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[PROFILE] Danny Seo - Activist, Author, TV Host & Public Speaker

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  • madchinaman
    DANNY SEO S BIOGRAPHY http://www.dannyseo.com/about/bio.html Danny Seo, age 23, is an internationally renowned activist, author and public speaker. Born on
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2002

      Danny Seo, age 23, is an internationally renowned activist, author
      and public speaker. Born on Earth Day, 1977, Seo founded the
      organization Earth 2000 with just $10 and a few friends. Soon, Earth
      2000 blossomed into the nation's largest teenage environmental group,
      spearheading worldwide campaigns for the protection of natural
      resources and animals. In 1997, Seo retired as CEO to focus on his
      life's mission: to show others that they can do extraordinary things
      if they allow themselves to reach their fullest potential.

      In 1997, Seo wrote his first book, the landmark volume Generation
      React: Activism for Beginners (Ballantine) in which he revealed his
      unique approach to altruism while giving insight into his life as a
      teenage CEO. His new book Heaven on Earth:15-Minute Miracles to
      Change the World (Pocket) now has over 100,000 copies in print and is
      a bestseller around the world. Sharing his surefire strategies for
      creating "mini-miracles" daily by offering concrete examples, Seo
      motivates aspiring givers of every age to recognize and maximize
      their own unique capacity for making a difference.

      A highly sought after speaker on volunteerism, personal empowerment,
      and the environment, Seo has won numerous awards and accolades. He
      received the 1998 Oprah's Angel Network Award after fund-raising
      $30,000 in less than 30 days for an "Oprah" Habitat for Humanity
      home. He is also recipient of the prestigious Albert Schweitzer
      Reverence for Life Award, as well as Korea's World Leader of Tomorrow
      Award from the Samsung Corporation. Profiled in many prominent
      publications, including Newsweek, Fast Company and The Washington
      Post, Seo was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the
      World" by People and "one of the most powerful twenty-somethings in
      America," by Swing. He is also a frequent guest on television talk
      shows, appearing on CNN, The View, Donny and Marie, Leeza and The
      Oprah Winfrey Show.

      Currently, Danny is developing a lifestyle television series that
      showcases his signature style with a unique marriage of altruism. The
      series will "celebrate the very best the human spirit has to offer"
      and share lifestyle tips on cooking, gardening, travel, entertaining,
      home improvement, fashion and volunteerism. A companion book series,
      named Conscious Style, will debut Earth Day 2001. Seo is the founder
      of his interactive website, http://www.dannyseo.com, which serves
      both his charitable and commercial ventures.

      Danny is also the official spokesperson for Netian, Korea's largest
      Internet service provider. Starring in a series of television and
      print advertisements, the tagline in the campaign reads, "Danny Seo
      and Netian: Changing the World Together." More can be learned at his
      official Korean homepage at dannyseo.netian.com.

      The son of Korean immigrants, Seo was raised in Berks County,
      Pennsylvania. He now lives in New York City, NY.


      Danny Seo's 15-minute miracles to change the world

      In his book, Heaven on Earth, 15-minute miracles to change the world,
      Danny Seo lists 100 good ideas that anyone can do to make the world
      just a little bit nicer, better and safer. Unfortunately, Danny's
      book is all USA-based. if you know of any NZ organisations that
      could make use of these tips, let them (and me) know! Here's a

      Chapter 1
      1. Send used greeting cards to St Jude' Ranch for Children, where
      they are recycled by and sold for the benefit of needy kids. 100 St
      Jude's St, Boulder City, Nevada, 89005.

      2. Help a teenager at a youth centre write his or her first resume,
      and print out good quality copies for him/her.

      3. If your company flies you first or business class, volunteer to
      down-grade and donate the savings to charity.

      4. Recycle your old fur coat into a teddy bear through McCrory
      Bears. The profit goes to support medical recearch. PO Box 305,
      Rockport, Massachusetts, 01966.

      5. Add a stamp to the pre-paid envelope when you donate to charity -
      it saves the charitable organisation the cost of postage and handling.

      6. When you read in the newspaper about an inspiring community
      service event, clip it out and send it to a company you business
      with, suggesting they support it.

      7. Donate free tickets or seats from your season passes to a local
      school - they can give them to an interested student who wouldn't be
      able to go, or raffle them off.

      8. Nominate an extraordinary person for a community service award.

      9. Donate old books to a library or school so that others can enjoy
      reading it too.

      10. Collect your spare change for a whole month. At the end of the
      month, bank it into your account and send a cheque to the same amount
      to a worthy charity.


      Life as an 'eco-stylist'
      Danny Seo is riding the latest celebrity fad as a lifestyle
      consultant to the stars. Recycled cashmere, anyone?

