Adrian Grenier (of Entourage) and film producer Peter Glatzer first started collaborating on environmental issues in 2008 when they created the show Alter Eco for Discovery's Planet Green channel. In 2009 they launched the multimedia platform SHFT, a site that curates media, shopping, and resources for an eco-conscious audience. The last time Huffington Post caught up with the eco-activists, their SHFT pop-up gallery had just set up shop in Downtown Los Angeles. Since then, they've been tapped by the Green Technology Leadership to create a series of viral videos for the No On Prop. 23 Campaign. We caught up with the dynamic duo via email, where they explained their passion for green, clean technology and California's leading role in the industry.
AA: How did the collaboration with Green Technology Leadership Group and SHFT happen?
PG: I made a PSA this summer, 'Ban The Bag,' in support of AB 1998. It followed a plastic bag through a few California landscapes to the Radiohead song 'Fake Plastic Trees.' One of our founding sponsors, Marvell Semiconductor, put us in touch with Green Technology Leadership Group, who engaged us to produce the creative for this campaign.
AA: SHFT primarily brands itself as a lifestyle site, offering "curated shopping" for eco-conscious people. Are you surprised now to find yourselves immersed in election season politics?
PG: This is an issue that falls squarely under our mission. We create video, and we have a blog in addition to the shopping section These PSAs are on an issue that is right in line with what we do. Environmental policy is something we cover and is not off brand in any way for us.
AG: We're at the forefront of a burgeoning clean energy sector and California can't lose this battle. It's at the heart of our core beliefs at SHFT. We wouldn't get involved in straight up political endorsement, but we want to embrace this future business so it made sense for me and Peter to be the creative team on this.
AA: The last time Huffington Post spoke with you both, Adrian made a distinction between "extremists who do nothing but scare everybody" and SHFT, which is exploring how to "sustainably exploit our surroundings." Does the No on Prop 23 campaign speak to a third category of eco-conscious people--perhaps people who are motivated to use the political system to create positive change?
PG: It's not Extreme vs. Moderate, it's really aimed at educating people about the issue and waking them up to go vote and not let them be manipulated by the Prop 23 propaganda. AB32 - the comprehensive environmental bill that Prop 23 is trying to overturn - is actually a moderate one and it doesn't kick in for another year. It will keep California clean tech businesses here, and it will also create thousands of jobs for Californians. Prop 23 would send those companies and those jobs out of state and to China.
AG: SHFT's involvement in this campaign is simply defending good policy from the dying oil industry that's trying to squash innovation and competitive solutions.
AA: There's a lot of disagreement about whether or not AB32 will create or destroy jobs, even though the clean technology industries employ over a half-million Californians and counting. Why do you think people assume that environmental protections are hazardous to the economy?
AG: That argument is a joke. It's no mystery that two Texas oil companies are funding Prop 23. When Obama talks about green jobs; when Van Jones writes about the green economy, this is what they're talking about.
PG: It's about our future, period. Are oil companies defending their hold on our addiction? Of course they are. They'll do whatever they can to prevent clean tech from growing. That's what Prop 23 is all about.
AA: Meg Whitman has consistently opposed Prop 23 and expressed support for AB32. Still, she suggests a one-year moratorium on AB32's implementation (a safety measure which is written in the bill) because of the jobs issue. Can Whitman have it both ways?
PG: No. The time to act is now. The unemployment argument is a ruse.
AG: Her one year moratorium is an unfortunate political compromise.
AA: The vote is less than three weeks away. How many more videos are you making, and what is the roll-out plan?
AG: We have three completed now and we'll be doing at least three more.
AA: Besides the Green Technology Leadership Group, who are your partners? What are other organizations doing that you admire?
PG: There have been numerous contributors from the clean energy sector, mostly. So many groups are rallying against Prop 23, from NRDC to Environment America, and it's become a national issue.
AA: Why do you feel that defeating Prop 23 is so critical?
AG: It's just such a dirty political bill and it's going to turn us backwards.
PG: The rest of the country is watching what happens here in California--as they generally do on environmental policy. If we fail to uphold AB32, It will be harder for other states to pass environmental bills and it has national implications as to the viability of something similar on the federal level. For us personally, and for SHFT, this is an urgent issue.