Some time after the W2O event “Plastics in the Ocean, Plastics in You,” I remember stumbling upon information about Abby Goldberg, better known in the conservation world and on her Facebook page as “Activist Abby.” I was so impressed to find out that this then 13 year old had gathered 174,000 signatures to protest a bill that would block the introduction of bans of single use plastic bags in the Illinois legislature.
Abby lives in a small picturesque town north of Chicago where her neighbors meet during summer at a lake for swimming and recreation. She is an avid horse back rider and would like to someday study marine biology. She says that when she was in seventh grade, she was spurred into action by a school project called “CP” or “Culminating Project.” She choose plastic bags as her topic because she lives less than a mile from a landfill and sees plastic bags on the local beach and hiking trails. She feels like they “go mostly unnoticed” by her community and friends. She thought she would introduce a plastic bag ban in her town. Area petroleum and chemical manufacturing companies countered with a different plan. After some research and with help from her family and environmental groups, Abby made it her mission to collect signatures to protest the bill that they introduced and that she thought would make banning single use plastic bags give way to “down cycling.” She knows that plastic is forever. After all her hard work, her meeting with then Governor Quinn to present him with the signed petition made national news and helped to convince him to veto the bill.
Recently, Chicago, just south of Abby’s town, passed a bill to ban single use plastic bags that will go into effect in August of 2015. Abby will be watching and working to spread the word to the rest of the state of Illinois. She won’t stop there, though. Abby would like everyone everywhere to ban single use plastic.
“Activist” Abby is the perfect name for this articulate now 14 year old high school student with thousands of new “friends” sharing an important message about refusing single use plastic. She is an inspiration! Take her advice: “You’re never too young (or old) to make a difference.”