Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them. ~Author Unknown
When I read the LA TImes article on Monday about a small town in Idaho where a group of high school students had worked to put a measure on the ballot to ban plastic bags, I was filled with hope. These students who lived in the mountains thousands of miles away from the pacific ocean actually cared and wanted to something about the Great Pacific Garbage patch which contains plastic debris and is reported to be more than twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. According to the LA Times article which interviewed Chase England, a junior in High School who worked on the campaign, the students wanted to do more than talk about the environment.
The students organized and went to their local City Council, but unfortunately, those arguments fell on deaf ears. Unlike the Malibu City Council which voted 5-0 to ban the bag back in 2008, Hailey City Council told the students to collect signatures for a referendum. This referendum was voted on by their parents and all individuals over the age of 18 yesterday, November 8, 2011.
The debate over whether to pass the ban on plastic bags pitted the students against Goliath – - – referred to as “big guns” in the article and the Hilex Poly Co. which operates a plant that makes bags in Jerome, Idaho. The big guns spent a “tons” of money during the campaign – multiple ads in paper, radio and on TV and bulk mailers. The Bag the Ban website alleges 125 jobs might be at risk.
Today, when I went to view the results of that small town election, I learned that the Ban the Bag measure had failed by 166 votes. 571 people voted yes. 737 people voted no.
I hope that these students will not be disappointed by their loss, but instead be inspired. The future of America lies with these students. Even if they are in the minority now, and are not allowed to vote today, they will be able to vote in the proverbial tomorrow. I am hopeful that all of the students will turn their frown upside down, and be excited about registering to vote in Hailey and in all US elections.
In addition, I hope this failure will also hopefully inspire all other students. They will have a voice and a vote when they turn 18. Use it!