Looking Forward in Plastics

New Processes for Plastics Emerging

Here are some of the new developments in efforts to make plastics that are more eco-friendly:

Plastic into fuel There are several formulations. One is to convert polyethylene into diesel without waste products or pollution, using rhenium and iridium catalysts. Another to use end-of-life plastics that usually cannot be recycled into crude oil. Another is a small tabletop household machine that heats plastic, runs it though cooling pipes and chambers until it condenses back into oil. While these methods could remove millions of tons of plastic garbage, they still would contribute to carbon emissions. Another process has been created that turns plastic into ethanol, using a cheap and affordable catalyst called calcium bentonite, which breaks plastic down into ethane, methane and propane.

Biodegradable and compostable plastic The development of bioresin has helped in developing a more environmentally friendly plastic and plastic-based products. There are two types of bioresin: degradable and compostable. Degradable bioresins can be broken down continually into smaller and smaller pieces. Compostable resins can be reduced to simple biological matter and be used as mulch after being mixed with specific byproducts at a composting plant. Both of these new plastics are projected to grow by 20% per year, with plastic film being the primary application for both, especially in the medial and food industries.

Edible food packaging to reduce plastic waste Edible packaging is versatile and eco-friendly because it can be eaten or composted, and it may drastically reduce plastic packaging waste. Packaging made from casein, a milk protein, can be eaten or composted and will be especially useful for single-serve items (think string cheese, where the edible packaging would be protected by a separate package to keep the casein clean and sanitary to eat). And there is Shrilk, a biocompatible and biodegradable edible film packaging made from shrimp shells and silk. It is only half the weight of comparable aluminum alloys but matches their strength and toughness.

New process tested biodegradable plastics Mango Materials, located in the San Francisco Bay area, developed a new process to create a biopolymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate from methane by using bacterial fermentation, which makes the material biodegradable and petroleum-free. The new material has the added advantage of capturing methane and sequestering the carbon into a high-value material. The technology would be located at the site of methane production to reduce methane emissions. The company has determined that capturing methane from U.S. landfills would produce more than 3 billion pounds of biopolymer ever year. The company is using grants and working with the Energy Department’s Small Business Vouchers pilot program and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory to test a final step of removing water from the final biopolymer and to scale up their business.

Biodegradable and edible utensils These tools can easily withstand hot-food temperatures.

Six-pack ring holders for beverages Ring holders made from wheat and barley are being developed from the natural by-products of beer production and are edible and more friendly to animals and sea life than current models.

Biodegradable plastics Under development are biodegradable plastics that can rot unaided in a ditch or in a landfill, using plant sugars, starches and seaweed. The plastics decay into carbon dioxide and can produce methane. Ideally, a way to capture the methane can be found.

Biorenewable, biodegradable plastic alternatives Colorado State University researchers have found a new way to produce a compound called bacterial poly(3- hydroxybutyrate), or P3HB, which shows promise as a substitute for petroleum plastics in medical and major industrial uses. The researchers are using a starting material called succinate, which is produced by the fermentation of glucose, and is much quicker and less expensive to produce and scale up than P3HB compounds formed using algae, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Structure of bacterial enzyme that generates useful polymers discovered Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found the structure of PHA, an enzyme that nearly all bacteria use to produce large polymers that store carbon when food is scarce. Bacteria produce different types of polymers depending on the starting material. PHA synthase can string together up to 30,000 subunits, making much larger polymers than humans can make. The researchers found a way to crystallize the protein and then perform x-ray crystallography to reveal the protein’s atomic and molecular structure. The researchers now can see the entrance and exit structures, thereby enabling them to make specialty polymer additives, latex and medical applications. But the process is not cost efficient enough to compete with oil-based plastics for most uses. The researchers hope this new framework will enable them make better polymers with unique properties and open up new materials and applications in the future.

Other efforts are looking at new types of industrial recycling plants that can recycle our current and future plastics on a larger scale, including cars and other large-scale items. Stay tuned.

Sources: ; Thomas Industry Update; Colorado State University; MIT News Office; U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Beyond Plastics: Four New Inventions in 2018

Shoes that could help save the world

Retail startup Allbirds is moving away of petroleum-based footwear with SweetFoam, a product made from parts of sugarcane that are now discarded as trash. The company started with flip-flops and are moving on to incorporate its use in their entire product line. Most exciting, they have made the technical know-how behind SweetFoam available to everyone who wants it.

