‘The Walk for Green Jobs & Justice, a 100-mile trek through the five counties served by energy supplier PECO, reached Swarthmore on May 10, and marchers in the interfaith effort had reason to celebrate. Locals and visitors cheered as Dana Robinson of EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team) announced that Swarthmore has called upon PECO to “substantially increase” the amount of solar energy it sells. Swarthmore’s Resolution No. 2017-05, passed on May 8 by Borough Council, also urges PECO to create jobs installing rooftop solar panels in local communities with high unemployment.
Swarthmore residents Sue Edwards and Barbara Benton greeted Robinson’s words with enthusiasm. Edwards recently installed solar panels on her home, and Benton wants to see solar panels installed “everywhere we could put them.” Swarthmoreans Joan Urban, George Edwards and Lee Smithey and Media resident George Alexander joined the march to Media for a rally celebrating the “green transition” under way in our area. Joan Urban said: “The walk provided wonderful moments for conversation and connection and also an empowering opportunity to broaden our movement in the five-county area. The transition to a more just and sustainable economy is an achievable vision.”
The Walk is part of the “Power Local Green Jobs” campaign by EQAT and POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild). The solar industry already employs more Americans than coal and natural gas combined, but Pennsylvania ranks just 43rd among the states in solar jobs per capita. EQAT and POWER want to see PECO combat unemployment and climate change by training and hiring local residents to install enough rooftop solar panels to generate 20% of its energy by 2025.
The two-week journey will culminate on Monday, May 22; all are welcome to join marchers at Philadelphia’s City Hall at 12:30 p.m. for the final short walk to PECO headquarters for a concluding rally.