As kids, we were all taught that recycling prevents landfills from being over-filled, or that it would save some trees from being cut down. But it does more than that. It takes less cost and energy to make products from recycled material than from virgin material. It adds a lot less to the carbon footprint.
So when you think about or talk about environmentalism, remember how important recycling is. It's not just a matter of whether a few more landfills are created or whether there are a few less hiking paths and forest areas. Recycling contributes in a big way to reducing the carbon footprint and thereby fighting global warming.
Recycle as much as you can, recycle as smart as you can, and promote it as much as you can.