Adidas & The Ocean Trash Project

This week on BODO’s blog, BODO Planet, we covered a new innovative project undertaken by sportswear giants Ocean Trash TrainersAdidas, whereby they are trying to help clean up our oceans by using some of the harmful waste dumped there by us humans to create sustainable sneakers. The project is also being used as a means of raising awareness for the issue of ocean pollution and challenges us to think of innovative ways of combating it.

Obviously this in an idea that I find very interesting given that BODO is focussed on creating a sustainable product, using recycled car tyres to create the sole of the BODO Sandal. Whilst our idea is very different, given that we are using the transaction-based giving model to help distribute our product to people living in poverty, as well as the fact that it created from recycled materials, there are still some similarities. Like disused car tyres, sadly ocean trash is not something this world is going to run out of any time soon, so ways in which it can be collected from our oceans and put to good use, can only be a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Sadly this heavily polluted ocean is a far too common sight

Sadly this heavily polluted ocean is a far too common sight

Adidas have also helped to found a non-profit organisation that is focussed on using innovative technologies to change the nature of plastic and is exploring ways in which it can be made less harmful to the environment in general. This organisation, Parley for the Oceans, is also looking at ways in which we society in general can be become less dependent on plastics in our day to day lives.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a massive sneaker fan and have always loved the style and aesthetics of the Adidas range, so the fact that they are working on sustainable projects like the ocean trash idea, just further increases my admiration for the brand.
Adidas are arguably one of the world’s leading sportswear brands and it’s fantastic to see companies of this size putting their weight behind sustainable fashion projects. We have done a lot of damage to the world over the years and if we are going to go any way towards setting that right, then the world’s biggest brands, largest companies and most powerful leaders need to take action and start implementing changes to the way they do things.

Remembering History’s Forgotten Heroes

The other day I saw an article keep popping up in my social media newsfeeds, it was entitled “The White Man In Peter Norman PodiumThat Photo” and was published on GRIOT an online magazine. I found the article really moving and so I’ve decided to discuss it on my blog. The photo in question is the world-famous photograph of African American athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith, on the podium after winning medals for the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. It was a tumultuous year for the Civil Rights movement, a year that saw the tragic assassination of ones its greatest figureheads, Martin Luther King.
It is a photo that anyone with any knowledge of the African American Civil Rights movement will no doubt have seen numerous times, they will know that it was a hugely symbolic gesture, these two black men raising their hands, each wearing a black glove representative of the Black Panthers cause and sporting the “Olympic Project for Human Rights” badges proudly on their breasts.
The photo had a huge impact on the movement, beamed around the world in the days before the internet, Carlos and Smith became figureheads of the movement. They were immediately suspended by the American Olympic Delegation and faced death threats and heavy repercussions. But eventually their movement was victorious, their actions celebrated and the two men became heroes. So what of this unnoticed white man in “that photo”, for so many years, the world did not know his story and it is an incredible one. His name was Peter Norman, and he was an Australian sprinter, who still holds the Australian record for the 200 meters some 50 years later. Norman was not simply an intruder in that photo, he had discussed the movement with Carlos and Smith and supported their cause. When the pair mentioned that they only had one pair of black gloves between them, it was Norman’s idea that they wear one each to get the message across. It was Norman who asked to wear an “Olympic Project for Human Rights” badge, despite the fact that it would mean he was punished by his own country, who had strict apartheid laws at the time. Norman was actually given the badge by white American rower Paul Hoffman and so he stood with Carlos and Smith in this incredible gesture.
In the aftermath of the photo, Norman became the forgotten man, the treatment he received when he returned to his native Australian beggars belief, he was expelled from the Olympic team, was not permitted to go to the next Olympics despite his performances outshining the other athletes in the team and he was stopped from working, Peter Norman funeralostracised and alone. He occasionally worked as a trainer or a butcher, but his punishment for supporting Carlos and Smith went on until his death in 2006 from a heart attack. He died having never received a formal apology from his government for their despicable treatment of him. His lifelong friends, Carlos and Smith, were pallbearers at his funeral, for in their eyes, he always was and would always be, a hero. It was only in 2012 that the Australian parliament finally approved a motion to formally apologise for a lifetime of mistreatment that Norman experienced and his incredible athletic and symbolic achievements were posthumously recognised. Any great movements, like the civil rights movement, need people like Norman, people brave and courageous enough to stand up for what is right despite the consequences and he deserves to be celebrated and remembered.