The electric semi truck

Thor ET-One has converted a formerly fuel-burning truck into a sleek electric semi prototype that can haul up to 80,000 pounds for up to 300 miles per charge. While there are other new electric rigs in the works with other companies, Thor’s makers are confident that converting old trucks can help their company make a difference now–not in the future.

A more efficient water heater

Heatworks Model 3 Smart Water Heater sends electrical current through the water to heat it quicky and only when residents need hot water, rather than having the water sit ready in the tank. The company estimates a savings of $240 a year for the average family of four.

Roofing that fights smog pollution

3M has created a material for roofing shingles that breaks down smog particles so they can be washed away by rainfall, and Malarkey Roofing (a top U.S. shingle manufacturer) has already starting using these new granules in their shingles, which they say has reduced the smog equivalent to 100,000 trees. They are aiming to double this figure next year and again the following year.

Source: “The 50 Best Inventions of 2018, Time, Nov. 25/Dec. 3, 2018.

A Recycler’s Lament

What do you mean we can’t recycle glass?! And you only want #I and #2 plastics?! And you don’t want the caps from my plastic bottles and cartons?!

KEC was in the forefront in l960s in leading the recycling movement in Ohio, and our efforts lead to what Ohio officials called Portage County’s model program. So, this is hitting us especially hard, as we see the market for recycling crashing. It feels like we’re sliding backward.

But we need to keep moving forward and focus on what we can do until the economics of recycling change. Read the following to learn the new rules and why they are changing, as well as a few of the new processes that people are developing that can help our recycling efforts.

So What CAN I Recycle?


Recycling’s Future?

China’s recent ban on the import of many categories of solid waste has sent tremors through the recycling community. China had become the world’s largest consumer of solid waste, increasing its imports from 4.5 million tons in 1995 to 45 million in 2016.

As China’s appetite for scrap increased, cities, as a matter of convenience, moved toward a one-bin recycling collection system . . . our single stream system and sorting equipment were designed for a Chinese market with no restrictions. But in 2013, China began imposing quality restrictions . . . high contamination rates required much more work to extract usable materials, and rising Chinese wages made separation even more expensive. After China imposed restrictions on waste, about 10% of U.S. shipments were rejected. Then in June 2017, China announced that by the end of the year, it would no longer accept imports from 24 categories of solid waste and imposed a maximum contamination rate of 0.3%. By the end of 2018, China will close the door to all post-consumer plastics. Any PET or HDPE won’t be allowed in unless it’s been processed into pellets or flakes.

*********************** PUBLIC NOTICE ***********************
The illegal trash dumping in public or mixed in with recyclables is rising, despite warnings and increased enforcement efforts. Portage County now will be prosecuting people, rather than issue warnings! Placing trash inside a recycling bin will result in a third-degree misdemeanor littering charge, while dumping trash outside of a recycling bin will result in a felony, punishable by two and four years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
*********************** PUBLIC NOTICE ***********************

Fortunately, sorting equipment (MRFs) have started integrating new technologies designed to auto-sort materials the older MRFs couldn’t handle…deli trays, yogurt cups, etc.

And new markets for solid waste recyclables are opening up. According to a new report, the global waste management market is expected to grow to $435 billion by 2023. The majority of the growth is expected to be witnessed in the emerging Asia-Pacific regions.

Time to Develop New Habits about Plastic Use

Plastics have become an integral part of our lives–from the toothpaste tube and toothbrush we use in the morning, to the containers we store our foods in, the toys our children play with, the cars we drive, the typewriter keys I’m using to type this article, and so much more. We can’t get rid of plastic completely in our modern world. Just think of modern hospitals without sterile tubes, bags and equipment. Plastic is so abundant because it is durable and easy to form into a myriad of objects. But remember that it’s a petroleum-based product that adds to our carbon footprint, exacerbates climate change, increases the mounds of garbage throughout the world and harms waterways.

In our last newsletter, Lorraine wrote about comments that Sherri A. Mason, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Science at the State University of New York at Fredonia, made when she spoke at the Cleveland City Club on August 14. Mason stressed that we have to be part of the solution to the excess of plastic in our lives by trying to cut down on the plastic we use in the first place–especially single-use plastics, plastic bags and straws, and take-out containers. She also urged everyone to pledge to reduce their use of plastics and to continue to recycle what we can.

