For most of us, the closest we ever get to thinking about our energy system is when we pay our utility bill or fill our gas tank.
But at a recent event in Springfield, over 70 attendees considered their relationship to energy more deeply, including how it’s made, who makes it, who it impacts, how we pay for it, and where it should come from. Engaging communities in these conversations is the focus of United Methodist Women’s Just Energy for All campaign. The attendees were United Methodist Women leaders who came from all over the United States to learn how they can be advocates for clean and renewable energy.
The group heard from a number of organizations working for justice and equity in energy, including the NAACP and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, about how clean energy such as solar and wind is accessible and affordable, and the jobs and economic opportunities available.
The clean energy economy is gaining momentum in Illinois. Passed in 2016, the Future Energy Jobs Act is creating remarkable renewable energy and energy efficiency growth in the state. It’s time to build on that progress with the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill in Springfield rooted in equity. CEJA puts Illinois on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050, while increasing energy efficiency and ensuring access to good job opportunities across the state, while protecting our health and our planet for future generations.
The health of women, children and youth has been the focus of United Methodist Women for our 150-year history. In the recently released “Worst Cities for African Americans” assessment, Illinois ranks poorly. Four Illinois cities landed in the top ten: Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, and Danville. Gaps in education, health outcomes, income and home ownership are of deep concern, and negatively impact our most vulnerable citizens. Most of these communities are affected by energy transition.
In order to make sure the benefits of this new economy reach all communities, it’s vital Illinois residents ask their legislators help pass CEJA. And it’s important those in other Midwestern states advocate for similar policies. To learn more about the Clean Energy Jobs Act, visit ilcleanjobs.org. And to learn more about United Methodist Women’s Just Energy for All campaign, visit unitedmethodistwomen.org/just-energy-for-all.
Illinois Great Rivers Conference United Methodist Women