NRDC answers your most frequently asked questions about the environment.

  1. How do I recycle...?
  2. How can I argue with a global warming skeptic?
  3. There's a polluter/polluted site/potentially damaging project in my area. What can I do?
  4. Which candidate do you support?
  5. How can my company join you in going green?
  6. What is NRDC's position on nuclear power/ethanol/wind...
  7. How can I find employment in the environmental field?

1. How do I recycle...?

Recycling is a great way to protect the environment. By recycling paper, cardboard, metals, plastics and glass, you do more than cut down on garbage. Recycling protects habitat and biodiversity, and saves energy, water, and resources such as trees and metal ores. Recycling also cuts global warming pollution from manufacturing, landfilling and incinerating. Recycling programs vary from town to town. To find out how to recycle specific items, contact your city or county waste management authority or visit Earth911, a website that allows you to type in your zip code and find recycling centers in your area. If you can't find local recycling information for a particular item, your best bet is to donate or "freecycle" it. Charities and thrift shops can often find markets at home or abroad for second-hand goods that can be difficult for individuals to recycle, such as small household appliances and textiles. Visit our Recycling 101 guide for recycling advice.

2. How can I argue with a global warming skeptic?

First, determine whether you're talking to a skeptic, or a denier. A genuine skeptic is someone who can be convinced by evidence, and the scientific evidence for human-caused global warming is overwhelming. (If you're dealing with a flat-earther, don't waste your breath.) In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of more than 1,800 scientists from around the globe, issued its fourth comprehensive assessment of climate science. The joint conclusion of this international group is that there's a 90 percent likelihood that man-made global warming pollution has been the major cause of global warming since 1950. (See NRDC's annotated bibliography of global warming science for a yearly round-up of the latest climate research.)

For detailed, point-by-point rebuttals to global warming naysayers, see Grist's How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic.

You might also find New Scientist's Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed, helpful. It rounds up common climate myths and misperceptions.

If these resources don't answer your question, take a look at Real Climate, a blog by leading climate researchers that delves into climate science in great, and often technical, detail.

3. There's a polluter/polluted site/potentially damaging project in my area. What can I do?

One of the most effective ways of solving a community problem is to organize your neighbors and attend a town meeting to voice your concerns. For detailed information on addressing local environmental problems, visit NRDC's guide to community activism.

You and your neighbors should also contact a local conservation group that is familiar with the laws of your area and offer to work with them in trying to resolve this problem. Eco-USA is a great resource for finding local environmental groups. NRDC's litigation work often involves precedent-setting court cases that provide a framework for local environmental protection.

You may also wish to retain an attorney who specializes in environmental law. To find one, contact your local bar association and ask for a lawyer who specializes in environmental issues. You can find your local bar association in your telephone directory or by contacting:

The American Bar Association
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 1-800-285-2221

The American Bar Association also has a listing of pro bono legal services on their website; or you could turn to a local law school. Most have environmental law professors who may be able to offer useful advice, and some have environmental law clinics that will take on local cases.

4. Which candidate do you support?

As a a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, NRDC cannot and does not endorse individual candidates or political parties. While we do advocate on issues, support or oppose proposed laws and regulations, and speak out about actions taken by public officials, we do not support or oppose candidates themselves.

If you're interested in learning about the environmental voting records of U.S. senators and representatives, you can visit the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard at http://www.lcv.org/scorecard. To see environmental positions taken by this year's presidential candidates, see http://lcv.org/voterguide.

5. How can my company join you in going green?

See NRDC's Greening Advisor, a comprehensive guide that can help any commercial business green its operations. From recycling and waste reduction to renewable energy, the Greening Advisor taps into the breadth and depth of NRDC expertise to help your company conserve natural resources, fight climate change -- and even save money.

You might also consider joining Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), an NRDC partner organization made up of business professionals who believe in protecting the environment while building economic prosperity.

NRDC's Center for Market Innovation works with corporate leaders and government to transform the marketplace to reward environmentally sound business practices.

Visit the Green Enterprise section of the NRDC website for further information on green business strategies.

6. What is NRDC's position on nuclear power/ethanol/wind...

Visit NRDC's policy library for a comprehensive collection of position papers on current environmental issues.

7. How can I find employment in the environmental field?

For employment opportunities at NRDC, please check www.nrdc.org/jobs. Here you can view current listings, apply online, learn about our workplace environment and benefits, and meet our staff. You can also visit http://www.idealist.org for openings.

last revised 4.3.08

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