Why do clean elections matter for the environment?
From climate change to clean water, from healthy forests to safer food, progress on our most important environmental priorities is being crippled by the outsized role of money in politics. In particular, unbridled corporate funding of electoral campaigns has put politicians in the pocket of polluters.
If we want effective environmental policies, we have to reduce the undue influence that oil companies, corporate polluters and big lobby groups have in blocking good laws from being passed and influencing passage of bills that hurt the public.
One important way to clean up the electoral process is by providing public money for use in election campaigns. Public funds allow candidates to rely less on polluter money to pay for campaigns, and more on donations from grassroots constituents. It helps equalize the playing field between big polluters and ordinary voters, and end the “pay to play” culture of today’s politics.
Why would cleaner elections matter for the planet? In poll after poll, voters say that they care about the environment, but it’s hard to get elected officials to take the lead on and support environmental legislation. Environmental issues often end up taking a back seat to the political priorities proffered by big corporate donors. And by the same token, politicians who are the biggest recipients of polluter money often go to great lengths to quash pro-environment bills. Getting big money out of elections would help give environmental issues a fair shake in government.