      By Gina Piccalo, Times Staff Writer

      Danny Seo, the 25-year-old Martha Stewart of the organic set, speaks
      softly, but in that rapid-fire tongue so characteristically New York.
      He rattles off the eco-friendly elements of his ensemble, which he
      has worn to an important eco-friendly gala in Los Angeles populated
      by newly eco-friendly celebrities. "This," he says, pointing to his
      delicate wrist, "is a solar-powered watch. I'm wearing vegetarian
      shoes from England -- Paul McCartney loves these." His tie, he says,
      was picked from a clothing designer's trash bin. But the outfit is
      just the beginning: "It's all about eco lifestyling."

      Seo, the erstwhile teenage environmental activist who won a place in
      Oprah Winfrey's heart after writing several books on organic and
      altruistic living (including one with Deepak Chopra), is leaving the
      East Coast, repositioning himself as an "environmental lifestyle
      consultant" and moving to Los Angeles. Here, he's working every
      angle, pitching himself as TV-show host, starlet fashion stylist and
      celebrity companion. Where better to establish oneself as the last
      word in the latest fad?

      "A lot of trends start at the upper-income levels," says Seo. "What I
      don't want to do is start mainstream and work my way up. It goes the
      other way around."

      Although ripe for ridicule, Seo's new job title is sure to give pause
      to a certain group of Angelenos, those animal lovers who refuse to
      eat "anything with a face" but live in that black leather coat, or
      those who drive gas-guzzling SUVs while nobly purchasing
      biodegradable detergents. Seo believes he can dissolve that guilt and
      confusion. "I find resources," he says.

      This slight-framed, bespectacled young man with the fresh face of an
      adolescent will realign your complicated world, from fashion (non-
      animal leather and recycled cashmere) to home design (freshwater
      swimming pools and recycled hardwood floors) to altruism,
      entertaining, kids, cooking and (pesticide-free) gardening -- all in
      an ecologically conscious way. Of course, this kind of expertise
      isn't cheap. Seo's styling fee starts at $2,000.

      At the Environmental Media Awards on Nov. 20 -- an event that honored
      actress Blythe Danner for recycling, living in a solar-powered home
      and driving an electric SUV, among other things -- Seo works the room
      of activists, organic chefs and actresses.

      Sometime-actress Anna Getty (stepdaughter to J. Paul III) wears one
      of Seo's hand-picked pieces, a recycled black cowl-neck dress shot
      with fine silver Lurex stripes. Her dark hair is slicked back in a
      tight ponytail, revealing a tan and flawless face. Peripherally, she
      resembles one of Andy Warhol's wealthy satellites, circa Studio 54.

      In the last two years, Getty and her friend actress Amy Smart have
      started recycling and using biodegradable detergents. Smart has a
      freshwater pool. They eat "mostly vegetarian and do yoga," Getty
      says. "There's a whole way of life."

      Seo's approach is important, Getty believes, because "if we don't
      start taking care of the world, we're going to be in trouble."
      Besides, she adds, fashion needs a fresh look. She pulls at the
      delicate fabric of her dress. "My friends looked at this and
      said, 'Oh my God! That's so "Dynasty"!' And I'm like, 'That's the
      point!' "

      Seo became image-savvy during adolescence. Born on Earth Day 1977, by
      age 17 he was a media darling, featured in Newsweek for his youth
      activism group Earth 2000, a national network that spearheaded
      worldwide-environmental awareness campaigns. At age 19, he
      wrote "Generation React: Activism for Beginners" (Ballantine Books,
      1997), an autobiographical take on his approach to altruism that
      landed him on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." At age 21, People magazine
      named Seo one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."

      During time off from a day job writing for Vegetarian Times, Seo
      wrote two additional books, including "Be the Difference" (New
      Society Pub, 2001) with would-be business partner Deepak Chopra.
      (Their plans for a "personal growth" Web site crumbled with the dot-
      com downfall.)


      Renovated parents' home

      But the real catalyst for his West Coast debut was his renovation of
      the Reading, Pa., home of his anesthesiologist father and stay-at-
      home mother, using organic and recycled materials. Based on that
      experience, he wrote "Conscious Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living for
      the 21st Century" (St. Martin's, 2001). The book made the rounds in
      Hollywood when Kevin Spacey's publicist sent it to all her clients
      for Christmas.

      Today, Seo earns $15,000 per appearance on the lecture circuit. He
      also appears in South Korean TV ads as an official spokesman for
      Samsung, a deal he justifies with: "It allowed me to make a sizable
      donation to a campaign in South Korea to ban dog meat."

