Innovation

From 'Entourage' to Dell, actor Adrian Grenier now fights ocean pollution using VR

At SXSW, Adrian Grenier, actor and environmental advocate, spoke to TechRepublic's Teena Maddox about how his Lonely Whale foundation and Dell partnered to fight ocean pollution using tech like VR.

On his long-running HBO series "Entourage," actor Adrian Grenier's self-involved character focused on the industry of his acting, but in real life, Grenier's Lonely Whale foundation has partnered with Dell to stop ocean pollution, using VR and other technologies. He sat down with TechRepublic's Teena Maddox at SXSW and explained.

"When I partnered up with Dell, we were trying to figure out ways to use technology for good, and in particular for the work I'm doing with the oceans," says Grenier, who is also a filmmaker. "And I have an idea to make a VR experience to give people a direct encounter with the ocean and marine wildlife, a glimpse into the challenges animals face in the ocean every day: ocean noise pollutions, and plastic pollution. It is a fun ride, but an important opportunity for people to seize a lot of the damages human activity imposed on the ocean.

At the Lonely Whale foundation, our mission is to bring people closer to the world's ocean. By default, when you start to develop empathy and a connection, you can start to care and make better choices for the planet. So the VR experience is a perfect chance to develop that direct experiential empathy with the ocean, a place that many people don't have the opportunity to visit, because it's so far away, or it's impractical to reach.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

To create that connect, we bring it virtually, and it really has helped our work at the Lonely Whale foundation, because if you can't connect, you can't care.

Dell and I met about three or four years ago. We kept seeing each other at different conferences for environment or social good, and we realized that we should probably work together, because we're going to keep seeing each other, so we might as well join forces and make the world a better place. With Dell coming from the technology standpoint, and having a global footprint, it really gave me an opportunity to expand my reach, and do more for the oceans in a much bigger way. And vice versa. I help Dell achieve their legacy of good goals by 2020, which now includes the oceans, but also includes up-cycling of technologies, computers, and we're actually working on a program, nextwavesplastics.org, where we're bring companies from around the world together to build a global supply chain to make use of plastic pollution that ends up in the ocean."

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The Dell VR for Good panel at SXSW included actor Adrian Grenier.

Image: Teena Maddox/TechRepublic

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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