By John Schaffner

Laura Turner Seydel brought her passion for protecting the environment to more than 150 members and guests of the Buckhead Business Association (BBA) July 17 with a wide-ranging talk entitled “Going Green in the Workplace.”

Avowed conservationist Seydel traces her passion for eco-awareness to her upbringing and specifically to her father, “Captain Planet” Ted Turner. “I have a dad who walks the talk and has passed that on to his children.”

She was co-founder with her husband Rutherford Seydel of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund in 1993 and co-founder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air in 2004. She also is chairman of the Captain Planet Foundation, a partner program to the environmentally focused Saturday morning cartoon, Captain Planet and the Planeteers.

Seydel is also a trustee of the Turner Foundation, a private family environmental grant making entity founded in 1990.

The former Buckhead boutique owner/operator was awarded the Conservationist of the Year award from the Georgia Wildlife Federation and was selected one of ten Outstanding Young Atlantans. In 2003, she and her husband were presented the Distinguished Conservationist Award from The Georgia Conservancy.

As a national environmental activist and eco-living expert, Seydel sees her mission as educating families and business owners alike about the opportunities and benefits of earth-friendly living.

And, she lives the mission. She told the BBA quarterly luncheon crowd about all she and her husband have done to turn their Buckhead home into as green a living space as possible.

The credited Dennis Creech, who started Southface in Atlanta 30 years ago and has grown the non-profit into an internationally recognized leader in green design and construction, with making their dream house a reality.

Creech joined Seydel for a few remarks to the BBA crowd, pitching in for her husband who could not attend.

The point of her talk was that business needs to be eco responsible, “because we have a moral mandate to our children to take care of this beautiful planet that God has given us. Now that all the great technologies are emerging you need to go and talk them up to your representatives. These new alternative energies and technologies make it more affordable for businesses to operate.

Seydel singled out some major businesses that have major initiatives in place or underway to help the environment, including:

Coca-Cola, which has established a global water initiative and is building the world’s largest recycling plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina,

Delta, which offers in-flight recycling and has established a teleworking program to reduce employee’s gas consumption, and

Atlantic Station, which is the first community to get LEAD Certification.

Creech talked about building eco-offices, which use 80 percent less water, are carbon neutral, reduce energy usage by 60 percent and buy green power. He explained that about 10 percent of the buildings today are green buildings.

Creech also stated that it is a fact that “people who work in green buildings perform better” at their jobs.