Join in the Excitement of the New Era

Those trying to prevent the Icebreaker Project from going ahead are not
put off by the facts.  They continue to add to the Ohio Power Siting Board’s
Comments Page their dishonest arguments, claiming that wind turbines are
responsible for large numbers of bird and bat deaths.  This is despite the Final
Environmental Assessment, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy on
September 10th, which showed that the Icebreaker Project has very little
environmental impact, and should be free to move ahead.

Regardless, the Lake Erie wind power opposition forces just persist in their
attacks.  On October 10th they submitted to the OPSB references to statements expressed by those who claim that wind turbines emit sub-auditory sounds that are capable of damaging the brain.  However, these fears are clarified as baseless, in an article discussing “wind turbine syndrome” in The Atlantic, on June 19th, 2017.

These phony fears have been vigorously propagated by the Australian coal
mining industry, in various parts of their Continent.  The effort began at least a
decade ago, when these wind power opponents judged that Australians would have greater interest in the health of their eardrums and brains than in any potential danger to wildlife.  Their fabrications certainly caused many citizens around that country to become wind opponents.

Fossil fuel providers, instead of continuing to battle against the essential need of countries to move away from outdated energy sources, should find a way of getting on board the exciting opportunity of moving to new, non-polluting versions.

There are countless examples, throughout history, of far-sighted innovators who could see that the way that objects were being made could be improved. In some cases these innovators had no previous experience in influencing how the necessary materials or equipment could be manufactured, in order to make the desired updates.

However, other innovators have actually been the makers of the forms of equipment that were increasingly becoming outdated.  They saw how some of that equipment they were producing could be modified, in order to move us into the new era. Studebaker was a classic example of such a company.  It was founded in 1852 and was originally a manufacturer of farm wagons.  Studebaker then formed the Studebaker Automobile Company, and in 1902 began the production of electric vehicles. After two years it moved to building gasoline vehicles. Although the company did not have a very long lifespan, it developed a reputation, over the next 50 years, for very high quality and reliability.

A current example of corporate far-sightedness is illustrated by Statoil.  It
recently adapted its offshore oil drilling business to include manufacturing
floating platforms for offshore wind turbines.  It partnered with Masdar, and on
October 18th 2017, Statoil Hywind, the world’s first floating wind farm started
production, offshore from Peterhead in Scotland.

But it is not only industry leaders who can benefit from making smart
transitioning choices.  Some of those who have actually been employed as coal
miners in the past are moving to newer, and very different forms of
employment.  An example of such a transition was the subject of an NPR
interview on October 19th 2018, in which Colorado coal miners told how they
had enthusiastically taken up jobs in their state’s new fiber-optic cabling

So the message for us all, and now particularly for the fossil fuel industry,
is, as it has always been, “Evolve – Don’t Stagnate”.

-Written by Sarah Taylor, Windustrious

KEC Annual Meeting 2018

Details from Federal Outlook


Details from State Outlook

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (OECAF) is actively engaged with the Ohio General Assembly and Kasich administration on policies that promote clean energy, and protect Ohio’s water quality and public lands. Here are some pieces of legislation we are working on:

HB 114 (Blessing) – Renewable Energy Standards This piece of legislation would make Ohio’s renewable energy standards and energy efficiency standards completely voluntary. The OECAF opposes this legislation in its current form. By converting Ohio’s renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards to voluntary goals, creating special exemptions for large energy users, and watering down Ohio’s cost-saving energy efficiency standard, House Bill 114 would entrench Ohio in energy sources of the past, increase air pollution, inflate Ohioans’ energy bills and squash technological innovation in the Buckeye State.

House Bill 239 (Smith/Carfagna) / Senate Bill 155 (Terhar/Peterson) – OVEC Bail Outs These companion pieces of legislation propose a multi-million-dollar subsidy for electric utilities, paid for by customers of AEP-Ohio, FirstEnergy, Duke, and Dayton Power & Light; all of which are shareholders of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC). The cost of the subsidy is approximately $256 million per year for approximately the next 23 years in order for the OVEC owners to continue operating two coal-fired power plants that will be 85 years old by the time the subsidy expires. The plants are Kyger Creek in Cheshire, OH and Clifty Creek in Madison, IN. Together, these plants produce massive amounts of air pollution that harm Ohioans’ health. The Kyger Creek plant alone is responsible for 305 asthma attacks and 29 heart attacks per year. These plants should not be propped up by Ohio consumers, and instead should be subject to the competitive market just as every other power plant operating in the region. The OECAF strongly opposes these pieces of legislation.

