13-year-old persuades governor to veto plastic bag bill

Staff Report

CHICAGO — Illinois student Abby Goldberg, joined by more than 170,000 people who signed her petition on Change.org, has persuaded Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to veto Senate Bill 3442, the “Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act,” a proposed law that would have prohibited communities in Illinois from enacting bans on plastic bags.

Gov. Quinn, who vetoed the bill Sunday, Aug. 26, credited Golberg with raising awareness about the implications of the proposed law, and thanked Goldberg for her work to protect the environment in Illinois.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Quinn met with Goldberg personally when the 13-year-old girl delivered her petition to the governor in Chicago.

I’ve learned that no matter what your age, you can make a difference,” said Goldberg after the governor’s decision. “Gov. Quinn heard a loud and clear message from more than 170,000 people that local communities should have the right to enact plastic bag bans in Illinois. I’m very proud of everyone who came together to call for a veto of this bill.”

Last spring, Goldberg, a student at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, Ill., was given the assignment in her environmental awareness class to design an environmental project. She decided to persuade her village board to enact a ban on plastic bags, similar to bans in Seattle, Los Angeles and elsewhere. When Goldberg learned 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 Gov. Quinn took a stand for the environment in vetoing this bill.”

Goldberg’s campaign on Change.org is yet another example of students using the online platform to create change. Earlier this summer, three high school students from New Jersey successfully petitioned the Commission on Presidential Debates to name the first woman presidential debate moderator in 20 years, and just last week, a 10-year-old in California inspired smoothie giant Jamba Juice to publicly commit to a timeline for phasing out Styrofoam cups in their stores.

Abby should be extremely proud that she was able to rally tens of thousands of people, and successfully persuade Gov. Quinn to veto this bill,” said Mike Jones, deputy campaign director with Change.org. “It’s just another example of how students across the country are using Change.org to make a difference in their community, city and state. Abby’s campaign was extremely popular, and touched a nerve with people all throughout Illinois and the United States.”

From the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2012, issue

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