Above and Below the Line

I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of the poverty line? Well, I like you to think of a  different line right now, the Mainstream Line.

I think there is a general fear that if you decide to live more ‘green’, you’ll drop below that Mainstream Line. That your quality of life, how other people view you, or your level of convenience may somehow be less than ‘normal’ and you’ll be living a life that’s harder, down there below the Mainstream Line.

From our experience, the opposite is true. Living ‘green’ is living ABOVE the Mainstream Line. It is a BETTER quality of life.

There are similarities in the way my grandmother as a youngster and I today live our lives. We both grew/grow food at home, we both travel / travelled with very little fossil fuels, neither of us had/have grid electricity, we both use / used cloth sanitary pads and nappies etc etc.

But Grandma HAD to do it because there was very little money to go around a rural family with 7 kids during the Great Depression and World War 2. Although with a very small environmental impact, they were living below the Mainstream Line of their time.

And a lot of people haven’t realised that this correlation between green and doing-it-hard has changed. Why has this changed? Because the technology has advanced so far since then, that many of the green options are now BETTER than the Mainstream.

We’ve been off-grid for our electricity for 5 years now. Not a single blackout, not a single supply interruption, not a single power bill. That’s BETTER than the Mainstream grid power.

We have a hybrid electric car. These aren’t the cheap car in the second hand car dealers yard – they’re modern and fancy and exciting – typically words you’d use to describe the finer things in life. And it’s greener than the Mainstream.

Our vegetables are fresh, chemical and pesticide free, grown with love and are cheap – BETTER than what you get in the Mainstream supermarkets.

Our house doesn’t have mod-cons like air-conditioners, but because of the solar passive design, it is super comfortable and friendly to live in all year round. BETTER than the Mainstream houses popping up all over WA.

Our water is fresh rainwater, no chemicals in it, no supply interruptions from infrastructure works projects and no cost. BETTER than the Mainstream.

But the sum total of this is where green really has pulled us up above the Mainstream Line. No power bills, no water bills, low food bills, low petrol bills and less consumerist spending have meant that we have an amount of disposable income that is higher than other families on the same income.

Same amount of money in minus less spent out on ‘basics’ = less need to work big hours, more time for family, more time for friends, more time for the things we’d prefer to be doing and more money to divert to the things we really want. BETTER than the Mainstream.


Do we really need to grow the economy and create more jobs, as the politicians keep saying, or do we need to slow the economy in a green way so we DON’T need to work or spend as much, and can just be happier and less stressed whilst improving our quality of life?

Now that really is living Above the Line.



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