As rebels and campaigners for climate justice, EQAT set out to call PECO into action on the climate crisis. For the past six years, we’ve been pushing PECO to invest in our communities through local solar and green jobs. Because of our bold vision and actions, PECO has taken significant steps that have boosted the local solar economy and put some investment in job creation for black and brown community members. Even though these steps are incremental to the bigger vision we believe PECO can hold, it’s clear that the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign has gotten PECO moving.
Last month, EQATers came together to organize our neighbors in Norristown, PA to speak truth to power. This was our second action around PECO’s proposal to increase rates by 10% for our region - a decision that would overwhelm our low-income neighbors who have been hit with economic hardship from the pandemic and who feel the burden of both a changing climate and fossil fuel extraction.
On July 20 I was eager to join EQAT members in another “Stop the PECO rate hike!” action. This one was in Norristown—not on the sidewalk outside PECO headquarters—and the goal was to inform folks about the 10% increase in rates PECO was requesting.
We are all future ancestors. Whether or not we have children, what we do now will have profound effects on so many people for generations to come. That’s why we were honored to be joined by the 2021 Walk for Our Grandchildren and Mother Earth, a weeklong march of grandparents from Scranton, PA to Wilmington, DE who stopped at dirty energy sites and fossil fuel funders throughout the march route to support local groups fighting for a livable world, now and for future generations.
One day in early June, we gathered outside of City Hall, with live music around the corner and the warm sun shining. Many of us were excited to be there, taking action in person for the first time in far too long. We were there to oppose an outrageous move by PECO -- a request to raise electrical rates by almost 10%, as many families continue to struggle with economic effects of the pandemic and as utility costs drive them deeper into debt.
Cold, dark, hungry. Not my usual experience going into an EQAT action! Last week volunteers and supporters of the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign participated in a week of action. We fasted, prayed and held short vigils at PECO headquarters to express our disappointment with PECO’s DSP - PECO's plan to not plan for climate change or justice. Each day, small groups of us, socially distancing and wearing masks, appeared at PECO headquarters at a different time with signs to highlight PECO’s failure to make a climate plan. PECO reacted differently each day, but they were clearly not happy to be reminded that we have not gone away.
Last week, EQAT members hosted an “Equatic Action”, sending a canoe catamaran and a flotilla of kayaks up the Schuylkill river to PECO's headquarters. Check out this report back from Board member Dana Robinson about the action:
Yesterday was the first kick-off meeting of the Racial Justice Praxis Cohorts. Twenty-six EQATers came together to begin the process of Learning, Acting, and Reflecting that will carry us through this four-part series. EQAT members engaged spiritually and intentionally with being anti-racist as individuals, an organization, and a society, and to lay the groundwork for the actions we will take in this program. Facilitators Dwight, Lina, and Monty put together an amazing session, and set us off with resources to begin this journey.
As campaigners at the intersection of racial, economic, and environmental justice, pandemics, uprisings, and heatwaves keep reinforcing what's at stake in our work. During our Summer of Values and Solidarity, we want to go deeper in our learning specifically on the theme of racial justice, and how it animates our campaign, our lives, and rising to join Black Lives Matter actions in solidarity.
In the midst of an activated landscape, this month has been a big moment for the Power Local Green Jobs campaign. For the first time in years, PECO was forced to listen to the concerns community members had on its proposed Default Service Program. For an unprecedented four and a half hours, state representatives, city officials, community leaders, experts, grandparents, neighbors all went on the record to voice their dissatisfaction with PECO’s plan. Participants demanded PECO make a plan to procure 20% of its electricity from local solar by 2025, cover the cost of any transition to solar instead of passing it off to ratepayers, and take the necessary steps to procure electricity that ensures a sustainable and just future for us all.