100-Mile “Walk for Green Jobs & Justice” to Traverse Chester, Swarthmore and Media May 9-10
Things have not been the same at PECO’s Center City headquarters since the launch of the Power Local Green Jobs campaign in September 2015. On more than a dozen occasions, members of EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team) and POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) have gathered in the company’s lobby and plaza with the message that it is not OK for less than 1% of the electricity that PECO sells to come from solar energy.
The Power Local Green Jobs campaign calls upon the utility to reach a level of 20% solar by 2025, and to do so by prioritizing rooftop solar generation in high-unemployment communities and the training and hiring of local residents as solar panel installers. Nationally, the solar industry already employs more Americans than coal and natural gas combined, but not in PA. The state ranks a dismal 43rd in solar jobs per capita.
PECO’s response to the campaign has been hesitant to say the least and the company has resisted producing any good-faith plan for solarization and green jobs. Power Local Green Jobs hopes to change that. A 100-mile Walk for Green Jobs and Justice will take the campaign to all five Philadelphia-area counties, starting Monday May 8th. Over a two-week period, several dozen walkers will connect with local residents, members of organizations such as Transition Town Media, and local officials to share ideas about accelerating the region’s transition to a greener and more equitable economy.
“Children need sustainability in their homes, they need sustainability in the air they breathe, they need sustainability in their future. This is an issue of basic rights to good jobs and a clean environment. PECO needs to uphold that,” said Dana Robinson, a Lansdowne-resident and volunteer with the Green Jobs campaign.
The Walk for Green Jobs and Justice will travel from Chester through Swarthmore to Media on May 10, arriving at Media’s Borough Hall in mid-afternoon for a 5:15 rally to celebrate local solarization successes and to draw connections between local initiatives and the larger regional issues of reducing Philadelphia’s carbon footprint and including marginalized communities in the transition to a green economy. Details about the Walk are at eqat.org/walk.
Power Local Green Jobs is a faith-based economic justice campaign led by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Begun in 2015, the campaign uses nonviolent direct action to pressure PECO, the largest utility in PA, to spur job growth through solar expansion in areas with high unemployment. Learn more at www.eqat.org and www.powerinterfaith.org.