      Now, Seo is carefully planning his transformation from activist
      author to eco-stylist to the stars. He's interviewing talent agencies
      here, and seriously considering signing with Cloutier, which reps
      celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch. He's also in negotiations with
      Hearst Entertainment, which is part owner of the A&E and Lifetime
      Television cable channels. When the ink dries, he'll develop
      a " 'Mister Rogers' for grown-ups" that targets the active and under-
      30 demographic. His ideal audience, he says, spends Friday nights out
      and Saturday mornings on its couches, watching Seo's friendly face,
      chatting brightly about a "Tajmopolitan," a cocktail made with spices
      and vodka distilled from organic potatoes. Or perhaps he'll offer a
      lesson on how to transform an empty Altoids tin into "an aromatherapy
      energy candle perfect for traveling."

      To ensure that he meets the right types of people, Seo has spent a
      third of the last year living in the W Hotel in Westwood, courting
      publicists, dressing celebrities for public appearances and calling
      up old friends like Amy Smart and Santa Monica local Tracey Ullman.
      He's also on the lookout for celebrities to profile in Organic Style.
      The year-old New York magazine hired him recently as an editor at
      large to "add glitz" to its pages, he says. One such feature details
      model Shalom Harlow's use of loose pebbles on her bathroom floor "as
      an homage to reflexology," Seo says.

      "He really exemplifies the new definition of organic," Editor in
      Chief Peggy Northrop says, "that it's about being seductive and
      incorporating organics into your life in a stylish way .... He lives
      that life."

      Seo started styling clients last year when the magazine's founder,
      Maria Rodale, asked him to find an environmentally aware celebrity
      for the September 2001 debut issue. He called friend Debbie Levin,
      executive director of the Environmental Media Assn., who referred him
      to Smart. Two months later, Smart asked him to dress her for the
      association's gala in Los Angeles.

      "At first, I thought it was a joke.... It's glorified shopping," Seo
      says. "All I do is say, 'Try this on. It looks great!' "

      Smart introduced him to her friend actress Ali Larter. During
      Thanksgiving week, Seo was busy searching Manhattan for "nonconflict"
      diamonds -- stones that have not been mined to fund wars -- to drape
      on her for a party.

      Other celebrities came to know Seo through their managers, publicists
      or chance encounters at charity events. Eventually, he was dressing
      and consulting with actress Rashida Jones (daughter of Quincy), as
      well as Alicia Silverstone and the Backstreet Boys' Kevin Richardson.
      At a recent Chicago charity dinner hosted by Richardson, Seo
      persuaded the performer to serve all-organic wine and "make an issue
      out of it."

      Here in L.A., Seo has been reconsidering the ubiquitous gift
      bag. "It's counterproductive," he says. A charity event is "all about
      selflessness, and people are complaining about not getting a bag." He
      hopes someday to encourage a few celebrity friends to "save
      everything they get for free for a year, and then I want to do a
      Hollywood yard sale," he says. "I've just been thinking about this
      for a week."


      'Very cool'

      Back at the Environmental Media Assn. awards, indie filmmaker Asher
      Levin walks in with a small entourage of willowy young women. The
      bushy-haired blond carries himself with the immodesty of a 22-year-
      old singer in a rock band -- which he is, for Whitestarr.

      "Look!" says Seo, "he's wearing one of my jackets!"

      "Does it look OK?" asks Levin, touching the deconstructed piece.

      "Very cool," nods Seo, looking it over. "Very cool."

      Levin, whose mother is the environmental group's executive director,
      seems relieved. Later, he explains his affinity for Seo's
      taste: "It's really cool."

      And for the lifestyle guru of the moment, maybe that's enough.


      Danny Seo's Tips for Fund-Raising

      Fundraising for your local grassroots group doesn't have to mean
      spending hours baking cookies or washing cars. I raised more than
      $30,000 for a Baltimore house for Habitat for Humanity using these
      five fundraising techniques.

      1. Big-name retailers like Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, Wild Oats
      Community Markets and Starbucks Coffee host special days when 5% of
      their total sales are given to a local organization. Ask a local
      store for details.

      2. Take old clothing from friends, family, and volunteers to a
      consignment store that will sell your old clothing to customers and
      split the profits with your group.

      3. Most shopping malls donate the pennies left in water fountains to
      community service groups. Just contact the mall manager and
      request "fountain coins." Bag them in cloth coin sacks, available at
      any bank, and have the bank ship them to the Mutilated Coin Division
      of the U.S. Mint. You'll get a check for the amount of the coins!

      4. Corporations, associations, and government agencies often award
      mini-grants to local organizations. Read the local newspaper for

      5. Local organizations headed by people under 30 can apply for a Do
      Something grant, around $500, for a community-building project. Be
      sure to ask about the Brick Award, a competition with $250,000 in
      prize money. Write: Do Something, 423 W. 55th St., 8th Fl., New York,
      NY 10019; or call 212-523-1175. Danny Seo, a PETA member <div


      Danny Seo: Eco-Entrepreneur
      By Kamilah Duggins

      Danny Seo had felt this sense of impending doom before - this feeling
      that something was terribly wrong with the world. He had been taking
      notes on the latest disasters that seemed to be popping up
      everywhere, from his hometown of Reading, PA to the redwood forests
      of California. Between hurricanes on the East coast, earthquakes on
      the West coast, Danny was sure the end was near. And he was only 12
      years old.

