Okay, I'll admit it... I didn't wake up in the best mood today, certainly not my springiest, energized or most extroverted self. But I grabbed my green EQAT-emblazoned t-shirt that was strewn across my dresser and I greeted a minivan full of fellow Earth Quakers anyway. And I'm so glad I did!
Today, our job was to show up at the PECO-sponsored "Run for Clean Air", an annual event that is put on by the Clean Air Council. We brought along a delightful replica of a row home, the classic Philadelphia architecture style that is so common especially in North Philly (many thanks to our art team!). We had hundreds of flyers and solar panel images and plenty of craft supplies. And we had some "carnival barkers" (that was me and a handful of others) who went out into the crowd and found volunteers to put solar panels on our building.
Much to my surprise, our very best volunteers were kids (!) and the littler, the better. While tots colored in solar panels in front of the Art Museum steps, us adults had the chance to engage their parents, and a bunch of athletic students, in substantive dialogue about Philadelphia's energy future and the potential for green jobs AND renewable energy. That's what POWER LOCAL GREEN JOBS is all about! The resounding response we got from Philadelphians was, "wow, that's a no-brainer! PECO should get moving!" We had conversations with around 100 people about our campaign. Forty people decorated solar panels, which quickly outgrew our rooftop space and started to decorate the whole building!
So, what about PECO? Well, there were some representatives present and we sent a team of EQATers over to discuss our demand and ask them to join us in symbolically building a rooftop solar array. Even though they declined to participate, they did commit to writing about our action in the report that they will send to the Education division of PECO.
Here's OUR report: Philadelphians and PECO ratepayers overwhelmingly support renewable energy and green jobs. They see the connections between climate change and economic injustice. They are ready for an economy that has more opportunities for more people, and that stops destroying communities and the Earth.
On May 2, PECO will decide whether or not they will buy their next increment of solar energy from rooftop solar panels, starting in North Philly. We'll be there on May 10 ready to celebrate their decision or escalate our campaign if they make the wrong choice.
I know I said that I woke up in a crabby mood, but now I'm feeling hopeful. There's still time for PECO to do the right thing. And today, I had the chance to talk with dozens of families about Power Local Green Jobs and only heard positive responses. Let's keep building together! I'll see you on May 10!