Friends of 2 Minute: Jen Gale

Jen Gale is your everyday working mum crossed with an eco-warrior and author with a firm hold on what’s realistic. She doesn’t think you have to be the picture of perfection when it comes to being green and believes that absolutely anyone can make small changes to help save the world. We couldn’t agree more. 

Find out about all the things she’s been up to (think online festivals, book launches and podcasts plus more) by reading on. 

Hey Jen! How was 2020 for you? Did you launch anything exciting in the midst of the pandemic?

Hello! 2020 was a weird one to say the least!

I think, like many of us, I spent the first month after lockdown trying to get my head around what was happening. It also felt like a really difficult time in the ‘eco space’ – to know what to talk about or whether it was even appropriate to still be speaking about environmental issues and concerns when the world had been turned upside down.

I spent April really struggling, but after seeing a friend run an online festival around redundancy, I wondered if I could do the same for my audience. I wasn’t sure if there would be an appetite for it or if people would be too consumed with Covid and not have the headspace to think about anything else. Luckily it turned out that there was an appetite! Within 2 weeks I pulled together the Sustainable(ish) Online Festival – a week of 40 talks, workshops and panel discussions with over 60 contributors and 2500 people taking part. It was phenomenal and saw so much action as a result. It was definitely the highlight of my lockdown. I still get messages today telling me about the things that people have done and made happen because of it.

I was also one of those irritating people who managed to write a book during lockdown. I signed the contract for my second book – The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting – as the first lockdown hit with a deadline of mid June. It’s being published this month which is hugely exciting!
I ran the first ever Knackered Mums on (Eco) Tour in August, a free 5 day challenge for knackered mums (and other knackered types) with 15 easy eco actions. Over 600 people took part, with a carbon saving of over 60 tonnes of CO2 over the 5 days – safe to say that blew me away! Off the back of the tour I launched the Knackered Mums Eco Club, my new membership club, which now has over 140 amazing women on board who inspire and motivate me everyday with their actions and support of each other. 

Can you tell us about when you first starting becoming aware of our environmental impact and wanting to do something to help?

I always used to think I was pretty green but I, slightly randomly, decided to spend a year buying nothing new as a family in 2012/13. I think prior to this I was somehow subconsciously looking away from a lot of environmental issues and hadn’t joined the dots at all between our own consumption and the climate crisis. It was an amazing experience and one that totally changed my life. I understand it’s pretty overwhelming to start to face up to the realities of what’s happening to the planet and very easy to feel powerless and hopeless. The year made me realise the power of my choices, the power of my voice, and the responsibility that I have to make better choices more of the time, when and where I can.

What was the first thing you did to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

I’m not sure what sparked it because this was well before our year of buying nothing new, but I bought a Mooncup (reusable menstrual cup) when my periods came back after the birth of our eldest. It took a bit of getting used to, but I haven’t used a disposable menstrual product since, saving thousands of items from landfill!

We love the ‘sustainable(ish)’ concept! The 2 Minute Foundation is all about small actions making big differences. Tell us about ‘imperfect eco-action’. 

I feel like the ‘ish’ is so important. Someone commented on one of my posts recently, saying that they found themselves in tears during one of the Festival sessions last year realising that they didn’t have to make perfect choices. Imperfect eco-action gives us permission to get it wrong, to compromise and to find out what works for us and our family. Therefore it makes it so much easier to get started!

There’s a brilliant quote by Anne Marie Bonneau (aka the Zero Waste Chef) that says “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly,” and the same applies to all areas of sustainable living. 

How did it feel to turn everything you’d learnt over the years into The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide? Can you tell us about your new book, The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting, too?

Writing the books has been a dream come true. I used to be a vet, so have a science background, but I rediscovered my love of writing when I blogged about our year buying nothing new. It’s been challenging though too, to push through the imposter syndrome – the ‘who am I to write a book?’ feelings. After all, I’m not an expert, but I hope that that is part of the appeal. I’m just an ordinary knackered mum and if I can do it, so can you!

The new book is, as you can tell from the title, aimed at parents. There are 7 chapters from pre-baby through to the teenage years and I hope that there’s something there for everyone. I am painfully aware of how much pressure we are all under as parents, especially after the last year, so it very much majors on the imperfect action; picking one thing, making a start, having a go. There’s no guilt or judgement or pressure to be perfectly green. I don’t think there is actually such a thing as perfectly green! It’s packed with ideas at each stage for swaps and easy changes we can make to help reduce our own impact and try to bring the rest of the family along for the ride.