      What he saw on television later that night reaffirmed that uneasy
      feeling. Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA (People for the
      Ethical Treatment of Animals), was sharing horror stories from a
      poultry processing plant, and detailing the inhumane and unsanitary
      process of slaughtering chickens.

      Within minutes, his brain stitched a connection between his chicken
      salad sandwich and the fact that it's trip home from the grocery
      store paled in comparison to its journey to the grocery store. As
      quickly as he had inhaled the sandwich, he threw it back up. You
      could say that was Danny's first outward protest against animal
      cruelty. But it certainly wouldn't be his most noteworthy.

      Like many 'treps, Danny had found a cause. But instead of being out
      to make a buck, he was out to buck the system and save the planet.
      That decision led Danny to start his own nonprofit organization and
      put him on a track toward a life as an eco-crusader.

      Taking a Stand for Mother Earth
      The day after his unfortunate chicken salad experience was Danny's
      birthday, which coincidentally falls on Earth Day. Awareness had kind
      of punched him in the stomach when he wasn't ready, but Danny rounded
      up his friends and proposed a plan to save the world. He'd take their
      commitment to his revolutionary cause instead of birthday gifts. His
      goal was to save the planet by the year 2000, so he named the
      organization Earth 2000.

      Over the next six years, Earth 2000 quickly grew from a neighborhood
      group of six friends to a phenomenal national force of more than
      20,000 teens. "I never saw it coming," Danny says. "It seemed natural
      that I would have members all over the country."

      Danny has staged protests, planned boycotts, lobbied legislators,
      convinced such major retailers as Lerner New York to stop using fur,
      and helped to save the whales in Denmark. While doing all that, he
      has become an excellent organizer who has been able to get 20,000
      people moving in the same direction at the same time.

      "I think I realized we were gaining influence when Eddie Bauer agreed
      to stop using fur in their clothing line," Danny remembers. "It only
      took a week of our campaigning to get them to change, which is really

      As he approached adulthood, though, Danny realized he needed to take
      on new responsibilities. So this successful eco-radical made his
      wildest move yet.

      Stepping into the Future
      After high school, Danny felt he had done as much as he could as
      president of Earth 2000. He stepped down in 1995 and went in search
      of a grown-up life. "When I was 18, I didn't want to be labeled a
      young activist anymore. I was happy with what we accomplished. I
      think we accomplished a lot for a youth group."

      But without its founder and leader, the organization fell
      apart. "They were unable to find someone to fill my shoes," he
      explains. Although Danny was disappointed, he had no regrets. "I
      needed to grow up and have a career for myself. So I started a
      business that would marry my concern for the planet with commerce."

      Basically, Danny needed some cash flow, and everything he had done
      with Earth 2000 had prepared him for this moment. "I gained a lot of
      skills working with Earth 2000 that I hadn't learned in school. I
      learned the value of making contacts and the magic of public

      From One Green to Another
      So instead of going out and getting a job, he did what any 'trep
      would do - he started his own business. How'd he do it? Easy. He took
      something he really cared about, figured out how to market it as a
      product, and made it profitable.

      His first project was to convince editors at Ballantine Books that
      his experience building Earth 2000 could easily turn into
      an "activism for beginners" book. He got a $33,000 advance to write
      Generation React - a sweet deal for Danny since it generated income
      and educated the public on issues that were important to him. Later,
      he wrote a second book titled Heaven on Earth and gave the proceeds
      to Habitat for Humanity.

      These days, you won't find Danny rallying around a picket line or
      lobbying a legislator - he's doing that in his hard-earned leisure
      time. Instead, he's attempting to build a fulfilled, yet
      conscientious society through his company Danny Seo Media Ventures.

      The Conscious Entrepreneur
      Danny is designing a "conscious" line of clothing with fashion mogul
      Todd Oldham, and he's close to sealing a deal for his own
      infotainment show (like Martha Stewart, but with a green focus). He's
      also preparing the launch of Danny Seo Home, a line of hundreds of
      eco-friendly products from glass cleaner to bedding.

      In his proposal for these ideas, Danny wrote, "Green products
      (excluding food) have exceeded $100 billion in sales each year since
      1996. Yet despite this staggering statistic, there is no clear
      authoritative expert in the eco-friendly, cruelty-free lifestyle
      field." Danny intends to launch numerous products serving this
      market, including clothing, household items, books, television shows -
      anything that will deliver the message.

      "I realized there was a need when I couldn't find clothes, bedding,
      etc. that was cool-looking and green. So I put on another hat and
      became a style expert," Danny says.

