I get buried with junk - type mail at home, requests to join a charity group set up to stop the killing of amoebas in the Amazon River drainage and such.
I can't, and won't join very many. Among my pets are Save Mount Diablo and The Nature Conservancy. The Regional Parks Foundation is also a given. Beyond that, I begin to lose interest because the "cause" is so remote from me as to have little emotional impact.
But it does make me think - with all these groups, organizations and foundations, why do so many of our trails look as if they've been used as a dump? The number of bottles, cans, cigarette butts and such ruins my appetite sometimes. Here's my simple suggestion, and it's a practice I've maintained for years.
Those plastic, enviro - unfriendly bags you get at the grocery store can live a good life if reused. To that end, on every hike I take I bring at least one bag with me. I pick up every scrap of garbage I see, and bring it to the trash receptacle back at the trail head, or home if there's no trash can.
Even at well used and respected trails throughout the state callous people would rather drop their crap rather than carry it back with them. My appeal to you is to take up the "clean a trail today" call, bring your bag and help your local trail appear as wild as it was meant to look. In doing so, you'll find just how much garbage gets left out there, and you'll feel better (that's a guarantee) once you drop off your first collection of junk.
So let the politically oriented conservation groups do their thing, and support those that appeal to you. But as hikers and outdoorspeople, you CAN make a big difference just by, as the Boy Scouts used to preach, leaving the trail cleaner than you found it.
Go forth, try it out - see how good you feel after you dump your first bag of trail trash. It'll become a habit.