PSAs heat public interest on global warming

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As meteorologists forecast 2007 to be the warmest year on record, Environmental Defense has teamed with the Advertising Council on public service announcements urging Americans to combat global warming in their everyday lives.

The television and radio PSAs aim to stir the public's consciousness about global warming. They also are available at http://www.fightglobalwarming.com/.

"Our numbers were up over this past December with a healthy margin," said Sam Perry, manager for online fundraising at Environmental Defense, Washington. "We have a growing list of supporters in the global warming area and people who believe in supporting political policy answers to environmental issues we face."

Typical supporters are concerned with participation in public policy. They are a roughly even mix of men and women, with baby boomers making up the majority of donors. The nonprofit links science, economics and law to solve urgent environmental problems. Environmental Defense also produces e-mail and direct mail and uses telemarketing.

"We have a routine renewal program on a monthly basis," Mr. Perry said. "Online, we send out about an e-mail a week to subscribers containing anything from new information to advocacy."

The nonprofit uses donations for research, policy development and lobbying. In addition to publishing reports on program activities, Environmental Defense produces print and e-mail newsletters, fact sheets and educational materials on "green" behavior and business practices that can help sustain the environment. It maintains a 350,000-member Action Network, which alerts an online community of activists to send e-mails and faxes on timely issues to legislators and policymakers.

The nonprofit receives less than 1 percent of its financial support from corporate donors. It does not accept payments from any of its corporate partners such as McDonald's Corp. and FedEx Corp.

"We have an online messaging stream that will continue," Mr. Perry said. "We have also launched a campaign petition that we expect to go over well with the new Congress."

In November, it began using software from GetActive, Berkeley, CA, a provider of online constituent relationship management services.

Environmental Defense also has created a program with fleet management firm PHH Arval to reduce pollution among the 9 million U.S. vehicles registered to commercial fleets. Health care marketer Abbott has signed on to the project to address transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The nonprofit also works with individual businesses to help them change their emissions policy.

"Donors know that they have a chance to make a difference," Mr. Perry said. "If people are concerned about the environment, we can employ more scientists and economists to look for solutions and therefore produce substance behind policies."

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