Climate Now: Powering Chinatown’s energy resilience

It’s Earth Week on The Common. And in honor of our home planet, we’re bringing you a special series. Every day this week, we’re exploring what climate change looks and feels like in Greater Boston, and how it’s impacting our communities, right now.

Today’s destination: Chinatown.

In Boston’s Chinatown, you don’t have to look far to see how climate change is already affecting the lives of residents. The neighborhood is one of the city’s worst heat islands, and it has the highest levels of air pollution in the state thanks to nearby Interstates 90 and 93. With Boston Harbor nearby, there’s also the risk of future flooding.

But the Chinatown Community Land Trust and Chinese Progressive Association are working on a solution that they hope will put power back in the hands of Chinatown residents when it comes to climate resilience – literally.

As a part of the Green Justice Coalition, which works to develop energy resilience for low-income communities, the two organizations created a public benefit company called Chinatown Power. Its goal is to outfit eight affordable apartment buildings throughout the neighborhood with microgrids, which generate and store power that can be used during an outage.

Chinatown residents and microgrid experts join The Common to discuss the benefits of having more community control over energy infrastructure in a neighborhood which has long bore the brunt of climate change.