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Empowered Kids: 13-Year-Old Fights for Plastic Bag Bans and Wins!


It’s hard not be cynical sometimes listening to the rhetoric of politicians, especially during the current presidential election.  How do we continue to feel inspired to move beyond change in our own lives to the larger good?  How do we encourage our children to hold their ideals close to their hearts in the face of a world that is mostly jaded to their environmental concerns and controlled by big business?

Abby Goldberg!  She’s a role model and inspiration for all!

This 13-year-old has taken on the issue of plastic bags. Eco Watch reports:

Last Spring, Goldberg, a student at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, Illinois, was given the assignment in her environmental awareness class to design an environmental project. She decided to convince her village board to enact a ban on plastic bags, similar to bans in Seattle, Los Angeles and elsewhere. When Goldberg learned that a bill was moving through the state government to prevent Grayslake and other towns from enacting such a ban in their own communities, she took action.

“I couldn’t sit by quietly while big plastic tried to push this bill through my state,” said Goldberg. “I care too much about animals, our environment and our future natural resources to be silent. That’s why I took action, and why I’m so thankful that Governor Quinn took a stand for the environment in vetoing this bill.”

Abby started a petition on change.org aimed at “Governor Pat Quinn to veto SB 3442, the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act, a proposed law that would have prohibited communities in Illinois from enacting bans on plastic bags.”   170,000 people signed the petition, and Abby hand delivered it to the governor.  According to her petition Governor Quinn: Don’t Let Big Plastic Bully Me!:

My name is Abby Goldberg, and as a 13-year-old girl who, after seeing the devastation that millions of plastic bags have caused the environment and ocean life, I made my school project this year to be getting a local ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in my home town Grayslake, IL.

My friends and I were making great progress, until the oil and chemical industry pulled a dirty trick to kill my campaign; these lobbyists used the politicians that they bought to pass a bill that would make it illegal for towns across Illinois to create plastic bag bans! Even worse, they’re trying to make it look like a green environmental bill, by putting in a few ridiculously-low requirements for so-called “recycling” of plastic bags, and are bragging they’re going to make it “a model bill for all states!”

As a child, I would feel nauseous when reading Greenpeace’s magazine.  I wish Change.org would have been around then, or the adults in my world would have helped me feel empowered instead of helpless.  Thank you Abby!  You are a true hero!

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