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Adrian Grenier's New Entourage and Lonely Whale Foundation
Actor, filmmaker and social advocate Adrian Grenier is best known for his role as the leading man in the HBO series and movie Entourage. By Grenier's own account, the "show promotes a culture of conspicuous consumerism" with Hollywood's elite purchasing cars, homes and big ticket luxury items in nearly every episode. However, Grenier's new "entourage," his co-presenters at the World Climate Summit and Sustainia Award Ceremony in Paris on Dec. 6, are focused on solutions that create a sustainable future.
Grenier shared the stage Sunday night with world leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs—including Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner and former Mexico President Felipe Calderon—to honor innovators from around the globe. Grenier presented the Sustainia Community Award to Plastic Bank, a company that makes plastic waste a currency to help reduce global poverty while stopping plastic from entering our oceans.
Plastic Bank's mission to clean up the ocean is a cause near and dear to the actor's heart. Just days before Grenier arrived in Paris for COP21, he launched the Lonely Whale Foundation, along with Producer Lucy Sumner and Director Josh Zeman. Inspired by the heartfelt story of a solitary whale, the Lonely Whale Foundation promotes ocean health awareness through conversation and immersive experience.
"I'm here to share my support and stand for strong climate action," Grenier told Spear. "I'm actually quite encouraged by the fact that the world is coming together to unite against our greatest common enemy which is climate change and environmental destruction.
"We just launched the Lonely Whale Foundation two days ago for ocean education and awareness. We are building an education curriculum to use our hero symbolic character the lonely whale as an ambassador, as a 'spokeswhale' for all marine wildlife and protection of marine habitats. I'm here with a virtual reality experience that we built to give you an introduction to the story of the lonely whale, and the plight of whales and what they have to face in the oceans with ocean noise pollution and plastics pollution, and to give an immersive experience for those that don't have an opportunity to connect and bond and create those intimate connections with the ocean.
"We believe that if people could experience the ocean and connect with it, they would be more apt to want to protect it because they would have empathy that they gain from the experience.
"One of our missions is to create the bonds and connections for the majority of us who don't have the opportunity to experience what's happening below the surface of the ocean."
The project first began as a focus on the 52 Hertz Whale, a whale that has spent its entire life in solitude—resulting in the feature film 52: The Search for the Loneliest Whale, produced by entertainment and media company Alldayeveryday and Reckless Production.
According to the Lonely Whale Foundation, it operates on the belief that in order to achieve a healthier ocean and environment for marine wildlife, humans must assume the roles of global citizens and work together as stewards of the planet to make positive change in the fragile and complex bodies of water that make up more than 70 percent of the planet.
“The Lonely Whale is not only a real animal, swimming in the pacific, looking for companionship but a symbol of our lack of ocean awareness, and how that disconnect is affecting these beautiful life forms,” Grenier said. “The mission for this foundation has been years in the making, and we hope the result will be greater understanding of our oceans, as well as mobilize our society to ensure that these creatures do not disappear from our oceans.”
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.