he inspires conscious consumers to reduce their impact on the planet.
So, firstly, tell us why living sustainably is important to you.
For me it's all about engaging more fully with a lifestyle that I find to be more gratifying, more fulfilling. It's not just about doing the right thing, it's about living more attentively and being more conscientious and realizing that we are all connected. It’s about manifesting the world we want to see. That is the most creative and gratifying thing one can do in one’s life.
“It's about manifesting the world we want to see.”
We love the world you’ve created with SHFT, a whole community around sustainability and sustainable products. Can you tell us about that?
We don’t believe that in order to be sustainable, you have to have limitations. We wanted to give people design, beauty, aesthetic, quality, you know - a rich experience. The products that are well considered and built to last and that are built to be desirable for a long period of time are inherently sustainable because you're not going to want to throw them away, you’re going to want to hand them down.
Where does that passion come from and why is your work for the environment important to you?
I'm passionate because… I guess I was loved enough to believe that I matter and I really do have so much love in my heart. For my fellow human beings, for animals, for the Earth. And so I just imagine how the world could be if we just felt more deeply about it. If we had that empathy.
“I imagine how the world could be if we had empathy for it.”
What have you learned about living sustainably?
There’s only so much we can control in the world, but we certainly can control our own actions and behaviors. Hunker down, have yourself a nice tall glass of smoothie and get ready for a lifelong change for the planet. It starts with oneself and one’s health. And then once you're ready to go, once you find that purpose, once you’re inspired, get up and get at it.
How can people find that inspiration?
What do you see around the world that needs to be done and can be done? How can you engage with others so that you can inspire one another, you can hold each other accountable, you can throw ideas off each other? Be careful with lists of ‘to-dos’ - it suggests that somehow there’s an endpoint and that once you do it, you’re done. For me, it's really about changing the way in which you engage more fully with the world.
“Be careful with lists of ‘to-dos’ - it suggests that somehow there’s an endpoint.”
Have you got any specific tips you can share? For example, how to reduce plastic?
If you haven't started going plastic-free, now is a good time to start. If you do nothing else, stop using single-use plastic straws. It’s easy enough. Certainly plastic water bottles… test one and then see if you can go to the next step. Revolutionize your toiletry bag. I travel a lot, so I have my toiletry bag in there. I have a bamboo toothbrush, a glass bottle of floss - the floss is also eco - my deodourant is in a glass jar and I have a glass jar that holds my toothpaste. It looks cooler than having a bunch of plastic.
What about tips for being a conscious consumer?
Consider your relationship to stuff and things. Do I need to keep consuming a bunch more stuff, or can I only target the stuff that I really want, that works within my value system and that reflects the world that I want to see?
How can people start on that journey?
Align yourself with your values and then find those out there that want to support you in what you want to build and want to honor your values and respect that. What I do is I really lean on my friends and I reach out. It provides an opportunity to connect more with my tribe, but also it allows us to share wisdom and share ideas.
Many people don’t know what’s in their clothing. How do you feel about natural vs synthetic fibres and what would you say to people who want to be more aware?
icebreaker has some amazing clothes that actually, they don’t get smelly. They’re natural products that don't retain the stench. I think that's a huge thing there’s a lot of microplastics in the ocean, so really be mindful about what you wash and how you wash it and don’t over-wash. Buy clothes that you don’t have to over-wash, so you can reduce the amount of water waste and the amount of microplastics that end up in our oceans.
“Align yourself with your values and then find those out there that honor and respect that.”
How did you feel when you discovered there was plastic in clothing?
I guess I knew there was plastic. But because you don’t see it, because it’s so small, because they are microplastics, you don't know. And microfibres come off synthetic materials. You just don’t actually imagine that it’s doing that, it's coming off, but it is. And so, I was shocked. Totally shocked. Talking to icebreaker, that was something, of course, I had to ask. It’s like, hey, but what about microfibres? And so I was really happy to know that icebreaker was committed to getting rid of all synthetic materials by 2023.
How do you stay motivated and inspired to make good choices for the planet?
Any individual doesn’t have all the answers, we have to work together, and that’s what gives me hope as well, the fact that I don't know, means that anything is possible… learn to enjoy this work because it's the unknowing that makes it all possible.
We want to encourage people to move towards natural solutions and consider their impact on the planet, and you're a great advocate for that, so we're excited to be working with you. Can you share more about that?
I’m working with icebreaker because of their commitment to making real change, with solid solutions in the immediate term and also in the next couple of years. I only work with companies that I believe are authentic and earnest in their efforts. You know, everybody’s in isolation and I’m glad to know that icebreaker is continuing on their mission and not being daunted by the current situation. Now more than ever we need to kick into high gear and work together to try and help the planet.
How do you connect with nature and when do you feel most connected to it?
The compost is my favorite part of the garden because it's that end of life transformation period where you create earth again and you can use that earth to create new life. I get to see the majesty of life and its orchestra of plants and insects and microorganisms, all at play just to create food that sustains us. That’s how I feel connected to nature.
And finally, what inspires you about nature?
There is nothing that we can’t find in nature that will serve all of our needs. So, whenever possible, buy natural ingredients and natural fibres, and go natural.