Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The scariest 12-year-old in Illinois




I never expected that a school project would make me an enemy of giant plastics companies. After all, I'm only 12.
But when my friends and I learned that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, causing huge amounts of litter and pollution, we knew we had to do something. Cities like Austin and Los Angeles have made a huge dent by banning plastic bags, so we started a school project to ban plastic bags in our town, Grayslake, Illinois.
Things were going really well... until the plastic industry started lobbying for a bill that would prevent people like me in every town in Illinois (except Chicago) from taking actions to reduce plastic bag litter. Seriously?? These corporations have no business telling towns like mine that we can't make decisions for ourselves.
The bill -- SB 3442 -- has already passed the Illinois House and Senate. Our last chance to stop it from becoming law is to convince Governor Pat Quinn to veto it.
One thing that makes me especially angry is that the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents the companies that manufacture plastic bags, has said that SB 3442 could be "a model bill" for all states. That means that they could push their corporate interests all over America, preventing kids like me and towns like mine from taking action to stop pollution.
Well, the corporations may be afraid of me, but I'm not afraid of them. I know that if thousands of people sign my petition, Governor Quinn will see that the public doesn't want these big corporations telling our towns what we can and cannot do. And when we win, that veto will be a signal to Big Plastic that they had better not expect to take their bill to other states without a fight.
Thanks for helping me with my project -- and helping all towns fight pollution.
- Abby Goldberg


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