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Born to be 'green'

Author, environmentalist meshes nature, style

Danny Seo calls himself an "eco-stylist," trying to teach people how to be eco-friendly, while not losing flair.


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Environmental Issues
Lifestyle (House and Home)

(CNN) -- Danny Seo knows that those who live an environmentally friendly lifestyle have not always had the coolest of reputations.

"A lot of people think of teepees and straw bale houses and hippies," he says.

Through his published works and consulting work, Seo aims to show people that they can help keep the air, ground and water as pure as possible and still look good.

And he says it can all be done without sacrificing style or the comforts of home.

"In our modern age of Whole Foods and hybrid cars and flat screen TVs that are super-energy efficient," Seo says, "it's really about living a life that has concern for the planet around you but also doing it with style, authenticity and just a little bit of personal flair."

In his book "Conscious Style Home," Seo offers home decorating tips that use materials such as recycled paint and organic cotton -- items he says can add beauty to an environmentally friendly home.

Making a difference in nature -- and making it look good -- requires a fair share of creativity.

"You can recycle a used detergent bottle into a bird feeder," Seo says. "But at the end of the day, it is still just a detergent bottle hanging from your tree. And so even thought you've recycled it, it's not beautiful."

'Extreme Makeover: Eco Edition'

Danny Seo -- an environmentalist, author and soon-to-be TV host -- was born on Earth Day, specifically April 22, 1977. He got involved in environmental causes early on, even founding his own activist group at age 12.

His strategy evolved by the time he had turned 18. From there on out, he says, he wanted to make more personal, more direct points detailing how relatively simple changes in people's everyday lives could have a positive impact on the environment.

"A lot of people come to me and they say, 'I want to live a more eco-friendly existence, but I just don't know what steps to take, it just seems so overwhelming,'" Seo says.

Through his books, articles in Organic Style magazine and one-on-one talks with those wanting to be "green" but not knowing where to start, Seo says that he tries to break down the basics of eco-friendly living.

Seo's book "Conscious Style Home" contains eco-friendly home decor tips.

For some clients, he provides crash courses -- which he laughingly calls "Green Eye" makeovers or "Extreme Makeover: Eco Edition" -- to educate and stimulate action.

But Seo acknowledges that he doesn't have a monopoly on such information. To the contrary, he claims everything he knows came from non-profit organizations, news sources and the Internet -- and encourages anyone wanting to live a greener life to simply do their homework.

"Eventually," Seo says, "when you are making buying decisions as you're living your life, everything sort of becomes intuitive."

It's not easy being green

Seo admits living an environmentally friendly life is not easy and can require more effort. But he says people should not feel overwhelmed.

"You can't really go wrong if your heart is in the right place, and you are trying very hard to make the right choices -- you're heading in the right direction," Seo adds. "That's what you should feel really good about."

American society has become more accepting of environmentalists in recent years, says Seo. He points to the proliferation of Whole Foods and similar organic food stores nationwide, as well as a growing demand for hybrid cars that curb air pollution.

"I think we are very close to a tipping point in terms of this green lifestyle," he says.

Seo is preparing a new cable television program that he hopes will help spread his message.

While he is uncertain about his own future, he says that he is more concerned with that of the planet -- adding that the more people live a "green" lifestyle, the better it is for everyone.

"When I was 12, I had one dream, one wish, and that was to save the planet by the year 2000. Well, the year 2000 passed, so I'm giving myself another 12 to 15 years."

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