Promises for One World Week

‘Promises’ list issued by One World Week in 2005 ?(many are still very relevant)

Promise 1 I promise to…turn my television off at the set, and not use the remote control to leave it on stand-by.

Why? Because it uses 85 per cent as much electricity to keep the little red light on as when watching TV – energy that is completely wasted.

Promise 2 I promise to…sign the Gift Aid form on every donation I make to charity.

Why? Because charities can reclaim the tax that you would have paid on the donation, no matter how small it is, adding 28.2 per cent to the amount you give.

Promise 3 I promise to…eat more Brazil nuts.

Why? Because it gives South American farmers a good reason to grow trees instead of cutting them down for wood or charcoal. (And because they taste great!)

Promise 4 I promise to…wear a red ribbon.

Why? Because we all need to be regularly reminded that 40 million

people in the world are HIV-positive, and that is 40 million too many.

Promise 5 I promise to…turn the tap off when I clean my teeth.

Why? Because what is the point of all that water going down the drain. (Literally!)

Promise 6 I promise to…keep trying new fairly traded products.

Why? Because the number of products bearing the Fair Trade logo has just topped 300, and you’ve only tasted a fraction of them!

Promise 7 I promise to…tell the president of the USA what I would like him to do on behalf of the developing world.

Why? Because it is so easy to do by mailing

Promise 8 I promise to…go through my cupboards and check that I am using biodegradable products

to wash and package everything

Why? Because they break down much quicker than their equivalents and so damage the environment less.

Promise 9 I promise to…return something I have borrowed and keep failing to return.

Why? Because everything that makes us more inclined to share generously releases money that can be used in the interests of the world’s poorest people.

Promise 10 I promise to…write on every piece of paper twice.

Why? Because every piece of paper has two sides! Half the waste and half the expense!

Promise 11 I promise to…eat less meat.

Why? Because rearing a kilogramme of meat requires about 100,000 litres of water, but producing a kilogramme of wheat takes only 900 litres of water.

Promise 12 I promise to…look stunning!

Why? Because if you spend extra on well-made, beautiful clothes, you will always be in fashion. They will also last longer than ‘disposable’ trendy clothes, so you will save money (and use fewer precious resources) in the long run.

Promise 13 I promise to…buy organic sugar.

Why? Because conventional sugar beet is the most highly sprayed crop on the planet, but organic crops pollute less and are better for wildlife.

Promise 14 I promise to…eat local fruit and vegetables.

Why? Because a poor jet-lagged kiwi fruit creates five times its own weight in carbon dioxide emissions to get to the UK, whereas a Bramley apple (from your local farmers market or farm shop) is sweet, green, luscious, gorgeous, mouth-watering and… sorry, I forgot where I was for a moment.

Promise 15 I promise to…buy wood with the Forest Stewardship Council logo.

Why? Because wood consumption has doubled in 35 years, and the FSC logo confirms that your furniture came from a sustainably managed forest and was not illegally logged.

Promise 16 I promise to…use real nappies.

Why? Because nearly 3 billion disposable nappies are thrown into landfill sites every year, and they will

take centuries to decompose, whereas you can save £400 in a baby’s nappy life by buying cloth ones.

Promise 17 I promise to…learn the Millennium Development Goals by heart.

Why? Because if we are going to make our leaders accountable for achieving them we need to remember that the eight goals are… er… let me just check at

Promise 18 I promise to…take a shower.

Why? Because it saves 50 litres of water to take a shower instead of a bath.

Promise 19 I promise to…keep the Jubilee spirit alive.

Why? Because the campaign to cancel the unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries is alive long after 1999 turned into 2000, as you can see at

Promise 20 I promise to…take action against injustice.

Why? Because whether it is an apparent miscarriage of justice which has been reported in the media, or a

local event in your school, community or workplace, writing a letter is a powerful tool on the side of right.

Promise 21 I promise to…go outside my home, clear up some litter, rip up some weeds, and tidy up the clutter.

