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Evan Lam

I’m an experienced entrepreneur who's passionate about combining diverse perspectives and innovative technologies to help society learn from and value the natural world. LinkedIn

 
My main skills and experience are in:
business development    •     production systems     •     writing
project management     •     strategic communication

 

 

Organizations, projects, and companies I work with & support

The Sunrise Movement:
Sunrise is a youth-led, environmental justice movement working to enact a Green New Deal in the United States. They organize to change the political landscape through a media presence, non violent protest and organized civic engagement. I’ve worked with the Sunrise Bay Area Hub to facilitate working groups and connections, as a point of engagement with members of the DNC, and provided operational strategy and support for protest actions. 

Hawaii Land Trusts:
While not yet formally organized, the Hawaii Land Trusts organization is in the process of fundraising and organizing to create land trusts for conversation and food security on the Big Island of Hawaii. I’m currently supporting them by facilitating connections and researching the state of the land laws in Hawaii.

Paka Products:
In 2014, a business partner and I designed, built, and operated a medical cannabis cultivation business, with a focus on sustainability and integrating Hawaiian values into an operating production business. Our facility produced medical-grade, organic cannabis with 30-40% less energy usage than a comparable facility. As a small business owner, I had multiple roles including daily operations, team manager, sales, and long term strategy. 

 

About me

After six years as a chef and four years as a small business owner, I now work part-time as a freelance copywriter, small business consultant and a contract manager for a legal cannabis business. As part of my career, I’m building a portfolio of entrepreneurial ideas with a focus on reducing climate impacts in production. I read a large range of articles, books and research papers to stay informed on innovations in material manufacturing, plant-based medical products, soil science, indigenous groups in relation to contemporary government, and more. I’m fascinated by the processes of reshaping cultural perspectives, production systems, and governance models to create new paradigms — from what we eat and how it’s produced, to how we structure financial models, to how we make decisions (and who gets the say) in government, economics, and science. 

Something I'm especially passionate about, which is not present enough in mainstream climate discourse, is the wholehearted and structural inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems and communities at every level in creating climate solutions. The emphasis on science and technology in the discourse is applicable but, in my opinion, less critical than true diversity in the fundamental perspectives of the people who create and apply the science and technology. To me, this is a critical imbalance in the discussion and infrastructure of access to resources for creating change and solutions. 

My lightbulb moments

 

For me, there are two moments:

In the first, I’m six years old, snorkeling in a crystal clear tide pool on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I grew up. The water is teeming with life; a spotted moray eel slides through the reef, where shimmering fish of every color dot the branched, vibrant corals. My mom gently pushes me through the water onto the back of a turtle, which lets me hang off its shell as it glides through the water. I believe every child can benefit from a moment like this. The magic of nature is irreplaceable, a gift we’re all privileged to experience.

The second moment is twenty years later. The coral has lost its vibrance, the water’s getting murkier, and the turtles don’t come around much anymore. At 27, I’m in the midst of a failing relationship and have closed a sustainability-focused business which was running for 3 years after a career change. I’m reading articles about climate disasters, and I don’t know what to do. I feel isolated and crushingly anxious; the world is shifting before my eyes and I’m struggling to find a meaningful path to contribute positive change. 

So, I do something I’ve never done before: I join an environmental justice movement. I join the Sunrise Movement. Here, I see people building community and actively envisioning an improved future with better odds for our survival.

If you wake up one morning, expecting business as usual, and your neighbor’s house catches on fire, you don’t stand there and despair about the smoke or your lost morning coffee. You grab the fire extinguisher, check if they’re okay and you put out the fire. 

We are on fire, literally and metaphorically. The best balm for any temptation of being anxious or afraid is encouraging unified action, within myself and in others. Consistent progress and embracing what’s uncomfortable is the pursuit of living. Do and fail, for there is wonder here too. One of the most important insights is that we not only face a challenge but an immense opportunity for growth, unity and evolution. 

Climate change in NorCal

  • The Sunrise Movement is doing great work at the intersection of media, political engagement, and environmental justice. The big Sunrise Bay Area hub, which I am involved in, is one of the main touch points for the West Coast.

  • Two projects working to support local, sustainable fisheries in the Bay Area:
    I’ve volunteered for the Stanford Organic Research Farm, which is providing a great example of institutional organic farming.
    I’ve also spoken with people from the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust when searching for product sourcing and visited the processing facility for Real Good Fish.

  • Sunswarm Solar is working hard to democratize access to community solar in the East Bay

  • I’ve sat in for webinars by the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland who’s working to provide legal support for circular economics.  

 

People I read & follow 

 

Climate media