Story and Photo by Vicki Godal
As the screenwriter of “Stepmom” (starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon) and author of the sexy Hollywood novels “Rescue Me” (currently in film development) and the recent bestseller “Maneater,” Gigi Grazer would seem as much a part of the Hollywood crowd as her husband, mega-producer Brian Grazer. (Brian’s resume is a list of Hollywood box office hits both in film and television from “24” to “A Beautiful Mind.”) Her articles appear in popular magazines likePeople where she recently described her trip with her husband to the Academy Awards. However, Grazer is not the typical Hollywood diva. Her self-deprecating article about being a nonmovie star at the star-heavy awards is quintessential Gigi Grazer. She’s tiny, smart, beautiful and funny, with an environmental twist.
Grazer lives on the beach in Malibu with her family, Riley, 18, Sage, 16, from Brian’s first marriage, Thomas, 4, and infant Patrick. At the beach on a cloudy Saturday morning, Thomas, dressed in an action hero outfit, plays near the tide pools. Brian stands nearby checking out the waves. Gigi’s focus in on the ocean’s waves as well, but for a very different reason. Gigi Grazer’s environmental focus is the oceans. As she looks out over the sea, Grazer refers to the future in terms of children.
“If you want your children to be able to have children, to climb trees, to fish and swim in clean water, to breathe without coughing, you become an environmentalist,” Grazer said. “You can close your eyes to the problem (of pollution), but our children won’t be able to.”
An active supporter of the National Resource Defense Council, Grazer, who has served on environmental action committees, routinely writes letters and calls members of Congress and the Senate for the NRDC in order to pass legislation to protect the oceans. In May, Grazer co-hosted an NRDC “eco-salon” with Kelly Chapman Meyer called “Responding to the Crisis in Our Oceans.” Speakers were ocean experts from the PEW Oceans Commission, Fishing Center of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the NRDC.
Near the tide pools, Grazer described some of what she saw happen outside their Malibu home, the catalyst for her most recent environmental activity.
“I saw people urinating here in the tide pools. I saw people pick up and sometimes throw starfish. I saw people put starfish in their bags to take home with them,” Grazer said.
Grazer made some phone calls to get help for the tide pools. She met with Alan Reed, chair of the Malibu Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider, founded in 1984 in Malibu, is a nonprofit organization that works to protect and preserve local coastal waters and beaches. A daily surfer, Reed has worked to protect the Malibu coastal waters since moving here. The two communicated frequently on how to resolve the tidal pool abuse. They came up with the idea of signs indicating the sensitivity and importance of protecting the tide pools.
During a Saturday morning meeting at the Malibu Starbucks, Grazer and Surfrider principals met with California State Parks and Recreation Department’s Hayden Sohm to discuss proposed signage. Signs protecting tide pools to be placed strategically through-out Malibu’s beaches will be officially proposed and pursued by Sohm.
For Grazer, personal responsibility if part of being an environmentalist, but it’s also a reaction to the way environmental issues are presented to the public.
“Open your eyes. Read the paper. Get angry and demand change,” Grazer urged. “Question those who are paid handsome sums of money to push bad science and bad laws. We can have beautiful forests, clean oceans and clean air, and make money.”
Malibu Times Magazine July/August 2004