House Bill 225 (Thompson) – Orphan Well Program This piece of legislation seeks to streamline the Ohio Orphan Well Program and ensure robust funding. Orphaned wells are improperly abandoned oil or gas wells that are no longer in production and are often several decades old. They pose a hazard to the environment and to human health and safety. Until they are located and properly plugged, they are pathways to pollution. Risks include fire, overflow of oil or brine into ecologically sensitive areas like streams, and groundwater contamination. The bill requires Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to better protect Ohioans by locating, prioritizing, and plugging orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells in a timely manner. While we believe the funding levels in the bill may not be feasible for the industry to use, we support this legislation.

House Bill 393 (Devitis/O’Brien) / Senate Bill 165 (Dolan/Skindell) – Brine Sales These companion bills would remove treated oil & gas waste bring from traditional, vertical wells from Ohio’s oil and gas waste laws and treat it as a commodity that could be sold commercially. The OECAF testified as an interested party to the bills because of the sponsors’ willingness to strengthen testing requirements for the material; however, we remain very concerned with the amount of heavy metals and radium that could still exist in the brine even after treatment.

Senate Bill 238 (Dolan) – Wind Farm Setbacks This bill would restore Ohio’s wind setback laws to a more reasonable distance than what is in current law. The Ohio General Assembly changed the setback law in a budget bill with no testimony or public input, and increased the setbacks enough that it has essentially halted commercial wind development in the state. The OECAF is supportive of this bill.

Senate Joint Resolution 5 (Huffman) – Congressional Redistricting The OEC and OECAF understands the importance of having a well functioning representative democracy. Bipartisan solutions are more likely when voters select their elected officials and not the other way around, and keeping communities together gives voters leverage to demand action on the pollution going into the neighborhood creek or attention to the quality of their air. That’s why the OEC was involved in negotiation a legislative end to partisan gerrymandering of Ohio’s congressional districts. We support SJR 5 and the upcoming ballot initiative on May 8 that will place this bipartisan map drawing process in Ohio’s constitution.

KEC Supports Off-Shore Wind

Kent Environmental Council
P.O. Box 395
Kent, Ohio 44240
Ohio Power Siting Board,

The purpose of this letter is to add the endorsement of the Kent Environmental Council for the proposed development of electrical generation using wind generators constructed in Lake Erie, by Windustrious Cleveland. Wind power is abundantly available over Lake Erie and unlike fossil fuels is not exhausted over time. Six wind generators are currently proposed for Lake Erie and will be located near the City of Cleveland, creating an efficient use of the wind resource without the loss of power inherent in long transmission lines. The proposed Lake Erie siting does not require large areas of land nor does it impinge on near-by residents or pose a threat to private land values. Further, the implementation of alternative energy sources will reduce pressure on our state parks and forests which are under the threat of gas and oil development.

The Kent Environmental Council has, since 1970, stood for the protection of the environment and all of its biological diversity. To that end recent studies have shown that birds and bats are not significantly affected by an off-shore wind farm: birds have learned to navigate these fields and bats do not typically frequent areas this far from land. Most importantly wind power does not contribute to climate instability but rather promotes a new power generating application that has been shown to be clean, safe and effective throughout Europe and around the world. By contrast, drilling for gas and oil requires millions of gallons of fresh water, which is then laced with dangerous chemicals for the fracking process. This water can never be returned to use but must be injected deep in the earth where it poses threats to the safety of our ground water and nearby residents. Coal, a principal fuel for centuries, is, and will continue to be, a threat to our climate and health.

Like energy from solar generation, the cost of wind energy and wind turbine installation has dropped dramatically and will continue to drop with increased adoption and manufacturing capacity. For all of these reasons the Kent Environmental Council strongly supports the Windustrious Cleveland initiative and looks forward to Ohio becoming a leader in the development and expansion of wind power, a source of good jobs and a brighter future.


Kent Environmental Council

KEC Gets a Big Surprise!

