London is already well-known as a green city, with its commitment to parks and a mayor keen to brandish his environmental bona fides at every turn.
But on a micro-level, there’s still room for improvement and ways for individuals to live greener lives.
Here’s TNT’s top 5 tips for a greener life
1. Buy second-hand
It’s a well-worn mantra of environmentalists: we need to consume less. Fortunately, London is one of the best cities in the world for buying second-hand stuff, whether its books, clothes, furniture, bikes or appliances. You probably can’t afford to buy everything new, anyway. So be creative and scour the markets for bargains.
Get on to it: Check out uk.freecycle.org – you never know what you might come across.
2. Use pedal power
Most Londoners rely on buses and trains to get around, but getting more bikes on the roads is key to making London a greener city. Once the weather warms, invest in a bike. It’ll get you fit, fast. Or, at least walk an extra stop to work or the pub.
Get on to it: Go to tfl.gov.uk and find the cycling section. It’s full of routes and advice aimed at encouraging cyclists.
3. Go paper-free
The internet has changed so much of how we live, but sharehouses still seem to be groaning under a load of paperwork, whether it’s gas bills cluttering up the fridge or flyers from your local Chinese stuffed through the mailbox.
Instead of suffering in silence, have your bills sent via email and put a stop to junk mail.
Get on to it: Sign up for online bills from your utility providers, and send an email to email@example.com to stop junk mail.
4. Spread the word
There’s no point spending hours separating your glass from your plastic at home only to go to work and waste reams of paper while running up your office’s electricity bill.
Instead, don’t be afraid to badger your workmates into following your green example.
Get on to it: Read greenatworkmag.com for some ideas, but basically just persuade your workmates to think about conserving resources.
5. Create green space
London is famed for its inner-city parks, but there are still plenty of dreary stretches of asphalt, particularly around train lines, that could do with some extra greenery.
Equally, communal gardens around apartment buildings can be a great way to beautify the place where you live, or start to grow your own vegetables and herbs.
Get on to it: Guerrillagardening.org has loads of suggestions on how you can greenify your neighbourhood.
» For more check out greenlondon.net. The non-profit organisation is always on the lookout for volunteers, so get in touch and get involved
Words: Tom Sturrock