Why? Because then people will get more pleasure out of walking along the street.

Promise 22 I promise to…tell a friend to vote for trade justice.

Why? Because it has never been easier to campaign for fairer rules of global trade now that you can take action at

Promise 23 I promise to…start a direct debit to an agency that works alongside the world’s poorest people.

Why? Because when charities have regular income, rather than occasional gifts, they can plan better and use the money in more efficient ways.

Promise 24 I promise to…turn the temperature my water is stored at down to what I really need instead of consistently finding it too hot and adding cold.

Why? As well as saving energy and money, you will never scald your toes again!

Promise 25 I promise to…rRation my flights.

Why? Because air travel is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Use a ferry and train

instead, or take a holiday in the glorious landscapes of the UK.

Promise 26 I promise to…make compost.

Why? Because although 60 per cent of household rubbish could be composted, 80 per cent of it is ending up in the local landfill site.

Promise 27 I promise to…use a toy library.

Why? Because there are now over 1,000 in the UK, providing toys to play with and borrow for a nominal fee (some of them are free), which means the end of wasteful plastic toys being discarded too soon when children get bored with them.

Promise 28 I promise to…make sure that every scrap of paper used in my bathroom is from recycled


Why? Your bottom deserves the best!

Promise 29 I promise to…give life-changing presents.

Why? Because a recent survey suggests that £2 billion is spent every year in the UK on presents that are unwanted. But through Oxfam or Christian Aid (among others) you can buy packages that deliver a beautiful card to your friend, and chickens, medical equipment or a goat to a family in the developing world.

Promise 30 I promise to…make the most of a unique year.

Why? Because 2005 is a unique year for those who want to Make Poverty History. To celebrate the UK holding the presidency of the European Union during the second half of the year, write a letter to the Prime Minister encouraging him yet again to use every opportunity this gives him to improve the circumstances of the world’s poorest people.

Promise 31 I promise to…stop taking disposable carrier bags from the supermarket.

Why? Because there is nothing to stop you bringing your own shopping bag or using your old plastic bags again and again.

Promise 32 I promise to…stick to the speed limit.

Why? Because traffic is the single biggest killer of 12-16 year olds in the UK, and at 35 miles per hour you are twice as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30 mph. Also slower driving means less fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Promise 33 I promise to…switch to an ethical bank.

Why? Because it is good to know that your savings don’t finance the arms trade or hold developing world debt.

Promise 34 I promise to…put a ‘Hippo the Water Saver’ device in my toilet cistern.

Why? Because 33 per cent of potable/drinking water is flushed down the loo. (A brick would do just as well!)

Promise 35 I promise to…recycle my old mobile phone.

Why? Because the cadmium from onephone is sufficient to poison a small swimming pool of water. But at retail outlets you can collect a freepost envelope and send it to be safely disposed of at a Fonebank recycling centre.

Promise 36 I promise to…make a will.

Why? Because only about a third of people in the UK die with an up-to-date will, and it is a fantastic way of leaving a long-lasting gift to a charity that works alongside the world’s poorest people.

Promise 37 I promise to…find out about a religion I do not know much about.

Why? Because while all the world’s major religions advocate peace, people’s perception is increasingly that religion is a cause of violence. Greater understanding decreases suspicion and increases friendship.

Promise 38 I promise to…turn down the central heating thermostat by one degree.

Why? Because fairly traded sweaters from People Tree are so, so sexy(

Promise 39 I promise to… mark United Nations Day with an unexpected act of generosity.

Why? Because 24 October 2005 (which is the Monday of One World Week) is the 60th anniversary of the charter of the United Nations being ratified in the UK, and that is a great reason to improve the life of someone you have never met in a country you have never visited.

Promise 40 I promise to…make friends with my neighbours

Why? Because it forges a sense of community, makes us feel part of where we live, and we can feed each other’s cats/plants when on holiday.