Governor Quinn: Don't let big plastic bully me!
That is how 12-year-old Abby Goldberg of Grayslake titled her online petition against plastic bags. As of June 30, the petition has collected 152,376 signatures from around the country. And the numbers keep growing.
The petition states: "Once again, big corporations are trying to use big government to control the rights of citizens in towns all over America, but this time you can help me stop it!"
It continues to talk about how she wanted to get a ban of plastic bags approved for her hometown, but then faced a bigger fight: "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!”
Goldberg said the issue is about the bags, and big government.
"It's about small towns trying to say what they want to do," she said. "The plastic bags are really bad for the environment. I chose to try to get plastic bags banned in my town. This bill would stop that."
The elementary school activist at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake said she is excited by the response to her campaign at http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-quinn-don-t-let-big-plastic-bully-me.
"I'm so surprised," Goldberg said. "It makes me feel great because I know that my efforts have really made an impact. No matter how old you are, you can still do good things if you put your mind to it."
The Fate of the Bill
Change.org stated that SB 3442 has passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate and would make it illegal for towns across Illinois to create plastic bag bans.
The bill is now on Quinn’s desk. He has not indicated whether he plans to sign the bill so Goldberg is mobilizing support to urge him to veto the measure.
“Kids and adults like me are standing up to big oil and big plastic, creating bans everywhere, including in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Seattle, Austin, and more. Communities should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to ban single-use plastic bags, including here in Illinois,” Goldberg stated.
Supporters of SB 3442 have said that they hope this can be model legislation for other states, which could effectively limit the ability of communities nationwide to pass bans on plastic bags.
Social Media Activism
“Young people like Abby Goldberg are using Change.org to level the playing field against big companies and big lobbyists,” stated Mike Jones, deputy campaign director at Change.org.
"This has become one of our most popular petitions," he said. "This is an issue that certainly engages people. It attracts people who are concerned about the environmental impacts of plastic bags, and others who care about government not being able to tell people what to do."
Change.org is a platform for petitions about almost anything. Jones said they have nearly 15 million users overall from throughout the United States and in 10 countries around the world.
"In general, there are about 10,000 petitions started on change.org per month," Jones said. "Several stay small. Abby's is one of the ones that really hit a nerve."
Live signature totals from Abby Goldberg’s campaign: