There were some obvious and even historic ways in which nature was on the ballot this year in the United States:
- Orange County, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment to give rights to two rivers to be free from pollution. By a margin of 89 percent, voters approved "the right to sue corporate polluters in court, without having to show they have been personally harmed, as state law requires." The state legislature's preemption of local jurisdiction regarding rights of nature may not be an obstacle if it is ruled unconstitutional in a case currently before the courts.
- American participation in the Paris Agreement, the climate accord reached by the world's governments in 2015, was also on the ballot indirectly. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement. Trump's opponent, Joe Biden, pledged to have the United States rejoin.
- Numerous conservation millages, like this one in Washtenaw County, Michigan, were approved by voters for various conservation projects such as tree planting, protecting habitat and assisting efforts to keep surface and groundwater clean.
What we may not realize is that nature is always on the ballot everywhere. But our awareness of that fact is only now bubbling to the surface of political consciousness. Even those who have no wish to accommodate the supposed needs of nature are actually acknowledging those needs by opposing them—usually by saying that human needs are more important.
But therein lies the contradiction in our thinking. For surely we humans are as much a part of nature and everything we attribute to it. As I've written before, one of tenets of the crumbling system of modernism is that humans are in one category and nature is in another. Now the word "nature" has been much abused and misused. So, we need something else. French thinker Bruno Latour has suggested "parliament of things."