Recently I met and interviewed Ted Turner at the Environmental Media Association awards dinner at the Warner Brothers Studios.  While Ted was modest in his interview seen below, his friend seemed adamant to make it clear he is a huge environmentalist.

Later that night while at the bar (I loved asking for virgin drinks..) I met Christina Stevens.  Christina is on the board of Directors of the Captain Planet Foundation, which is headed up by Laura Turner Seydel, Ted’s oldest daughter.  I told Christina that until that night, I had no clue what Ted has done to go green and I am going to research it.  Here are some things I found out.

1.  Turner has recently Southern Company (NYSE: SO) CEO David Ratcliffe to announce an alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States, beginning with photovoltaic solar installations in the Southwest US.down in the Atlanta area to develop a 30 MW power plant of solar energy; which would be the largest in the United States.  It would power Northern New Mexico (equivalent to 14,000 homes).  He is calling it The Southern Turner Renewable Energy project which will be managed and operated by First Solar, a leader in thin film module manufacturing.  The array will be 500,000 PV solar modules using First Solar’s technology. The facility and related infrastructure will create thousands of jobs in the United States.


Southern Company Turner is the largest individual landowner in North America with more than two million acres. The alliance will explore renewable projects both on Turner land as well as other suitable sites, according to a press release.

“I’ve always been passionate about developing renewable energy, and I’m excited to join forces with Southern Company to explore our renewable energy potential,” said Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy. “Southern Company’s experience in power project development, construction and operations, and customer relations help make this a strong alliance, and I look forward to working together.”

2.  As my buddy at Treehugger Sara Novak reports regarding his GREEN RESTAURANT Ted’s Montana GrillFrom the get go Ted’s Montana Grill was a greener restaurant chain, but recently Turner has gone a step further with his Green Restaurant Revolution. Turner and Ted’s Montana Grill CEO and Cofounder, George McKerrow Jr. have been traveling the country visiting Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. to teach restaurateurs how to make their restaurants more sustainable.

3. Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an American animated environmentalist television program, based on an idea by Ted Turner and Robert Larkin III. The show was produced by Andy Heyward, Robby London, Barbara Pyle and Nicholas Boxer. The series was developed and co-produced by Turner Program Services along with the partnership of DiC Entertainment and ran new episodes from September 15, 1990 until December 5, 1992. A sequel series, The New Adventures of Captain Planet, ran for three seasons and was produced by Turner Broadcasting and then-corporate sibling Hanna-Barbera Productions. Both programs continue today in syndication. (Jensen, Elizabeth (April 22, 2006). “An Aging Superhero Wins a Life Beyond Reruns”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-13.)

  1. He owns actually 2 million acres of land in Montana for the Buffalo.  That’s like the size of some states or countries!

5.  While I knew about him for CNN, Turner has his foundation, the Turner Foundation, which works for better air and water quality, sustainable energy sources, and wildlife protection.  He also has the Turner Endangered Species Fund, which focuses on the biodiversity of Turner’s protected ranches; and the United Nations Foundation, which received a $1 billion pledge from Turner in 1997; and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which attempts to “reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.”

In October 2008, Turner defined sustainability as something of old to the United Nations for the UN Foundation:

“Sustainability is just like the old business adage: ‘you don’t encroach on the principal, you live off the interest’,” said Turner. “Unfortunately, up to this point, the travel industry and tourists haven’t had a common framework to let them know if they’re really living up to that maxim. But the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) will change that.  This is a win-win initiative  –  good for the environment and good for the world’s tourism industry.” 

6.  Even recently, according to the UK College of Agriculture Press Office, Turner was spotted at the Georgia Governor’s mansion for a fundraiser that his Green Team raised $35,000 which they used to purchase 32 recycling bins for the World Equestrian Games. The bins will stay at the Kentucky Horse Park even after the games. Based on this donation, the park has purchased about 30 indoor recycling bins for future events.

  1. Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) which is a major global action of Ted, headed up by Sam Nunn.  NTI is a non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen global security by reducing the risk of use and preventing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and to work to build the trust, transparency and security which are preconditions to the ultimate fulfillment of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s goals and ambitions.  The NTI is Co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist and Ted Turner.  NTI is governed by an expert and influential Board of Directors with members from the United States, Japan, India, Pakistan, China, Jordan, Sweden, France and the United Kingdom.
  2. In late 2001, with the support of the Turner Foundation and Better World Fund, the Energy Future Coalition held exploratory meetings to discuss the inadequacies in U.S. energy policy. These meetings were focused on addressing our dependence on foreign oil and the associated risk to our economy and national security, the neglected threat of climate change, and the need to bring electricity and modern fuels to the 2 billion people who lack them.

That’s a one green dude to me!!

Hey Ted, next time tell people what you are doing.  It’s a lot!!!  Thanks..

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One Response

  1. I'm really impressed with Ted Turner's work. Hopefully some of the billionaires signing up for the Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will donate to environmental causes.

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