A drone shot of a line of wind turbines on a renewable energy farm; photo via Rabbi Shasha/Unsplash.
Transatlantic Life

Climate Action: The Urgent Need For A Sustainability Mindset

A sustainability mindset is one that focuses on the long-term goals of environmental justice and progressive climate action. It’s thinking and acting in a way that promotes and supports beneficial practices that protect and conserve the health and future prosperity of our planet.

Bringing awareness to this and the many other issues our planet currently faces is why I joined the Climate Change Collective; a group of environmentally-minded bloggers who want to share climate action news that motivates and informs — keeping the subject at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Created by Michelle from Eco Boomer Crusader and Jamie of Jamie Ad Stories; each month a different member of the collective takes turns to write a lead/focus post that shares key details, concerns and/or unique perspectives about climate change. Once the post is published, the rest of the group will link to it in a response-style blog on their own sites; discussing any thoughts and ideas about the information/issues raised.

The collective is currently open to any other bloggers who want to join; if you’re interested, get in touch.

A title graphic for a post available on Transatlantic Notes called, ‘Climate Action: The Urgent Need For A Sustainability Mindset’. The background image shows a drone shot of a line of wind turbines on a renewable energy farm.

Collective Climate Action

The sixth installment and most recent lead/focus post for the collective was written by Cristiana from Crisbie Coach; where she tackles practical tips for reducing our energy consumption that saves us money while also safeguarding the planet. Cristiana highlighted the small steps individual households can take that are more cost effective and energy efficient; like using fans to cool a room/home instead of air-conditioning; replacing single-glazed windows with double-glazed that lose 50-70% less heat and only boiling as much water as we intend to use when cooking or making a hot drink.

Households generate roughly a quarter of all direct CO2 emissions produced in the EU today. And did you know that three-quarters of the energy used by homes across the EU is for heating and cooling? | How You Can Reduce Your Energy Consumption and Save Money by Saving the Planet – Crisbie Coach

The points introduced in Cristiana’s helpful and informative post got me thinking about how we perceive these relatively simple, everyday changes. They all require a mindset shift that makes caring for the planet a core focus in how we live. It doesn’t require us to become militant or exemplary in every choice we make, it’s about seeing sustainability as an intrinsic part of our existence. It involves a bit of mental retraining to stop buying, using or doing wasteful or environmentally harmful things — which can be achieved.

Individual Sustainable Choices

If you’re a regular reader of climate action themed posts on Transatlantic Notes, you’ll know that while I champion personal action; it comes alongside understanding that the biggest changes and accountability has to come from those overwhelmingly responsible for driving climate change — which remains fossil fuel industries and the government policy and politicians they influence.

Thankfully, our individual sustainable lifestyle choices and shopping habits can have a direct impact on government and consumer industry climate action policies. For example, when we prioritize purchasing environmentally friendly products and services; it sends a message to government officials and industry leaders alike that there’s strong public support for tackling climate change. This encourages governments to take more decisive steps and rein in environmentally destructive practices within countrywide institutions and businesses. Additionally, government policy can influence consumer behavior by offering tax incentives or subsidies to those who purchase energy-efficient appliances or invest in renewable energy sources.

Inside a clear light bulb that has been placed into some rich, brown earth grows the first green, tender shoots of a small plant.
photo via Arthon Meekodong/Canva

Pursuing A Sustainability Mindset

If we’re serious about developing a sustainability mindset, it involves identifying the areas in our lifestyle where we can make the most beneficial change (for both the environment and ourselves). It doesn’t involve being perfect; instead, it’s about making everyday choices that support brands, products and personal habits that continually build our dedication towards living in a reciprocal and eco-friendly way.

What we can manage won’t be the same for everyone, nor is it an exercise in excellence; being consistent and trying our best is good enough. A reality for many of us is that access to sustainable products and programs will be impacted by various factors; such as cost, whether or not we can easily/locally find what we’re looking for or even if we’re aware of what’s available. If commitments to energy efficiency aren’t supported by local organizational and governmental action (like funding and infrastructure), it creates additional barriers. Financial and structural obstacles will effect our perspectives and priorities; it’s imperative our mindset includes a focus on what we’re capable of effectively maintaining.

The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on Earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the Earth. | Life On Earth – Sir David Attenborough

Sustainable Energy Tips

To keep our energy usage and household costs down while also protecting the environment; we can:

