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.
It's hard to believe it's only been two months since the COVID-19 crisis began sweeping through our communities. However, this pandemic has also illuminated why our vision for an accessible and just solar transition is necessary. It hasn't been easy to adjust to our new landscape, the future has looked bleak and uncertain while the conditions for how we take action have shifted dramatically. Despite all of this, we have continued to keep the pressure on PECO.
Horns blaring and banners flying, EQAT took action today while Exelon executives insisted to shareholders that their profits are sacrosanct.
A word about COVID-19: We should be taking all possible precautions, and we can hold those who are impacted even more than others in our hearts: those who are disabled, have compromised immune systems, are struggling to keep up with child care or have to go to work, who lost or will lose jobs, and those who are on the front lines of caring for all who are ill.
This moment is also reminding us of the life and death stakes we are fighting for in our campaign. We need to transform our energy system so that shut offs are a thing of the past, so that air pollution and climate change are no longer endangering public health, and so that everyone has a good job.
March is a big month.
PECO will be submitting its Default Service Program (DSP) to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), which will show how it plans to buy its electricity over the next two to four years. Why does this matter? Because the DSP will indicate whether PECO has committed to a plan towards 20% local solar by 2025, or if it will continue to choose its profit over climate and the people of this region.
It's 2020 and I'm reminded of the urgency of climate change. This month, we continue to witness the fires that consume the wildlife and ancestral homelands of Australia's First Nation people. We continue to hear the cries of a global youth climate movement calling for government accountability. And yet corporations like PECO sit back - recklessly choosing inaction in the face of climate crisis, globally, and economic injustice, locally.
As we approach winter, utilities like PECO make plans to prepare for weather disasters. But we need PECO plan for climate disaster! On Wednesday, December 11th we will be taking action at three PECO locations demanding it make a plan for climate crisis.
These are transformational times. In the last couple months, young people have been in the streets protesting political dominance, corporate exploitation, climate crisis, and indigenous sovereignty. As we bear witness to this global groundswell, I am reminded of the importance of our work.
Yesterday, over 60 adults and elders descended on PECO’s headquarters with a pressing question: “Climate is changing. Why isn’t PECO?” These activists, including educators and grandparents, were moved to action by the tremendous call of youth leaders around the world, and in particular the thousands of children who poured into the streets of Philadelphia this past Friday, for the #YouthClimateStike.