Sustainable SR: Somebody say stop

Sustainable SR: Somebody say stop

By Rani Jayakumar

Most environmental or sustainability advice is about all the things you can do to help the planet: reuse bags, buy an EV, use solar, recycle. This is, of course, important. Studies show that when you have easy or direct steps to take, you are more likely to do them, and stick to them.

But sometimes the best way to help the planet is to STOP doing things. Here are a few things you might consider stopping:

• Stop buying things you don’t use or need. In this time of consumerism, consider scaling back. We spend an average of $18,000 per year (in the U.S.) on unnecessary purchases, leading to more resource use all around. Find non-material options instead for gifts and items you need.

• Stop using disposables. This could be something you need or don’t – but when you buy disposable items, you have to throw them away, and they have to go somewhere. (There is no “away!”) Use what you have already, until it wears out.

• Stop guilt-tripping. You don’t need to go on a guilt-trip of yourself or your family members to be more eco-friendly. Instead, take small, steady actions that add up to bigger wins over the long term. Each person goes at their own pace on the path to sustainability.

• Stop hoarding. When we take, or insist on only using something ourselves, we separate ourselves from others in our community. A strong neighborhood depends on sharing, helping, borrowing and lending, becoming more resilient in hard times. 

• Stop. Just stop. Take a moment. When you do nothing, you aren’t consuming anything except oxygen and time. Let the beauty of this planet wash over you. Enjoy the moment, your community, the world just as it is.

If you’re worried that stopping what you’re doing is too much to ask, start by simply slowing down. Make the switch one item at a time.

The important thing is to pause and take a look at how you want to live your life. Maybe what you want is to use just what you need, over and over, guilt-free, sharing what you can. Perhaps you want to participate more in the community, teaching others or helping anything and anyone that needs it. It just might be that what you want is to love this great big blue and green world so it will be just as beautiful for generations to come. 

Rani Jayakumar lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches mindfulness and music, and organizes sharing events.

Upcoming Events:

• Feb. 10 – Garden Share, Scripps Miramar Ranch Library, 2 p.m.

• Rainwater Harvesting Tour coming in March. Updates will be posted at

Sustainable Scripps Ranch is a standing committee of the Scripps Ranch Civic Association. To learn more about Sustainable Scripps Ranch, visit or email