A solution here in Philadelphia

There’s a lot to love about Philly. We’ve got historic buildings, and an impressive assortment of diverse communities. Good cheesesteaks, and better roast pork sandwiches. The Mummers, and the Carnavaleros. Rocky, and Will Smith. The Eagles, and (some years) the Phillies.

What we don’t have a lot of, is investment in our communities’ basic infrastructure. And it’s hurting us.

The unemployment rate in our city is higher than the national average. Our schools have fallen beyond disrepair and into near ruin. We are closing schools, but building new jails. We have more abandoned houses than homeless people. Pools and libraries, long gathering places for communities, are increasingly under attack.

What if a major solution to the chronic disinvestment in our communities wasn’t in Washington, or even Harrisburg, but rather right here, at 23rd and Market?

Earth Quaker Action Team is joining up with allies across the city to call for a new investment, designed to spark a change in some of the city’s most neglected neighborhoods. Our new Power Local Green Jobs campaign is a challenge to our local electric company, PECO, to step up and invest in our community, which is their community too.

The state government is mandating that in 2016 energy companies source and additional 0.01% of their energy from solar power. It’s not much, but it’s a good start towards a healthier planet. Here’s our proposal: PECO should buy that electricity here, in Philly.

PECO could encourage local companies to hire unemployed electricians, unionized workers, and people of color to install solar panels on their ratepayers’ roofs. They could fund training programs in solar panel installation and repair for students in the Philly public schools. And it all could start in one of the most historically neglected neighborhoods, North Philly. Think of all the union jobs, all the community investment, all the income, all the local green power that could be generated by such a plan.

And maybe in the process PECO would even exceed the bare minimum targets for renewable energy -- which can only help our burning planet.

So far, the company’s implied that it has to talk to it’s Chicago-based parent company (Exelon),. And even then, they are dragging their feet.

We know it’s never easy to forsake your fossil fuel friends and buck your bosses, but that’s what it’s going to take for PECO to invest deeply in the community where they’re headquartered.

We are going to be there, pushing PECO to join us, with union workers, with students, with poor people, to power local green jobs here in the City of Brotherly Love. It all starts next Wednesday, September 16th at 1:15pm (meeting at 30th and Market), when you can join us as we march to PECO’s headquarters and call for them to be a part of the local green jobs puzzle.

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