      Touring the World
      This spring, he'll be on a book tour in South Korea promoting the
      release of his third work, Be The Difference: Strategies to Change
      the World. "Everyone likes to talk about what's wrong with the world,
      but no one says how we can fix it," says Danny. To help people
      understand that anyone can start something good to counter the bad,
      he gives about 100 talks per year and does lots of TV interviews. "My
      goal is to take the message out there and reach the largest number of
      people I can."

      He's already achieved some personal highlights such as making People
      magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list in 1998, being featured on
      Oprah's Angel Network, and meeting her challenge to raise $30,000 in
      30 days to build an eco-savvy home for Habitat for Humanity.

      Passion for the Cause
      Danny's daily routine as a New Yorker sounds more like one of a
      corporate executive than an earth-friendly 'trep. "I wake up at 7
      a.m. - earlier if I want to work out with a trainer. I spend a lot of
      time on the phone and in meetings," he explains.

      As much as Danny loves his new life, preserving Mother Nature and
      humanity will always be his first priority. It's what keeps him
      pounding the pavement in vegetarian shoes and sleeping at night under
      a comforter of synthetic down.

      "If I can show people how simple it is to just give a minute of their
      lives, that would fuel them to take it to the next level," Danny
      says. "People who are going to be involved should generally have
      passion and desire in their hearts for whatever they 're working
      toward," Danny advises. "Just start somewhere."

      Rules for Living
      Everyone - even the most famous 'trep - faces adversity sooner or
      later. When eco-crusader Danny Seo senses troubled waters, he follows
      these three rules:

      "Believe in yourself no matter what," Danny says. "You really have to
      be your biggest supporter. No one is going to believe in or work
      harder for your organization than you.

      "If you have the tiniest ounce of doubt about it, don't do it. If I
      feel like I'm doing something that's not right, I'll leave right
      away," he explains.

      "Never have a back up plan," Danny advises. "Believe in what you're
      doing so much that you know you'll succeed."


      Danny Seo, twenty, is the founder of Earth 2000 National, Inc., a
      national organization he started with just $10 at age twelve. Under
      his leadership, Earth 2000 waged ground-breaking campaigns proving
      young people had the power and will to bring significant, positive
      advances to the environmental and animal rights movements. From
      coordinating successful corporate boycott campaigns to launching
      award-winning educational initiatives, Danny earned the
      title "America's Most Influential Teen" in 1996 from a leading public
      relations trade publication.
      Danny has appeared in over five hundred media outlets including
      Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Family Circle, and The National
      Enquirer, who dubbed him "out to save more animals than Noah." He is
      the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including honors from
      the Albert Schweitzer Institute for the Humanities and Who Cares
      magazine's 1995 "Young Visionary of the Year."

      A 1995 graduate of Governor Mifflin High School, Danny frequently
      travels the United States speaking at national conferences and
      colleges, and serves as a youth issues, public relations, and fund-
      raising consultant to political and advocacy organizations. Currently
      he is serving as Director of Public Relations for Save America's
      Forest and is busy lobbying members of Congress to support the Forest
      Protection Bill.

      He lives in Washington, DC. Generation React is his first book.


      Danny Makes a Difference

      The day you were born might play an important part in your future. At
      least, for Danny Seo it might have. He was born on April 22, 1977.
      What's the big deal, right? Danny was born on International Earth
      Day, which is fitting for the founder of Earth 2000. Earth 2000 is
      the nation's largest teen environmental group.
      Danny was 12 years old when he started Earth 2000 with a few friends
      and only $10. His first battle started in Pennsylvania (also his home
      state) to save 66 acres of forest and wetlands. Even though he lost,
      Danny didn't let it slow him down. He organized a large anti-whaling
      demonstration, worked on banning the capture of wild

      animals for classroom displays, lobbied for two major animal rights
      initiatives in Pennsylvania, led an anti-fur campaign against two
      large clothing companies and promoted vegetarianism for Gen Xers.

      "I had my first picture in Newsweek when I was 17," Danny said during
      an interview for a story on teen vegetarians. "After I saw it, I
      changed my clothes, joined a gym and got a haircut." Not that Danny's
      obsessed with his looks. He barely has time to eat, he's so busy. His
      first book, Generation React: Activism for Beginners, was written
      in '97. His second book, Heaven on Earth: 15-Minute Miracles to
      Change the World, is a bestseller around the world. The book
      motivates people of all ages to do as the title suggests and change
      the world, by recognizing

      and using their own uniqueness to its full potential.

