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The Ocean A-List: Meet the heroes and heroines of ocean conservation

The Ocean A-List: Meet the heroes and heroines of ocean conservation

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Adrian Grenier

Actor and founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation

Lukas Waterman; Adam Slama

"Sadly, I became connected to the ocean late in life,” says Grenier, who set up the Lonely Whale Foundation in 2015 to develop a community of ocean advocates through education and interactive social media campaigns. “I grew up in New York City but never thought of myself as living near the ocean, even though I was. When I finally learnt to scuba dive, I quickly realised how much I had been missing.” Grenier’s new passion led him to co-produce 52: the Search for the Loneliest Whale, a documentary that chronicles the quest to find the mysterious and solitary 52 hertz whale, a mammal scientists believe calls out at a frequency that no other whale can hear.

Grenier also navigated choppy waters when he was challenged last summer by Richard Branson (pictured above) to swim the Strait of Messina to raise awareness for World Oceans Day. “My training for that race took me to waterways all over the world, from the dead zone off Mississippi, to the second largest shipping port in Singapore. I’ve seen and swum through different levels of environmental degradation of our waterways.” Grenier is mindful of his own personal choices at home, too. “My house has an open door policy to my friends and family, with one exception: no plastic bags allowed! I have also committed to saying no to plastic straws and sharing their detrimental effects on our ocean with the restaurant industry.”

Education is also at the core of the Lonely Whale’s work. “We are particularly proud of our kindergarten to fifth grade marine science-based education initiative. We’ve partnered with the Academy for Global Citizenship on the southwest side of Chicago to build a unique education initiative that is rooted in empathy [co-developed with practising scientists and marine researchers, children learn about seven sea creatures and the polluting challenges they face]," he says. “The biggest threat to our oceans right now is non-action. Our oceans are resilient but only if we take collective steps towards protecting and rebuilding them. We need to protect 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030. Today, we’ve protected just three per cent. We have a long way to go but I’m ready for the challenge and the opportunity to engage a new community of environmental leaders.”


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