Note: I met Mariah Coz, the author of the following article, at a Tiny House Building Workshop in November of 2012. She is the happy owner of The Comet Camper, which she describes as “an off-grid, eco-awesome vintage trailer” that she renovated herself and lives in full time. Her lifestyle choice is evidently the most powerful and real vote for a sustainable future while her visions continue to expand from there. As you can imagine, Mariah’s brilliantly creative brain is the source of a beautiful storm of conceivable solutions to the failings of the outdated and environmentally ignorant structure governing American life. In the following article, she outlines conceivable community projects to facilitate sustainable evolution and, thus, the birth of a greener human culture.
BUILDING A GREEN ECONOMY AT HOME
After reading Van Jones’ book The Green Collar Economy, I was inspired to come up with a “green collar” plan for the city I live in: Worcester, Massachusetts. Jones frequently mentions Chicago in his book as an example of a city that is embracing the shift to an ecological economy. Worcester, like Chicago, has a manufacturing background, and could learn from the examples of successful green-collar programs in other cities. Based on the “Green Collar” ideas, I came up with a list of goals for Worcester, and suitable jobs that Worcester could support.
The idea here is that by embracing these ideas and creating the right conditions here in Worcester, young innovators will be attracted to locate their green businesses here in this dying city. We need to keep our dollars in the local economy as long as possible, and in order to do that people need local places to spend their money.
I hope to give a presentation at a City Council meeting about this topic, and see what the city thinks are feasible projects.
To build resilience in my city
To eliminate reliance on foreign fossil fuels
To include all groups in the regeneration of my city
To support communities and individuals with innovative ideas
To empower citizens
To eliminate waste
To provide meaningful jobs and fair work
To bring new people, businesses, and eco-industry to my city
Changes in Government:
Zoning and building codes must be changed to allow:
– Tiny Houses and homes under 400 square feet.
– Composting toilets
– Greywater systems
– Front Lawn Freedom (no restrictions on front-lawn gardening)
– Rainwater collection
– Livestock, animal husbandry, chickens, etc.
– Rooftop farms
– Food carts and mobile businesses
– Land Use Reform: Allocating abandoned land to non-profits to begin urban farm operations, compost operations, and other programs.
We can provide empowerment via:
– Sharing of Resources (Libraries for tools, equipment, and information, Skillshares)
– Freedom of Choice (in relation to living simply)
– Organized “Consumers Anonymous” meetings – a place where people can find support in simple living and participate in a “No New Things” challenge with the support of a committed community.
Essential Projects for Regenerative Urban Economy:
1. Education and Learning Center for Sustainable Sciences, Practices, Building, Farming, and more
2. Simple Living and Tiny House showcase in unused lot
3. Eliminate Lawns Campaign (“Food not Lawns”)
4. Public Permaculture Park + Edible Forest
5. Green fueling station and garage (WVO and electric charging station)
6. Bike paths and lanes for increased pedestrian and pedal transport, including connections to surrounding areas (Providence, Boston, and rural towns).
7. Allocate land for ecological and Transition projects (Brownfields, unused lots, abandoned warehouses, etc).
Green Collar Jobs:
Organic Food Production/ CSA management
Waste recycling and compost
Fertilizer and soil production from compost
Energy audits and consulting
Deep energy retrofits/renovation/insulation
Permaculture design and installation services
Maintenance of public parks with Edible Elements
Urban Garden design/installation services for residential buildings
Hydroponics operations in abandoned warehouses (fish, produce, fertilizer)
Green design/build/architecture firms
Eco-Demo – Ecological Demolition and Deconstruction Services
Salvage yards and recycled building materials sales
Water systems installation and maintenance
Wind power installation/maintenance
Compost toilet installation
Fiber production (sheep, alpaca, angora, etc) and Value-added items (yarn, clothing)
Sustainable clothing production and maintenance (emphasis on mending/repair services)
Radical Menstruation supplies production, marketing, and distribution
Milk and Dairy production
Egg production and distribution
Honey production and distribution
Herb production and distribution
Chicken breeding for sale and slaughter
Rabbit breeding for fur, food, and sale
Grease-car conversion technicians and mechanics
Waste Veggie oil filtration and fueling station/ grease car garage
Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair coordinators
Organic, Healthy food trucks – low cost start-up
Local hops growing and brewing
Locally sourced restaurants
Kombucha brewing and distribution
Technology and digital design
Internet and information based jobs (blogs, news resources, how-to resources)