      Danny is only 24 years old and he's already a popular speaker on
      volunteerism, personal empowerment and the environment. He's received
      so much recognition over the last couple years that you might want to
      keep anything with his signature. In '98 he was given Oprah's Angel
      Network Award after fundraising $30,000 in less than 30 days for a
      Habitat for Humanity home. He also won the Albert Schweitzer
      Reverence for Life Award and Korea's World Leader of Tomorrow Award.
      Danny is obviously no stranger to the spotlight. People have read
      about him in Newsweek, Fast Company, The Washington Post, People (as
      one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World) and Swing, as "one
      of the most powerful twenty-somethings in America."

      Right now, Danny is working on a TV series about the best the human
      spirit has to offer. There'll be tips on cooking, gardening, travel,
      entertaining, fashion and volunteering. He currently lives in New
      York, where he spends all his time showing others that they can make
      a difference.


      Seo Green
      Author, designer and soon-to-be television host Danny Seo reinvents
      environmentalism for a new generation.

      By Greg Zinman

      It's not easy being green. Unlike many of his environmentalist peers,
      however, 25-year-old author, designer and soon-to-be television host
      Danny Seo manages to do it with flair.

      Born, believe it or not, on Earth Day, Seo founded a group called
      Earth 2000 at the tender age of 12. By the time he retired as CEO in
      1997, it had become the largest environmental group for teens in the
      world, with over 20,000 members. But as he got older, Seo discovered
      that he was becoming less strident in his political views and
      increasingly interested in the world of fashion and interior design.
      After writing two books on how eco-activism could be seamlessly
      integrated into a daily routine, he decided to marry his social and
      artistic passions into a philosophy for living well while thinking

      "Design was something I had always enjoyed doing, but I didn't want
      to become a lifestyle expert, because I've always felt that there was
      something creepy about that," Seo says with a laugh. "But I wanted to
      stay true to my beliefs and pursue activism. Then what occurred to me
      was, if people can change their everyday lives, in what they wear and
      eat, that has a far greater impact on environmental sustainability
      than me standing on a soapbox and protesting about something." The
      result was last fall's Conscious Style Home (St. Martin's), the story
      of Seo's chic soup-to-nuts renovation of his parents' Reading,
      Pennsylvania, home. Seo made "green" equal "groovy" by utilizing
      environmentally friendly materials, like bamboo blinds, recycled
      paint, heart maple procured from responsible logging companies,
      comforters stuffed with surprisingly soft EcoSpun (made from recycled
      bottles), canvas and hemp slipcovers, glass tiles and organic cotton

      To his mock-horror and readily apparent delight, Conscious Style Home
      indelibly stamped Seo as a bona-fide lifestyle expert, an image
      further bolstered by his recent work as brand manager of the fashion
      label Imitation of Christ. Created by actresses/designers Tara
      Subkoff and Chloë Sevigny, IOC takes Salvation Army castoffs and
      reconstructs them as downtown duds, an idea Seo found easy to get
      behind. For their recent New York fashion week show, IOC embraced
      their ethos of the reusable while thumbing their collective nose at
      couture convention. Cheekily touting the display as a "retrospective"
      (IOC has only existed for two years), the show featured hotpants-clad
      models pushing around vacuum cleaners made by James Dyson—a design
      maverick who Seo claims as a major inspiration—while videos of
      previous IOC shows played on the walls. "I had wanted to get involved
      with fashion for a while," says the still-young Seo, "but every
      fashion brand that was 'eco' in focus is so crunchy, and everything's
      so baggy and unstructured. For me, fashion has to come from a design
      viewpoint, and then you can incorporate your social and political
      views into the line."

      Seo is practicing what he preaches, silkscreening and embroidering
      old military neckties, which have been worn by the Backstreet Boys,
      among others, and are in increasing demand with his other celebrity
      friends. In the coming year, Seo will be rolling out a line of
      environmentally friendly products for the home, including hand-cast
      recycled glasses, bowls and plates, as well as tabletop grills made
      of recycled aluminum. "No one likes to be told what to do," he
      explains. "But if you can make a project very sensual and
      inspirational and aspirational while still making a social point,
      then you sort of leave it up to the person to pick it up on their
      own. And at the same time, if they buy it, you're planting those
      seeds for change."

      As if that wasn't enough to keep the mini-mogul busy, Seo will soon
      be shooting a pilot for Danny Seo Reinvents, a lifestyle show to be
      filmed at his apartment in New York City. The titular host will
      present food, fashion, gardening and entertaining, "with a campy,
      casual approach," says Seo. "It'll have cause-related elements, and
      we'll have tips on being resourceful—I call it 'finding your inner
      McGyver,'" he adds, referring to the action hero known for making
      bombs out of whatever ingredients are on hand. Think a hipper,
      effusive and more ethical Martha Stewart, and you've got the right
      idea about Seo's show. It's about being fun without being frivolous,
      being responsible without being a drag. Coming from Danny Seo, being
      green sounds just great.