Yesterday, banjo legends Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn graced the Kent Stage with their presence and their music. It was a packed house, and an amazing concert as they start on their tour promoting their new album, Echo in the Valley. Earlier that afternoon, their assistant graced KEC treasurer, Bob Wilson, with her voice (but no music). While on tour, Fleck and Washburn make it a habit to recognize a local organization in each concert city and donate the proceeds from their merchandise table to that organization. In Kent, they chose Kent Environmental Council for this honor!

A big thank you to the Kent Stage for bringing Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn to Kent, a bigger thank you to Fleck and Washburn for recognizing the work that KEC does, and an even bigger thank you to the people at the Kent Stage who 1) know good music and support it, 2) support local businesses like the Stage, and 3) support the work that KEC does by buying some merchandise.

In case you didn’t get a chance to see the actual concert, here is a song from their new album. Come All You Coal Miners was written by Sarah Ogan Gunning, and tells of the life of a coal miner’s wife in the early twentieth century. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but it’s a great reminder that, while the push to move away from fossil fuels has many facets – environmental, social, political, and more – people concerned about the environment are not the only group to be in this fight and we have made significant improvements since the time of Gunning’s writing and activism. And if you’re a little bummed that we’re still trying to move toward safer, cleaner fuel sources after all this time, there’s an Echo in the Valley song for that, too, just search for ‘Don’t Let it Bring You Down’ (or better, buy the album).

First Annual Bog Day to celebrate National Public Lands Day!

On September 30th, Friends of the Kent Bog joined with Ohio Department of Natural Areas and Preserves, Portage Parks District, the Nature Conservancy, Kent State, and other groups to put on three wild hikes through the major public, protected ‘bogs’ in the Kent area- Kent Bog, Triangle Lake Bog, and Herrick Fen. With big thanks to everybody who made this happen, here are a few of the photos from the 30th. If you didn’t make it this year, maybe next year you can join us on Public Lands Day when we do this all over again.

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Kent Ballot Issue #8 Has KEC Support

The Kent Environmental Council endorses Issue 8, supporting the capital cost through the sale of bonds to build a Kent Health and Wellness Center on property on Haymaker Parkway and Middlebury Road.  This will be a community  health and wellness center that will provide space and programming across the life span.  While many  people use the health and wellness center at KSU, some community members are not comfortable sharing the space with college students, for whom it is primarily intended to serve and who fund it through their student activity fee.  A new facility will also provide  convenient space for youth sports programs during the winter months.  Kent Parks and Recreation is already renting space to provide space for youth programming in the colder months.  Also planned is leasing space to a medical partner, to provide seamless physical therapy and exercise programming for people recovering from injury or surgery, a critical factor in full recovery.  An indoor track is planned to allow for walking or running during the colder months.  Space is planned for programming directed at older citizens. The new facility’s location across from Fred Fuller park will allow for easy walking and bicycle access using the hike and bike trail, as well as the potential for outdoor rentals to enjoy outdoor recreation during the winter months.

The owner of a home valued at $100,000 will have a monthly cost of $7.43; a senior’s cost will be $5.57.  Staying healthy is an investment in your future and in the future of Kent.
More information can be found at the Parks and Rec website.

Regulatory Accountability Act

What follows is the text of the public address given by Dr. Robert Heath in Akron, Ohio on Wednesday, 20 September 2017, in opposition of H.R. Bill 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. The full text of the bill can be found here.

“Most recently I have served on the Lake Erie Phosphorous Objectives Review Panel (LEPOR), a committee of scientists appointed by and acting on behalf of the Science Advisory Board of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of that panel is to assure that the regulations and procedures for managing nutrient inputs into the lake are based on the best sound science currently available. The objective of those regulations is to control the development of of hazardous algal blooms which put toxins into the western basin of Lake Erie. Those toxins possess a direct threat to human health because millions of people on both sides of the US-Canadian border use Lake Erie as a source for drinking water. Cities that depend on Lake Erie as a drinking water source include Toledo and Cleveland. You may recall that those toxins caused a shutdown of drinking water in Toledo in August 2014.