GoodGym – A Different Type Of Exercise

The other day I stumbled across the story of Ivo Gormley, the man who founded the social enterprise GoodGym. GoodGym is an organisation that encourages people to get fit by doing good for their local community.
As many of you know, one of the reasons I started BODO was to make a positive impact in society, to use my idea and determination to help others who are less fortunate than me, so I am always inspired by others who are out there trying to do the same. I am also a big fan of exercise and when my life was a little less hectic, I would really enjoy working out at my local gym. These days, as founder of BODO and the father of a toddler, I don’t get as much time as I would like to head down the gym, but I will get it back on the agenda as soon as possible.
Hearing about Ivo Gormley’s project really made me smile, I think it’s an incredible idea that people can exercise and keep fit whilst helping out an isolated elderly person in their local area, or helping to improve their community for all to benefit.
That’s one of the reasons I wanted to share it on my blog, as I think it is essential for organisations with similar ethical and moral intentions to support one another.
Throughout the years, I have been involved with and supported numerous organisations that have the intention of using sport or exercise to help disadvantaged youth unlock their potential and talent, to stop them turning to a life of crime or to gangs, by teaching them principles, integrity and giving them hope and a solid support network. One of those organisations I have mentioned on here and in BODO’s other blogs, the Kiyan Prince Foundation. Since their inception, the Kiyan Prince Foundation has achieved so much and helped so many young people to turn their lives around and achieve something. I have nothing but admiration for how their founder Mark Prince, has turned personal tragedy into a driving motivation to help others.
Ivo Gormley’s idea, though very different, works from the same core principles. I think the idea of helping people whilst getting fit is a great way of motivating those who might need that extra shove to get them exercising.


The Fight Against Cyber Bullying

I absolutely abhor bullying in any context or environment. For me, picking on someone because they seem weaker No Cyberbullysthan you, or an easy target is simply despicable. I’ve seen people’s lives destroyed because of it, have experienced it myself across several different platforms and in different parts of my life and will always battle against those who think it is acceptable! Recently I have experienced some minor cyber bullying, which is what has made me want to discuss this subject on the blog. After everything I’ve been through in my life, it is nothing I can’t handle, but had I been slightly more vulnerable, the consequences could have been so much worse.
Before the internet age came about, the schoolyard was one of the main places where people experienced bullying. In the past, it was not taken as seriously as it is today and the bullied would often face a long, lonely struggle against their tormentors. But as schools and their staff are becoming more expert in spotting the signs and taking preventative measures, the bullies appear to have just found a new battleground to move to, with social media becoming their favoured stomping ground.
Cyber Angels LogoLuckily there are people and organisations which are determined not to let the internet become a savage land, where lives can be easily destroyed without cause or consequence. One of those organisations are the Cyber Angels, an offshoot of the Guardian Angels, an organisation I have worked with in the past and have a great deal of respect and admiration for. The Cyber Angels provide a number of services which I feel are absolutely essential in this day and age. They offer a place where people who have been bullied can turn to for support and advice, a friendly face, offering instruction and guidance and gradually becoming one of the most respected online safety education providers.
I think it is really important for anyone who has experienced cyberbullying to know that there is somewhere they can turn if they are targeted and that they definitely do not have to suffer alone or in silence. I’ve noticed that with some youth, there is almost the sad acceptance that cyberbullying is part and parcel of online life that nothing can be done about, but that’s definitely not the case, there are many organisations and people that can and will help!

Putting The Fun Into Dealing With Street Fundraisers

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and the topic of street fundraisers came up. My friend expressed the opinion that he felt that street fundraisers were really quite annoying and always seemed to try and collar him at the worst possible times, like when he was running late for an important meeting, or frantically trying to get to his children’s school to pick them up on time! Though the conversation was a light-hearted one, I felt the need to interject on behalf of the street fundraisers and defend them a little bit! I started by mocking my buddy in jest, saying he was a modern day ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ before the conversation took a more serious turn and we started discussing all things philanthropic. Bodo barefoot
Obviously, as founder of BODO, I believe heavily in philanthropic causes and putting all my efforts into making this world a better place, whereas my friend was looking at things from the other side of the spectrum, saying that there seemed to be so many charities and causes and the like, but it really didn’t seem like they were making any difference to the state of the world and that while he admitted to contributing to a few charities, he made the point that there was only so much he could afford to give. I explained that I understood his point, that it was easy to only see the bad in this world, the suffering, the bloodshed, the poverty, but that if those campaigning to make things better gave up, then the situation would be so much worse. Using the internet as my ally, I started bringing up stories of all the good done by charities, large and small, and showing many uplifting stories to my mate. I think I won him round to my way of thinking, before the discussion went back to street fundraisers and he was like, “they are still well annoying though!”
That’s when I explained my tactic of dealing with them, rather than get annoyed with street fundraisers trying to convince me to make regular donations to their cause, I used the situation to my advantage and told them about BODO and tried to get them on board as supporters as well as spreading the brand name. People who work for philanthropic causes tend to have philanthropic natures and will give you the time of day. So far, every time I have been stopped by a street fundraiser and I have told them about my efforts to turn BODO into a company that makes a lasting positive impact on the world, I have been met with nothing but excitement and interest! It’s certainly one way of spreading the word!