      Copyright 2002 Ralph Lauren Media, LLC


      Danny Seo

      Maybe it was in the stars that Danny Seo would become a leader in the
      environmental movement. Seo was born in 1977 on International Earth
      Day. At the ripe old age of 12, he launched the student advocacy
      group, Earth 2000.

      Originally founded to save 66 acres of forest and wetlands, Earth
      2000 is now the largest student group for animal rights in the
      country. Although that first battle in his home state of Pennsylvania
      was lost, Seo was encouraged rather than disheartened by the battle.
      Youth involvement, Seo says, "changes the generation." And while
      national activist groups are sometimes condescending to their young
      members, Seo and Earth 2000 intend to empower kids and to gain more
      respect for youth.

      Seo is a young man in constant forward motion. Since 1989, he has
      organized a large anti-whaling demonstration in Washington, D.C.,
      provided vegetarian meals to people with AIDS, worked to pass a
      resolution to ban the capture of wild animals for classroom displays,
      lobbied for the passage of two major animal rights initiatives in his
      home state, headed an anti-fur campaign against two major clothing
      companies, and promoted vegetarianism for Generation X'ers. His most
      recent project is focusing Earth 2000 on utilizing kids' economic
      power to influence political and environmental decisions. The group
      has already persuaded four thousand retailers to sign a "Statement of
      Insurance" not to sell fur products.

      While Seo has gained recognition and received awards, such as the
      Albert Schweitzer Humanities Institute Award, for his work, he finds
      the work itself and the opportunity to get others involved the
      ultimate reward. To advance the causes of Earth 2000, Seo does a lot
      of traveling and as many speaking engagements as possible. He invests
      not only his time, but his own college-fund money in his projects.
      He's been described as a one-person army-a publicist, a speaker, and
      a fundraiser.

      Kids are not usually educated or prepared for political and social
      activism; Seo believes that participation in the real world is
      essential. "What we lack in classrooms," he concludes, "is giving
      students the freedom to learn in their own interpretative way." Seo
      felt he learned more about civics and government in one day of
      lobbying than a month in class. Now he's putting everything he's
      learned into a guide book for young people that will be published in

      Though his schedule is demanding, Seo is ever ready to take on more.
      Other kids ask him all the time how he does it, and he simply tells
      them his own story. The message, he says, is clear: "If I can do it
      as an average kid, so can you...."


      Danny Seo is the founder and former CEO of Earth 2000 National. He
      has twice appeared on Oprah, and is a recipient of Oprah's Angel
      Network Award; he has also been on Leeza, The View, and CNN and
      featured in People Magazine, among many others. Named by Swing
      magazine as "most powerful twentysomething in America," his other
      titles include Generation React, and Heaven on Earth, and — soon to
      be published — Conscious Style Home (St. Martin's Press). He lives in
      New York City.


      John Lucas interviews author/activist Danny Seo

      For his twelfth birthday, Danny Seo didn't want the latest
      Nintendo game or a new Swatch. In fact, he told his friends not to
      give him presents at all. What he wanted was for them to become the
      founding members of Earth 2000, the grassroots environmental
      organization he had conceived only the night before. His goal: to
      save the world before the end of the millenium. It sounds like an
      idealistic, childish fantasy, but Seo proved to be a precociously
      dedicated leader. With his unswerving belief that a difference can be
      made, and his enviable tenacity, Seo has made an impact, not only on
      the lawmakers of his home state of Pennsylvania, but on the 20,000-
      odd young people who have joined Earth 2000 since its inception
      nearly eight years ago.

      Now 19, Seo has just written his first book, Generation React
      (Ballantine Books, 1997), which is meant as a sort of primer for
      activists. In it, he tells hopeful world-changers how to do
      everything from starting and leading activist groups to launching
      boycotts, dealing with the media, organizing protests and lobbying
      the government. He also gives samples of documents essential to every
      activist's arsenal, such as press releases and petitions. In short,
      it's a textbook for anyone with a cause.

      Seo's own dedication to the animal-rights cause was confirmed on
      the night before that fabled twelfth birthday, when he stayed up late
      to watch Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of People for the Ethical
      Treatment of Animals, who was being lambasted on the Morton Downey Jr
      show. "I don't know if I necessarily understood the topic, or
      understood the problem," Seo said during a recent interview, "but I
      just felt awful for this British woman who was being belittled by the
      host and the audience and I think, just out of pure sympathy, I
      supported her efforts." When Newkirk described, in graphic detail,
      the suffering experienced by factory-farmed livestock, Seo rushed to
      the bathroom and involuntarily deposited the chicken salad sandwich
      he had just eaten into the toilet. An activist was born.

      From these humble beginnings, Earth 2000 blossomed into a
      nationwide network of young crusaders, a network that has achieved
      some concrete results. And it's all been done independently, with
      savvy fund-raising methods that don't compromise the group's
      goals. "We turned down a ton of grants from corporations, because we
      thought it would interfere with some of our corporate boycott
      campaigns," Seo said.

