Some weeks, you look forward to Friday more than others. After a tough five days in the Man of Many office, we’re hanging out for a beer, which sadly goes against the very New Year’s resolutions this writer outlined less than one month ago. Nevertheless, the spirits are high and the vibes, even higher. Strap yourselves in, here is Feel-Good Friday for this week.
Dylan Alcott Named Australia of the Year
If you want an example of inspiration, look no further than Dylan Alcott. The three-time Paralympic Games gold medallist, international wheelchair tennis superstar and disability rights advocate has spent years changing perceptions and breaking new ground. From winning the 2021 Golden Slam to transcending sport in general, Alcott’s story is a stirring one. Come January 26, he received national honours, being named Australian of the Year. Ever the champion, the 31-year-old from Melbourne’s speech was as classy as they come.
Talking about his experiences as a young person with a disability, Alcott revealed that it wasn’t until he saw others like him that he realised the importance of representation.
“If I’m honest with you, I cannot tell you how much I used to hate myself. I hated being different. I didn’t want to be here anymore,” he said. ““Whenever I turned on the TV or the radio or read the newspaper, I never saw anybody like me. Whenever I did, it was a road safety ad where someone drink-drives, has a car accident and the next scene was someone like me, in tears because their life is over. I thought to myself ‘That’s not my life’, but I believed that was going to be my life. When I reached the end of my teenage years, I started seeing people like me.
“Paralympic athletes like Louise Sauvage, Kurt Fearnley, Danni Di Toro – people that are the reason I got into sport – and advocates like Stella Young. They paved the way so I can be here tonight. They should have been Australian of the Year as well. It’s because of them – and everybody in my life – I sit here as a proud man with a disability. I love my disability. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. It really is.”
Alcott then used his Australian of the Year speech to advocate for further NDIS funding, calling for greater representation for people with a disability.
“We’ve got to fund the NDIS first and foremost and listen to people with lived experience and ask them what they need. We should remind ourselves that it’s an investment in people with disabilities so they can get off pensions and start paying taxes, just like their carers and their family members as well,” he said.
“We have to have greater representation of people with disabilities absolutely everywhere – in our boardrooms, in our parliaments, in our mainstream schools, on our dating apps, on our sporting fields, in our universities, absolutely everywhere – so we get the opportunity to live our lives just like everybody else. I promise you, you won’t just enrich the lives of us, but also yourselves in the process.”
A true hero and an absolute legend of the game, Dylan Alcott not only deserves all the accolades but the respect and admiration of the entire country.
The Boots Inspiring New Hope
Much-loved bootmaker Wolverine has made a habit of doing good things, but the brand’s latest collaboration might be its most impressive. Teaming up with unCommon Construction, the brand is launching a special-edition collaboration collection designed to benefit high school students interested in pursuing careers in the skilled trades. The new collection expands Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap program, which helps unCommon Construction’s work with high school apprentices to build houses and gain technical, professional and personal skills.
The expanded initiative helps high school students connect with members of the skilled workforce. Best of all, a portion of proceeds from each pair of boots or full collection kits will go toward funding new apprenticeships for the unCommon Construction program to further trades education for young people.
“It’s imperative we reach students in more relevant ways so they can learn more about the skilled trades and consider them as a potential future path,” said Tom Kennedy, global brand president for Wolverine. “Organizations like unCommon Construction introduce kids to the rich opportunities to be found in the trades that they aren’t learning about in school.”
Red Bull launches Wrap Up
Trivia nerds and regular nerds listen up. Thanks to Red Bull, you can now test your video game knowledge against some of the biggest names in Australian gaming. Hosted by Aussie gaming media expert and Red Bull Player Stephanie ‘Hex” Bendixsen, Red Bull Wrap Up is a new series that puts special guests to the test in the ultimate gaming quiz. The first episode launched January 27 with Episode 2 due to air February 16. Stay tuned in 2022 for more exciting episodes.
Moncler’s Born To Protect Returns
Fashion icon Moncler has launched its second Born To Protect collection, a stunning range that continues the brand’s dedication to protecting the planet. Featuring products made of a variety of lower impact materials, the latest collection extends beyond jackets to incorporate a full range of ready-to-wear garments and accessories for men, women and children.
This time around, Moncler has reached for recycled nylon and polyester, organic cotton, and other materials such as wool and down1 sourced according to specific sustainability standards. To accompany the new collection, a visual campaign and short film merge ‘recycled’ archival footage and stunning alpine images in an homage to Moncler’s mountain DNA and commitment to our shared future. The Moncler Born To Protect collection is available on Moncler.com and in select Moncler boutiques.
Asahi Beverages Commits to Sustainability
Asahi has put sustainability on the menu, unveiling a new agenda designed to create a more sustainable future for Australia and New Zealand. Addressing the growing climate change concerns, Asahi has committed to some seriously intense targets. These include:
- Sourcing 100% of purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025
- Zero waste to landfill at our manufacturing sites or warehouses by 2030
- Reducing scope 3 CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Making all packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025
- Transitioning to 100% eco-friendly materials for PET Bottles by 2030.
“We are determined to do much more than make vague and distant promises that gather dust. That’s why we’ve already made some incredibly important transformative and tangible changes to become more sustainable,” Asahi Beverages Group CEO Robert Iervasi said. “Many of our brands date back to the 19th century. These targets will help us create an entirely sustainable business so we can continue producing some of Australia and New Zealand’s favourite beverages for the next 200 years and beyond.”