Lake Erie Now Has the Same Legal Rights as a Person in Toledo, Ohio

iStock.com/Susan Vineyard
iStock.com/Susan Vineyard

For the first time in history, a body of water has the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen. As The Hill reports, voters in Toledo, Ohio passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights at the end of February in an effort to curb pollution in the great lake.

Lake Erie borders four states and Canada, and it provides drinking water to 12 million people. It touches several metro areas, including Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Buffalo, which leaves it vulnerable to pollution. In August 2014, residents of Toledo, Ohio were advised to stop drinking tap water for three days after chemical fertilizer runoff triggered toxic algae blooms in the lake.

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights aims to prevent similar incidents from happening again by allowing Toledo citizens to sue government or business entities on behalf of the water source. According to the legislation, the Lake Erie ecosystem has the legal right "to exist, flourish and naturally evolve" without being harmed by human activity.

Sixty-one percent of Toledo voters approved the measure in a special election held on February 26. Though Toledo makes up a small part of the Lake Erie basin, its shallow depth and high temperature make it one of the most ecologically diverse parts of the lake and the area most vulnerable to pollution. Environmentalists are hailing the law as a success for the people of Toledo and a big step in the growing rights of nature movement.

Even though the law was approved, there are critics fighting to make sure it never takes effect. Detractors have called the legislation anti-business, saying it will hurt farmers and kill jobs. The morning after the law was passed, the Drewes Family Farm in Custar, Ohio filed the first lawsuit challenging it for being unconstitutional.

[h/t The Hill]

Dream Job Alert: You Can Live and Work in Yellowstone National Park This Fall

iStock/haveseen
iStock/haveseen

Geysers. Charismatic wildlife. Camping. A supervolcano. Yellowstone National Park is home to so many things to see and do that you’d practically have to be embedded there to experience it all. Now, some will have a unique opportunity to live and work on the grounds this fall.

For the past year, the Helping Hands program at the park has recruited applicants to stay at one of the Yellowstone National Park lodges run by the Xanterra Travel Collection. The program offers part-time, short-term park jobs for people seeking to explore Yellowstone in greater depth. Workers spend about 20 hours a week working food service, housekeeping, and other duties and are able to stay in low-cost dorm-style accommodations. Meals are provided for a small biweekly fee. The rooms don’t have many amenities—there’s no television and Wi-Fi is slow—but you certainly won't be at a loss for things to do.

The five-week program begins for two groups on September 5 and 12 and lasts through October 15. In addition to lodging, workers also receive a $10.10 hourly wage. You can submit an application at the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website.

Make Shopping Easier With This Super-Light Reusable Bag

Nanobag 3.0
Nanobag 3.0

With the current state of our environment being what it is, it's vital to try to reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible. Every year, people consume billions of plastic bags, leading to tons of unnecessary waste. Many consumers have made the switch to reusable bags, but they're often not the sturdiest nor most attractive method of portage.

The Nanobag 3.0, which is now raising money on Kickstarter, claims to be a comfortable, easy-to-fold, high-quality bag that can reduce the number of single-use plastic bags needed per year. This super-soft sack can easily fit into the smallest of places, like the watch pocket in your jeans.

Putting a bag into the watch pocket of jeans
Nanobag 3.0

Weighing just 0.7 ounces, the Nanobag 3.0 is made of water- and dirt-repellant rip-stop fabric. You can carry about 66 pounds of goods in its 18-liter capacity, and the bag's reinforced handles work to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulder or arm. Attached to the bag is a small pouch that can carry keys or a small wallet, so you can have all your essentials in one place.

For each bag sold, one tree will be planted with the Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that restores forests and reduces poverty in developing nations.

With over a month left in its campaign, the Nanobag 3.0 has already exceeded its goal of $3,831, raising over $73,000 as of June 17. By pledging $10 or more, you can get your own ultra-light and ultra-strong reusable bag on Kickstarter. Shipping is scheduled for December.

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