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:

01 April 2010

Put a Penny On

PennyOn is a simple solution to ensuring every person in the world has what they need – enough to eat, a safe place to sleep, education and their health. It starts with you giving one penny. You can do this every time you shop. Participating retailers will add a penny to your bill; or you can calculate how often you shop and send the money to PennyOn using PayPal.

There’s about £580 million in loose change just lying around – you can turn that into something positive. If you find some of that, you can donate it.

You can also collect all your spare change each night by emptying your pockets or purse – and donate all the pennies to PennyOn, and do something creative with the rest of the money.

Your pennies can be used to help people take care of themselves – from support programmes in your local community to get people back on their feet and overseas educational projects to help people grow their own food so they can feed themselves or building their own schools so they can teach their community the skills they need to thrive. PennyOn will be supporting some worthwhile projects. Contact them for more information:

Socks for Happy People is a new social venture. This is how they describe themselves: The happy surprise with which people say ‘socks?’ when they hear what we do is always fun to see. It seems starting a sock company, in itself, is a little bit different since great socks - despite being over 3,000 years old - have somehow remained below most people’s radars.

Well we think it's time for that to change. Socks are brilliant and they deserve to be celebrated! But socks - brilliant as they are - aren't really the reason we're here. Socks for Happy People exists for reasons much deeper than socks. In fact sometimes we say, in the nicest possible way: "If you think we're in the sock business you've already missed the point." But also:

  • Socks can literally help brighten your day
  • Others can enjoy your socks as well as you
  • Everything can be improved
  • Socks could be the first step into something greater

Their proportional stripe sock is in colourful stripes (in four colourways) with the width of each stripe proportional to where the £65 million of lost pennies are estimated to be:

  • Down the backs of sofas, £5.9 million
  • In the supermarket, £2.6 million
  • Inside vacuum cleaners, £1.3 million
  • In washing machines, £3.3 million
  • In the car, £7.8 million
  • Down the drain £0.65 million
  • On public transport, £2 million
  • In clothes and shoes, £3.9 million
  • On the street, £26 million
  • In handbags and suitcases, £11 million

For every pair of socks you purchase, you will also be donating a pair to a streetchild in Mongolia, and you have the option of putting a Penny On.

Walk to Work

Here’s just one little thing you can do to address global warming, reduce air pollution and improve your fitness – that’s walk to work. If not every day, then at least once a week. It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN for you, the environment and the world.

To promote walking to work, there is a Walk to Work Week. In 2010, this runs from 26-30 April.

There are challenges for this year.
1. Try walking all or part of the way to work
2. Try walking all or part of the way home from work
3. Hold a walking meeting
4. Walk all or part of the way to a meeting
4. Take a walk during your lunch break

But remember, walking consumes energy and your fuel is the food you eat. If you eat more meat or meat products to make up for the extra energy you have consumed, then this will be bad for the environment. This issue is covered in in Robert and Brenda Vale's book "Time to Eat the Dog?", a previous post. So whilst you are walking, think about that delicious veggie snack you are going to reward yourself with!

Walk to Work Week:

For lunchbreak circular walks or to find a good way of getting to and from work on foot, go to (for the UK only)

From 17 to 21 May, Living Streets also organises a Walk to School Week; take your children on foot. Leave the car at home.

Comments from the 2009 Walk to Work Week
"I felt really inspired by the challenges set by Walk to Work Week and have discovered new paths and areas in London. I work near Portobello Road and live in Highgate, so I have taken the plunge and walked home... I realised it will be quite hard to do this walk every day, so the next time I decided to jump off the tube at Kentish Town and walk to Highgate from there, which takes anything from 45 minutes to an hour. I take a different route each time and have discovered beautiful paths on and around Hampstead Heath which I hope to explore more in the future. Apart from the exercise and fresh air, I enjoy having control over my arrival times and the creativity involved in exploring new ways to and from work." Hanlie, Highgate, London

"Nothing major to report except that I have walked to work all week a total of 10.5 miles and I feel great, I am going to carry on doing it for the benefit of my health (and my weight I hope!!) I have realised that stiletto heels were not a plan after Monday so for the rest of the week it has been flats with the heels in my bag ready for when I get to work. Many thanks for arranging this event it was the push I needed." Rita, Greenwich, London