We have a campaign name!
It’s been a busy month for EQAT. Since the Board decided on the new campaign direction, dozens of EQATers have been researching, planning in meetings, and taking part in street speaking actions here in Philadelphia. Also, President Obama launched a major initiative to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. Momentum is growing behind solar nationally!
At the EQAT general meeting yesterday evening, we announced some exciting progress on the new named campaign, Power Local Green Jobs! In this campaign, we are challenging energy corporations to take responsibility for creating jobs and combatting climate change by making a major shift to locally generated solar rooftop power for electricity. In the first phase, we are calling on PECO, the Philadelphia region’s utility corporation to:
- Buy their 2016 required solar energy increase from panels installed on Philadelphia roofs
- Prioritize the suitable roofs found in North Philadelphia, a low income community of color devastated by decades of racial discrimination and lack of positive economic development.
- Prioritize installation by companies training and employing local workers, especially unionized workers and people of color from high unemployment areas of North Philadelphia.
At this early stage, we’ve chosen to start small and focus on one neighborhood where there is ample roof space to meet the solar requirement and where we already have relationships with residents who are working to increase installation of rooftop solar in their community. Over 22,000 people in North Philadelphia alone -- 19% of residents -- live in ‘deep poverty,’ meaning they often must live without running water, electricity or heat for long time periods. Income from rooftop solar energy production and jobs installing the panels will provide a crucial source of income to help residents move out of poverty and gain access to these critical services.
After this year, we will expand this call to increase solar purchases from high-unemployment areas. If you want to read the full demands or learn more about this opportunity to support racial, economic, and climate justice go to our campaign.
Though the campaign has just begun, we’ve already seen an outpouring of enthusiasm from individuals and groups not previously involved with EQAT, excited about this campaign’s opportunity to challenge income inequality and promote the growing solar revolution.
Information about the first major action is coming soon!
Matthew Armstead, EQAT Coordinator
PS. As we begin work on this new campaign, we continue to see the powerful ramifications of our Bank Like Appalachia Matters (BLAM!) Campaign, which helped turn the tide against the deadly practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Earlier this week, Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal mining companies financed by PNC and involved in mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, filed for bankruptcy! This work has an impact.