Did the podcast spring up naturally after you’d written your blog and first book? Who’s featured on it so far? 

The podcast started about two years ago before the book was on the horizon. I think I’m inherently nosy and I LOVE chatting to people and hearing about all the amazing things they’re doing. There are so many people out there, quietly getting on and doing their thing to make the world a better place. I wanted to be able to, in my own small way, give them another platform to share their stories on. 

The 2 Minute Foundation’s very own Martin Dorey has been on, as well as Sian Berry – co-leader of the Green Party, Tessa Clarke – co-founder of Olio, Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, and chef and author Melissa Hemsley. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to speak to so many inspirational people. I think one of my favourite episodes was when we had a virtual coffee morning with some of the Knackered Mums from the Club. It’s so important to share the message that us ‘ordinary types’ can also change the world and that we don’t need a huge social media following to do it! 

You may have heard of our #2minutesofpositivity campaign, which launched during the first lockdown back in March 2020 – what small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

Tea is my absolute essential to keep me functioning. Walking the dog has also helped to keep me sane during lockdown and we’re lucky to live somewhere we can easily get out into the countryside. 

One of the things that never fails to make me to smile is to head over to the Knackered Mums Eco Clubhouse on Facebook and read about the changes they are making and seeing the love and support they have for each other. It’s genuinely life affirming and like having our own team of cheerleaders!

Any parting words of wisdom for our 2 Minute Tribe?

Never let anyone tell you that individual actions don’t make a difference. We are more powerful than we know – embrace the power of your choices and your voices. You DO make a difference.

If you’d like to find out more about Jen Gale, join the Knackered Mums Eco Club or check out her books, head over to Jen’s website by clicking here.


Friends of 2 Minute: Adam Hall

Adam Hall has supported us since the beginning. He’s not only the Head of Sustainability at Surfdome and the Internet Fusion Group, but also our friend. Adam has made huge steps forwards in plastic-free packaging at Surfdome and is championing change on a global level amongst the companies that they work with. 

Get to know Adam and the awesome things he does by reading on. 

Hey Adam, thanks for getting involved. How was 2020 for you in a nutshell?

Very different, but I’ve used the time to really connect with my local area and appreciate it more. I’ve had much more time with my family too which is epic – I managed to get my little girl riding her bike, so time well spent!

Tell us a bit about your role as Head of Sustainability at Surfdome and the Internet Fusion Group. 

My background is in sustainability and the surfing industry. I started at Surfdome in 2014 and was brought in to make sure we better represented the communities we serve. The environment is of the upmost importance to us and our customers – after all, we are in nature every chance we get.  So alongside supporting the sports we endorse through sporting governing bodies and events, we got started on our sustainability efforts.

Surfdome is now part of the Internet Fusion Group and our sustainability drive has grown stronger. As we are a mainly action sports retailer it makes sense that our approach always involved taking action! 

We’ve always strived to make real changes that have a very real impact on the environment. We’ve never chased certification or awards that might distract us from the ‘real’ work of considerably limiting our impact on the environment. If we get publicity or exposure for doing so that’s great, but that’s not the objective.

There are far too many ‘real’ actions to list, but these will give you an idea:

  • In 2015 we eliminated 74% of the plastic from our packaging (14 tonnes) in one quarter
  • In 2019 and 2020 our packaging became 99.8% plastic free and made up of 96% recycled material
  • In 2018 we released a policy that limited the plastic our 1,000+ brands sent us (some of which are the biggest outdoor brands on the planet). This resulted in 94% recycling rates in our warehouse (and always zero to landfill)
  • In 2018 we moved to a highly sustainable warehouse – just outside the top 1% of the most sustainable buildings in the UK
  • In 2019 we quadrupled our solar PV systems
  • We are the founding supporters of both The 2 Minute Foundation and Protect Our Winters UK

When did you first hear about The 2 Minute Foundation and how are you involved with us?

I met Neil Hembrow (the godfather of SW beach cleans) from Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Beach Care’ in early 2014. He mentioned he had a friend in Bude who had started a hash tag that was going crazy. He put me in touch with Martin and within a week or so Martin, Neil and I were sipping tea on my deck watching the surf! I was somewhat star struck by Martin being at my place, fresh from his BBC 2 TV series! Right away we became the founding supporter of the then #2minutebeachclean and we’ve supported ever since. I’ve become a proud trustee of The 2 Minute Foundation and, most importantly, I call Martin my mate!

