A Greener Human Culture

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Mariah’s brilliantly creative brain is the source of a beautiful storm of conceivable solutions to the failings of the outdated and environmentally ignorant structure governing American life.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.


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.


A CSA farm is a great ideal for building local economies. More and more CSAs are popping up in urban areas.


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


Eco-Building Bargains is a store in MA that calls salvaged materials, recycled building materials, and used appliances/furniture/just about everything.

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:

– Workshops

– Education

– 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.


Waste Veggie Oil Fueling stations are the gas stations of the future – I would love to see one of these in my city.

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

Photovoltaic installation

Permaculture design and installation services

Maintenance of public parks with Edible Elements

Public permaculture

Urban Garden design/installation services for residential buildings

Hydroponics operations in abandoned warehouses (fish, produce, fertilizer)

Green design/build/architecture firms

Salvage Mining

Eco-Demo – Ecological Demolition and Deconstruction Services

Salvage yards and recycled building materials sales

Water systems installation and maintenance

Rainwater installation

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

Hybrid Mechanics

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

Bicycle mechanics

Technology and digital design

Internet and information based jobs (blogs, news resources, how-to resources)


A commercial kombucha operation is a great idea for building a resilient, sustainable economy. (Photo from kombuchamama.com.)


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