  • Regularly clean household appliances to prevent dust/debris build-up; ensuring they run at an optimum (energy efficient) capacity. This includes toasters, microwaves, televisions, etc. and anything with an air duct or air filter (be sure to check first if something requires professional cleaning, like an HVAC system or refrigerator, for example).
  • Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they have full loads; these appliances are often designed to be most efficient when cleaning in this way — by operating them less, it also saves money.
  • Use the cold-water cycle on washing machines so that clothes do not need to be sorted into separate (extra) loads; cold water prevents colour bleeding and cuts down on bills/cost because around 90% of the energy used comes from heating water. Another eco-friendly laundry option is to air-dry our clothes instead of running a dryer.
A laundry room with an eco-friendly washer/dryer combination machine surrounded by natural wood and wicker shelving.
photo via PlanetCare/Unsplash
  • Further reduce hot water usage throughout the week by taking fewer baths and/or filling them with less water or setting a time limit for showers (think cooler and quicker).
  • Replace broken or obsolete household appliances with something more energy efficient; remember to recycle as much of them as possible to reduce waste. To make better informed purchasing choices; look for certified products that have met strict energy efficiency criteria — in the United States, for example, we have the ENERGY STAR rating/label system.
  • Turn off and unplug lights, appliances and electronics when not in use; items like televisions, computers and phone chargers will still use significant amounts of power even when in standby.
  • Insulate heating ducts, water heaters and water pipes to reduce cold and heat transfer while delivering hot or climate-controlled water and air around the home. Pipe insulation, for example, can raise the temperature of water between 2°F and 4°F — which means the thermostat on a home’s water heater can be turned down without giving up comfort. Side-note: getting the right insulation installed and the correct type of material may require professional assistance.
  • Replace indoor and outdoor traditional, incandescent and halogen light bulbs with LED ones; not only do they tend to last at least 25 times longer, they can use up to 75% less energy.
  • Install and use a programmable thermostat; this allows a home’s energy usage to be lowered and maintained with far more ease and accuracy, especially during hours when we’re not at home. 

There are many more things we can do, but hopefully the list above provided some inspiration about how to introduce energy efficiency into our homes. Depending on personal circumstances, not all of the suggestions are applicable; but there will be something we can embrace. As someone who lives in a rental apartment, I don’t control what insulation is used or the types of thermostats and appliances; I can, however keep things clean, reduce hot water usage and unplug electronics.

In Summary

Ultimately, cultivating a sustainability mindset comes down to simply deciding to implement certain things that promote the health and healing of our planet. It’s about recognizing our impact on climate change and making lifestyle choices that focus on becoming eco-friendly. Regardless of whether it’s connected to energy efficiency, carbon emissions, waste reduction, sustainable consumerism, ethical farming, animal and habitat conservation or environmental justice, for example — we’ve got to make sure that what is meaningful to us becomes enough of a priority that we take action.

We’re part of the solution.

How do you conserve energy at home? What other sustainable tips do you have that promote energy efficiency?

Further Info:

9 Signs Your Home Is Wasting Energy (And What To Do) – Sealed

29 thoughts on “Climate Action: The Urgent Need For A Sustainability Mindset”

  1. I appreciate how well you’ve broken down the idea of a sustainability mindset. It made me think of my recycling set up at home that to anyone else would come across at “extra” since it involves at least 6 containers in my kitchen for various items (okay, it IS extra haha) but to me it’s normal and easy to use. I feel like habits can be more easily achieved when they are in line with values and are an expression of things like a sustainability mindset.


    1. This is exactly it; we have to do things in a way that aligns with our lifestyle and values (blending what we want to achieve with what we can achieve). This makes it manageable and something we can get behind 100% and even grow into more action.


  2. Great article linking to the Climate Change Collective post. I just realised I could do with a draught excluder or two. There are so many small changes we could make which could also save us money.


  3. Some great ideas here on how to implement some sustainable practices into your life. I definitely agree that it is a mindset but will all mindsets, it can be hard to implement. I think that’s where it’s important to start small and not overwhelm people.


    1. Shifting our mindsets in any way is difficult, it takes a conscious awareness of when/why/how we fall back on things that we’re trying to move away from. The best way to do it, as you say, is to start small and not aim for perfection; just do what we can, when we can and go from there. Thanks so much for reading!


  4. You’ve added some excellent tips to those Cristiana provided. I agree with what you said about a sustainable mindset and that consistency matters. I’ve always believed in the term “progress not perfection”. I think our individual actions make a huge difference.


    1. Progress not perfection is a great way to think about it and encapsulates a willingness to try what we can. I think we can all do our bit and I am glad that more and more people are coming to understand this along with political and industry level change. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely agree we do not need to be perfect, but we need to actively develop a sustainability mindset and try our best to make sustainable choices in our daily lives. These are great tips for reducing energy usage and costs, and I only run the dishwasher and washing machine a couple of times a week to ensure they are full and both are set on the eco setting to use the least amount of water and energy. I also have been getting onto my partner about unplugging his coffee machine when he’s done using it because it does use energy when it’s still plugged in and he’s at work (he does remember to unplug his phone charger though).


  6. These are great tips Molly, we are already taking care of some of those and whenever we need to change something in the house like a lightbulb or even a washing machine (our is sadly on her way out, but very old!) we are making sure the energy consumption levels are good enough to save on energy.


  7. Great tips Molly! Maintaining your home and household appliances is a great way to save on energy, costs, and help the environment. Whenever I’m not using something, I make sure it’s unplugged. All of these small things eventually add up so it’s definitely worth the extra effort. Thanks for sharing!


  8. This is a really important subject to use your platform. We all must do out bit to help the climate crisis. Thank you for sharing.



    1. I agree that if we all change our minds, the planet will be cleaner for us to live. Recycling and getting educated about the planet is what everyone needs. We do need more campaigns and awareness activists to encourage more people to recycle. Great post.


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