30 ways to be a better Londoner
There are enough things in London to put you in a bad mood but here are 30 ways to prove your capital mettle and shower beneficence upon your fellow humans
Posted: Tue Aug 19 2008
What would make London a nicer place? Tell us
1. Fork out for porkBritish pig farmers are buckling under rising wheat prices and cut-price continental imports. Spend a bit more on prime cuts from butchers who source meat from UK farms. www.pigsareworthit.com
2. Turn coffee into charitySkip buying just one coffee a week and Direct Debit the £5 saved each month to a charity. Even better? Set up the donation through your payroll – the charity will get even more. www.shelter.org.uk
3. Beautify the railwaysAll it takes is a handful of British wildflower seeds, an open train window and, in a couple of months, hey presto: you have a beautiful floral trackside verge. www.reallywildflowers.co.uk
4. Spring a surprise sit-downTry giving up your seat to someone who doesn’t actually need it – someone who isn’t elderly, pregnant or carrying heavy shopping – and make their day.
5. Expand someone’s mindWhen you finish a book, leave it on the tube for someone else to read. Same with your newspaper: read it, fold it… and pass it on.
6. Dress folk up niceYou only wear around 20 per cent of your wardrobe. Go through the rest and give your local charity shop a bag of decent, ideally designer, clothes. And don’t just leave the bag on the doorstep: make sure you take it in.
7. Be a bleeding heartIf someone you love needed a blood transfusion, you’d expect blood to be available. Yet only 4 per cent of the eligible population donate. Give some today! www.blood.co.uk
8. Cultivate a window gardenMake London a prettier place and grow flowers, herbs or small vegetables in window boxes.
9. Make a friend at the tillDon’t speak on your phone while you’re being served. Instead of routinely ignoring the city’s cash-register stalwarts, ask them how their day is going.
10. Lend a helping hand with a pramDon’t just stand there! Help lift baby and buggy up or down the stairs.
11. Donate your bitsLast year, more than 400 people died waiting for a transplant. Register as an organ donor and save people when you die. www.uktransplant.org.uk
12. Support your local grocersKiss goodbye to the weekly supermarket sweep. Instead, do your shop in a local independent and you’ll be making a real difference. www.tescopoly.org
13. Recycle, recycle, recycle…Sixty per cent of the refuse Londoners throw away could be recycled. www.recycleforlondon.com
See our guide to being a greener Londoner
14. Organise a ‘Walk to School’ eventOctober is Walk to School month. Suggest your child’s school start a scheme to encourage pupils to walk, such as Walk on Wednesdays. www.walktoschool.org.uk
15. Keep it quiet – part 1If you must chat on your phone in an enclosed public space, at least keep the volume down. Especially if you’re busy telling someone what form of transport you’re on.
16. Keep it quiet – part 2Ringtones that sound like frogs, water or ‘Axel F’ by Harold Faltermeyer aren’t as amusing as you think they are.
17. Use planet-friendly powerGain brownie – or should that be greenie? – points: transfer to a more environmentally friendly energy supplier. greenenergy.uk.com
18. Hold a self-raising cake saleAsk people in your office to bake, sell the results to your colleagues for afternoon tea and donate the money: virtue and snacks.
19. Leave a charitable legacyLeave money to your favourite charity in your will. Don’t think it’s just for lonely spinsters bequeathing piles of cash to cats – although it can be. www.rememberacharity.org.uk
20. Convince a pal to register with the Anthony Nolan TrustBone-marrow transplants save lives. The trust is critically short of male potential donors of black and ethnic origin.
21. Matchmake a mate on the slyRecommend someone you know on www.mysinglefriend.com, and watch as romance either blossoms or burns down.
22. Take a selfless breakNeed a holiday but worried about being self-indulgent? Try volunteering abroad from £10 a week. www.originalvolunteers.co.uk
23. Prise a handout from your handsetGot a new phone? Request a Freepost envelope from either www.envirophone.co.uk or www.mazumamobile.com, post them back your old mobile and donate the cash they give you to charity.
24. Improve the international outlookVision Aid Overseas collects old glasses from Vision Express opticians across London and sends them to developing countries. www.vao.org.uk/spectacles
25. Be a good cyclistYes, cycling is good but, please, don’t bully your way to the front of the cycle queue at the lights (it’s rude) and give pedestrians right of way wherever you can (it’s polite).
26. Help the homelessShelter doesn’t advocate giving homeless people cash. So if you want to help someone, ask them what they would like for lunch or dinner, then go and buy it. Don’t forget tea or coffee.
27. Pick up a copy of The Big IssueIt’ll cost you £1.50, the seller gets 80p and you get something decent to read on the tube. Win-win. www.bigissue.org.uk
28. Stage a charity auctionSell something on eBay and donate some – or all – of the money to the charity of your choice. www.pages.ebay.co.uk/ebayforcharity
29. Lend an earIf you’re a patient listener and over 18, you can volunteer for the Samaritans. You’ll get training at your local branch, and your empathy could be a godsend to people in difficult circumstances. www.samaritans.org
30. Debag plastic wasteThe UK chucks 13 billion plastic bags a year. Carry one from Onya Bags (from £6.50), which folds up to keyring size. It also offers fully biodegradable bags for icky things. www.onyabags.co.uk
What would make London a nicer place? Tell us
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