Simply Green Giving

Harper Collins touts him as "the eco-conscious, creative wonder kid," but just what makes Danny Seo an environmental stylist? First and foremost, Danny is actually a grown man, nearly 30, with an activist spirit he has nurtured since his preteen years.When Seo was 12, he formed a group still active today, Earth 2000. Mere coincidence he was born on Earth Day?

He has written 3 books, hosts a radio show and will debut a TV program on Lime TV in November. Almost everything Seo does is called "Simply Green," a reflection of his style and sensibility. Seo is on the list of 40 Under 40 to watch by Crain's New York Business, as well as recognized as one of People Magazines 50 Most Beautiful People. Seo is a spokesman for Call2Recycle. And for the stylist part? Seo greens up celebrities everywhere, proving green can be glamorous and not all granola.

Seo's latest book, Simply Green Giving, is devoted entirely to gifts: making, buying, wrapping and beyond. This book consists of short blurbs, ideas, simply beautiful photography, and intermittent resource suggestions. There is also a resource guide in the back for crafty newbies who are still learning their ways around a thrift store. Seo diplomatically approaches environmentalism, and conveys his message in an non-intimidating manner. The pictures do an incredible job of bringing seemingly implausible ideas to life. The idea of using VCR tapes as ribbon is festive and adorable. Another suggestion of packing a gift in a cigar box is classy and fun. His philosophy and pared down aesthetic make Simply Green Giving seem more like reading a magazine than an eco-guide to living.

Although Seo is more often along the right track of reducing waste and reusing what most others would call waste, some of Seo's Giving ideas are clumsy at best. Wrapping a gift in tickets straight off the roll seems wasteful, and reusing cardboard boxes seems obvious. Making a spa/hygeine kit seems like a great idea, but giving Crest whitening strips doesn't seem to be a great gift (I think that's getting a little too personal) nor does it seem to be very eco-conscious. While the perfume strip bow is precious, I shudder thinking someone might replicate the idea. If you consider using that particular idea, first do a little detective work to find out if the recipient is fragrance sensitive. You just might give someone a bamboo bathrobe and a 2 day-long migraine.

The book is perfect for hoarders and pack rats, since it gives a creative jump start for using all the things kept under the guise of "needing it one day." Seo's philosophy is a comforting sign: environmentalism can be mainstream. With the clean and minimal lifestyle he represents, one question remains, "Where does he hide all that junk?"

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