Once upon a time, government leaders in the United States were able to work together across party lines to solve some of our most pressing and challenging issues. Under the Republican administration of Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, our leaders set to address national environmental problems.

Some of these problems were obvious and graphic: smog so thick in LA that it was visible from space; rivers so contaminated with waste that they caught on fire; wildlife like the American Bald Eagle on the brink of extinction. Other problems were less visible but just as harmful.

America’s approach to tackling these problems has been very effective. The list of successes is long, but our very success may have led to some complacency. Here’s what’s critical to know: pollution prevention and resource management are ALWAYS less costly and more effective than after-the-fact disasters.

We hope this toolkit will help you learn more about North Carolina’s current environmental challenges, and the ways in which you, as an informed citizen, can be part of future solutions.