Global Green Room Interview: Peter Glatzer

Interested in living a more sustainable life, film producer Peter Glatzer started by making better — and greener — consumer choices, and then he set out to help guide others on the same path. He created Planet Green’s “Alter Eco” TV show with actor and activist Adrian Grenier and then the two launched SHFT, a lifestyle website for the environmentally conscious. Below, his answers to our Global Green Room Interview questions.

What would surprise us about your work?

That there’s great pleasure in having a more conscientious approach to the environment. As a consumer, life is more enjoyable and the desire to share with the people you love gets zapped into focus. At SHFT, we look for this in everything. Part of the impetus of founding SHFT was the need to look at the issues through a different lens. To find solutions to climate change in the creative aspects of the human spirit. When consumers see or try a fantastic sustainable design or product — they then have the power to choose it. To buy it. That’s enormous. We’re not at the mercy of the businesses who make things; rather we demand and they respond. We vote with our dollars and can steer business that way. The power of the consumer is a bit of a surprise when you watch it closely and see the impact.

Who is your hero?

Keeping on the market-driven tip, Richard Branson is one. He’s built empires in creative businesses, made brands that have very distinctive narratives, and he’s remained a steward of the environment, among other things. Alice Waters is another; she’s pioneered an approach to food that resonates very strongly for us. There was a need for a shift in the way we look at food in this country, and she filled it quite poetically and with an emphasis on the next generation. They’re both pleasure-seekers, too — which is a common human impulse we embrace.

What has been your greatest success?

To turn people on and engage them through SHFT — whether it’s through the site, an event, our wine. When we can spread enthusiasm for change and have an impact on people through what we’re doing, that’s the most success one can ask for. We have to make shifts in our personal lives, in business, in policy — we have no choice. At SHFT, we’re not out to bang the drum and persuade. We try to do it by emotionally moving people through art, film, design. If we can have an impact on the culture, we’re a success. Easier said than done, but we’ll always strive for that.

What about a failure or challenge?

Too many to name. It’s a rollercoaster. Every day is filled with tremendous ups and downs. We try to learn from all the downs and not get too taken with ourselves when it’s going well. But every upset has a lesson.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

On a local level, better public transportation in LA. On a bigger level, have 500 billion dollars needed to build a smart grid. We could and should be harnessing clean energy in this country and mitigating our dependency on oil. The grid is the only stopping block — that, and big oil interest, which should never be underestimated.