There are two points I want to make regarding the regulatory process:

  1. It is a long, tedious process, necessarily involving input from numerous stakeholders, including scientific review and public comments. the LEPOR Panel was first convened in October 2014, shortly after the shutdown of the Toledo public water supply. The goal at that time was to have the regulations in place by 2018. It is now certain that the process will take even longer than originally intended. In the meanwhile, hazardous algal blooms continue to recur each year after year.
  2. Regulations are put in place to protect human health and welfare. It is true that often regulations result in costly upgrades to existing infrastructures, but end up providing greater economic benefits to Americans at large. For example, consider the Toledo water crisis. The necessary upgrade to the Toledo drinking water facilities cost over $1M, yet the cost of effectively shutting down the major city in northwestern Ohio for 4 days far exceeded that cost in lost revenue, jobs, and human efforts to find sufficient drinking water.

My concerns with the legislation proposed by Senator Portman are:

a. that it will greatly lengthen the duration of the regulatory process, conceivably bringing it to a standstill in an endless litigation process;

b. that it is unnecessary because the regulatory process already has sufficient opportunity for input by all stakeholders, including commercial interests; and

c. that it identifies ‘high impact rule’ and ‘major rule’ solely in economic terms, rather than focusing on the impact on human health or economic opportunity. By focusing solely on the economic impact of potential regulations it is intended to support and aggrandize economic interests of the relative few, while leaving the health and welfare of the general American public health in jeopardy.”


Democracy Day in Kent, 2017

On Thursday, 5 October 2017, Kent held its annual Democracy Day event, a chance for every citizen who wishes to speak out publicly and to City Council about the problems of money in politics. Chairman of Kent Environmental Council Lis Regula, and board member Ted Voneida both spoke out on how the infamous Citizens United ruling creates challenges for the environment. Lis’s words are found below, and Ted’s words came from Bob Heath’s address in Akron concerning the currently pending Regulatory Accountability Act and his concerns with this legislation.

“The US has the equal protection of rights as a central tenet to our identity as a nation, right alongside the freedom of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We have debated how to define rights and how to define citizen throughout our history, and I’ll again thank the city of Kent for extending those protected rights in Kent earlier this year. Today, however, I’m going to be focusing on that definition of citizens instead, or who exactly is entitled to those protected rights, because today’s definition of “person” is possibly different than what one might think.

As a biology teacher, I deal with how to define living things all the time. We define life as something that uses energy to grow and reproduce, responds and adapts to its environment, maintains homeostasis, and is made of cells. I think most of us would probably agree that humans fit that description, and that humans in the US have the freedoms set forth in our Bill of Rights. However, today corporations also enjoy those protected freedoms. This has not been an overnight occurrence, and in fact has been a slow, gradual process beginning with the Santa Clara County versus Southern Pacific Railroad ruling of 1886 which granted the 14th amendment and equal protection under the law to corporations. In 1906, the Hale versus Henkel decision extended the 4th amendment preventing unreasonable search and seizure to corporations. This trend continued with the 1976 Buckley versus Valeo ruling which granted 1st amendment protections to corporations, and culminated in the infamous 2010 Citizens United decision that ruled money as a protected speech.

Which brings us to today’s Democracy in Kent. Living organisms like humans require a few things in order to stay living, such as clean air to breathe, a source of nutrition for building and repairing our cells, clean water to help maintain our homeostasis. Without access to these things, living organisms are highly likely to weaken, fall ill, and eventually cease to live, or die. Corporations do not suffer this same affliction of dependency on the natural environment. Corporations are legal constructs, which right now have similar rights to humans, and can control vast amounts of wealth. One right that corporations yet lack is the right of the vote, however, since 2010 and the Citizens United decision, corporations have been able to spend unprecedented amounts of money to influence how actual people *do* vote, usually so as to elect representatives and legislation that benefits those corporations.

This is dangerous because corporations do not have those limiting requirements that humans do. As legal constructs they continue to exist, participate in the economy, and influence our political process without regard to the availability of those things necessary for living organisms. They may choose to act responsibly, or they may not, but they cannot be jailed and cannot die because of a degraded environment in the way that a living thing can. Corporations may not have the vote, but they have the money to influence the votes that matter.

At the same time, voter purges, gerrymandering, and restrictive voter ID laws across the country restrict the right of the vote for more and more humans, especially humans from historically oppressed classes. Those same groups of people are the people who have had to deal the most with environmental injustice, thanks to Not in My Backyard or NIMBY, attitudes. We have a system today in which essentially immortal corporations, that do not require any amount of environmental sustainability, have more ability to influence decision making within our government than humans, and especially people who have the least power in society who are also left to deal with the messes made by those corporations. Is that the democracy that we want?”

– Lis Regula