"Small shifts can and will inspire big goals."
Such was the lesson Adrian Grenier instilled in the audience of Cahn Auditorium on Tuesday evening. The filmmaker and actor that many know as Vince from HBO’s Entourage was brought to NU by SEED – Students for Ecological and Environmental Development – as their fall speaker. Grenier is an outspoken environmentalist who is looking to make environmental concerns more appealing to the general public. After a small introduction by the SEED fall speaker co-chairs, Grenier intricately weaved his idea for environmental change.
“I’m an enviromentalish,” the 37-year-old star began, suggesting that while he is no scientific researcher on environmental issues, he does have the passion and the drive to tackle the issues at hand. Grenier was empathetic to the “burden” of the young people who have to find the balance of schoolwork, enjoying youth and saving the world; he recognized that there is a certain amount of pressure on us to save and sustain our environment. However, Grenier stressed one key point: balance. It is important for our generation to find a balance between “neurotic obsession and abject apathy” – we shouldn’t go overboard with our environmental concern, nor should we ignore the issues at hand. Grenier urged the audience to find this balance, make the small shifts necessary to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and encourage those around us to do the same, just as he has done.
Grenier has gone from television stardom to star of his own sustainable movement. Along with film producer Peter Glatzer, Grenier is a co-founder of SHFT.com, a website aimed to “convey a more sustainable approach to the way we live through film, design, art, and food.” This media and commerce site aims to show the pop culture audience that living a sustainable lifestyle is both possible and cool through videos, photography, articles and even merchandise. As people begin to realize that big change starts with their small alterations, Grenier believes that this movement will grow and gain traction within our culture.
As a freshman, I’ll believe mostly anything anyone tells me from behind a podium (keyword: mostly). But hearing what Grenier had to say really resonated with me on a deeper level than the points he was making on environmental change. While I now do believe in the power of the small shift in order to achieve big goals, this can be applied to way more than just sustainability. It is on us as young adults to make the small, positive alterations in our lives and inspire those around us to make similar shifts in order for our world to be changed for the better. Grenier said it himself: “I found the balance; I made the shifts – what about you?”