Youth Engagement, Racial Equity and Green Tech Intersect in Boston

“People tend to write you off a bit when you look young,” Jeremy reflected. “Likewise, the investment community is generally averse to risk… When you are younger, a more limited track record can be a bit of a handicap. Also, it’s a cliche but building a great company requires having a great network… When you are just starting out, you haven’t forged many of these relationships yet and that makes everything much tougher.”

In the face of these challenges, Jeremy and his co-founders Spencer Taylor and Quang Truong created Evaptainers to address food spoilage and its massive social and environmental impacts. The UN estimates spoilage rates at as high as 45% for fruits and vegetables. Evaptainers’ EV8 technology combats that issue by providing the world’s lowest-cost refrigerator, powered by evaporation. The Boston-based innovation aligns with a push by the city of Boston to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020.

As the city prepares for the impacts of climate change, Boston’s Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Atyia Martin is particularly focused on preparing communities of color, who are disproportionately impacted. Following the release of a resilience strategy earlier this year, Dr. Martin convened A Conversation About Resilience, Race and Equity in order to continue the dialogue.

“When developed inclusively, community engagement practices can create opportunities for all Bostonians to have a stronger voice in how their city functions,” reads the resilience strategy Dr. Martin shared with attendees. “By creating these opportunities, the City will be able to build and sustain public trust, and ensure that policies and programs are more equitable for all residents.”

The conversation, which I facilitated alongside Dr. Martin, was a chance for the community to reflect on recent racial tensions in Charlottesville, Virginia and engage in collective learning to inform the creation of resilience citywide. Participants spoke about supporting communities of color who are disproportionately affected by inequities, how best to move from discussion to action, and the general political and social climate around issues of racial equity and resilience. What shined through was an urgent and deeply personal need to find solutions to these issues in the face of our local and national challenges.