The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

09 November 2007

Clothing oddments

The chopsticks bra to highlight deforestation: In Japan, people use disposable chopsticks made of wood. 25 billion sets are used each year. They are usually manufactured in China, and require around 25 million trees to be chopped down. Because of the environmental impact of this and the rapid disappearance of forests, it has been reported in Japan that China intends to limit or ban the export of disposable chopsticks. But in Japan, it will require a shift in thinking if the imports are not obtained from another country. There is an obvious answer: reusable chopsticks made of plastic rather than disposable chopsticks made of wood. To highlight the issue and possibly also create a media splash, Triumph International, the women’s underwear maker, has launched a “Chopsticks Bra” with the cups made of two bowls – one for rice and the other for miso soup; and reusable chopsticks stored for easy access in the cleavage.

Other people are doing equally up-front things with clothing. Panties with a socket to store a mobile phone or more usefully, condoms, for example.

Here are some websites which may interest you:
Pants to Poverty, taking forward the ideas of the Make Poverty History campaign through selling fairtrade organic underwear branded with these anti-poverty messages and a slice of the income goes to make the world a better place:

Green Knickers, made from ethical fabrics (kind silk, organic cotton, hemp-cotton mixes) with save the world messages and delightful designs:

Toms Shoes. A young girl killed herself in the Philippines for want of a pair of shoes. A suicide letter found under her pillow was addressed to a TV programme called “I Just Wish”. She wrote: “I just wish for new shoes, a bag and jobs for my mother and may father…. I would like to finish my schooling and I would very much like to buy a new bike”. Simple thigns that any chiold in the rich world would take for granted. The reality was that the family had no money, the father was out of regular work, with the family living in a small hut with no water or electricity. Blake Mycoskie has decided to provide shoes, not in the Philippines, but in Argentina. He has designed a range of espadrilles hoes based on a traditional Argentinian design, and for each pair you buy, he donates a pair to a shoeless Argentinian. The two pairs (but only one for you) cost $48. There is a new range for children (Tiny Toms) and shoes which you can decorate yourself – and instruction for organising shoe decoration parties.