      One of the organization's most succesful such campaigns was
      launched against retailers selling fur. "It wasn't enough for groups
      of individuals to protest and scream and yell, and pose naked on
      billboards and things," Seo said. "We felt it wasn't achieving
      anything. But what we looked at was at our couple of tens of
      thousadns of young members. What was the one powerful thing teenagers
      possessed? It was our consumer power. And we thought that this was an
      ideal way to target retail corporations—big ones that cater to the
      youth market—by using our consumer power to get them to stop using
      fur trim."

      Sending tens of thousands of letters, faxes, and cut-up store
      charge cards had an effect. In 1996, 834 Lerner New York stores
      delared themselves fur-free and, citing a lack of consumer demand,
      Eddie Bauer also agreed to stop carrying fur. "Even though we were
      doing it for animal-rights reasons, it succeeded because we proved to
      them, consumerwise, using the great American dollar, that they didn't
      have to do it [sell fur] if they wanted our business," Seo said

      Because of such successful public campaigns, Seo has earned a
      high profile. Through countless newspaper interviews and coverage on
      TV and radio, he has become something of an icon for active, aware
      members of society. Seo gets about 5,000 letters a year from people
      asking one basic question: "How did you do it?"

      "A lot of people understand what the issue is, they understand
      what the problem is, but they don't understand the simple steps for a
      creative or critical process on how to solve that problem," Seo
      said. "And so I decided, instead of writing a book about what's wrong
      with the world, to write on that has some basic solutions and ideas."

      One idea put forth in Generation React that Seo himself has
      gotten a lot of mileage out of is the concept of "exploiting
      yourself." Any weakness you may seem to have is also a potential
      strength. As a teenage activist, Seo had a hard time convincing his
      state representatives to take him seriously. On the other hand, that
      very youth and inexperience was precisely what made him so
      interesting to the press. "I learned how to write a news release,"
      Seo recalled. "I would send out a news release saying `Teenager to go
      lobbying Pennsylvania reps today" and my subtitle would be something
      like `Young person hopes for passage of clean water legislation.'
      There's nothing better than going lobbying with the 6 o'clock news, a
      newspaper reporter and another reporter from the wire service
      following you around for the day, going around meeting with the reps.
      The reps aren't going to be mean. The reps have to put on their fake
      persona and listen to you. And that's the time when you play
      hardball, and you ask them the hard questions, because you can pretty
      much get your own way then."

      Seo admitted that much of the information in Generation React is
      available elsewhere, but said that the abundance of such data in
      sources like public relations textbooks can be overwhelming, or just
      plain boring, to the average person who wants to get involved with a
      cause. "This is the basic information, the basics on how to do simple
      public relations, how to do simple corporate boycotts. Where it
      doesn't seem feasible for people to say, hold a press conference and
      go on a satellite tour or something for a cause, a simple thing for
      them would be to do a radio show, or to get the local media involved
      in a program. It's things that an ordinary person could do."


      Finding heaven on earth in a quarter-hour
      August 4, 1999

      (CNN) -- Would you take advice from a 21-year-old? How about one who
      already has founded a national campaign to save the environment,
      received the Albert Schweitzer Institute Award and been honored by
      Oprah Winfrey?

      Danny Seo said he did all those things, then decided his true calling
      was teaching others how to do them. Seo credits an appearance on the
      Oprah Winfrey show with helping him see the light -- and write a book
      about it.

      When he was 12, Seo said he formed Earth 2000 National, a teen
      environmental group that now has 12,000 members. But after graduating
      from high school, he decided this part of his life was over. Much to
      his parents' dismay, he said he also decided not to go to college,
      opting instead to pursue what he knew to be his life's mission:
      helping others maximize their potential.

      Seo won the 1998 Oprah Winfrey Angel Network Award for outstanding
      community service after raising $30,000 in less than 30 days for
      Habitat for Humanity. He said the response from Oprah viewers
      convinced him of the need to teach everyday folk how easy it is to
      help others.

      He shares his strategies in his book, calling his chapters "Angel
      Power Rules" that teach how to create "mini-miracles" to save the
      world. He says all miracles are doable in 15 minutes or less, thus
      the book's title.

      Here are some examples of "miracles" from Chapter 1:

      Recycle used cellular telephones. Bell Atlantic Mobile will reprogram
      the phones to dial 911 to help community safety patrols.
      Gather and donate used luggage to foster family agencies. Many foster
      kids have to use plastic trash bags to carry their belongings from
      one home to the next.
      Collect shampoo, conditioner, soap and mouthwash from hotels and
      donate it to shelters.
      Other tips in the book promise to help readers get hooked on helping
      by reaching out to others.
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