When did you first realise there was a serious plastic pollution issue?

It’s tough to pinpoint an exact time… I think it kind of crept up on me, and it wasn’t one sudden realisation. I, like many, can remember clean (or cleaner) beaches. But a key moment that sticks out for me was a visit from my Mum. She grew up on the coast in the west country but moved inland a long time ago. On one of her visits back we headed to the beach for the day. I caught her gathering up micro plastic close to where we were sat and she commented that there must have been some kind of spill there. I replied ‘it’s everywhere Mum, this is the reality now.’ I’ll never forget her disappointment as she looked all the way along the beach and noticed tiny spots of plastic along the strand-line. I’m genuinely gutted this has happened my lifetime! (I’m so sorry kids!)

Surfdome is now 99.8% plastic free across the business, which is incredible! What makes up the 0.2% and how are you planning to cut it out?

Plastic shrink or pallet wrap – currently there is no viable alternative where a reuse solution is not available (we’ve got rid of around 75% by using reusable pallet containers). However, that’s about to change this very week. We will be one of the first companies in the world to trial a plastic free wrap solution – 100% could well be in sight!

The work you’ve done to eliminate plastic packaging is really inspiring. How is your influence filtering up to the big brands that you work alongside?

We carried out a survey of our brands with the sustainability department at Plymouth University. The key points that came from it was that our brands found cost and knowledge a barrier in carrying our sustainability measures. We decided to help. 

Firstly our efforts in 2015 were net positive financially. We ring fenced the money from sustainability measures that saved us money and used that on sustainability measures that cost money. We shared this with our brands, which in turn addressed the brands financial concern.

We’ve done our homework over the years when it comes to plastic and packaging, so we knew we had to share this with our brands’ too. We produced a first of its kind ‘Delivery Policy’ that included a traffic light system for every packaging type that was relevant to us. It is a best practice guide and we back it up by stipulating that brands have to comply. Furthermore, we invited our brands to an open day at our highly sustainable warehouse to talk them through the policy.

The result? Great feedback! Many of the brands knew that they had to do something and not only had we spurred many on but we showed them exactly how. Some brands took on a whole new strategy around their sustainability and some employed sustainability managers as a result. Our favourite comment was ‘if we change for you, we’ll have to change for everyone,’ from one of the world’s biggest outdoor brands!

Do you think Surfdome becoming plastic-free has had an impact on the way your customers live too? Obviously protecting the environment must be in-line with most of them as they themselves are surfers, skaters, skiers and snowboarders! 

We have millions of customers – so I’d like to think so! We do get overwhelming support from our customers on social media and through Trust Pilot reviews on our packaging. We also try to bring them into The 2 Minute Family – your logos are across all our packaging that we send and have been since 2015.

Do you share your research with other businesses and individuals through talks and articles? 

Yes, our sustainability strategy includes us as influencers. We need to share our findings to push the sustainability agenda forward. We carry out numerous talks, create podcasts and write blogs. Our biggest achievements have been talking at the Northern Ireland Houses of Parliament, plus being a case study in Ellen Macarthur Foundations and ‘World Business Council for sustainability Development’ documents, both of which are used to inform policy!

Is there anything exciting for 2021 in the pipeline?

So much – but you know what? We only talk about things we achieve as everything else is just hot air… until you’ve done it! So you’ll have to wait and see!

You may have heard of our #2minutesofpositivity campaign – what small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

Get outside! We are designed to be outside. Appreciate it and look after it!

Read more about sustainability at Surfdome by clicking here.

Image by Devon Digital Imaging


Friends of 2 Minute: Cal Major

This week I was lucky enough to hear from Cal Major; veterinary surgeon, ocean advocate and world record holding stand up paddleboarder. When I was younger I went to a film festival focusing on women in extreme sports. I was captivated by Cal’s story of paddleboarding singlehandedly around the Isle of Skye in Scotland, so hearing about what else she’s been up to in the past couple of years was really interesting and incredibly inspiring.

Photo by James Appleton

Hey Cal, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! How was 2020 for you in a nutshell?

2020 was weird! I think it was for most people though. I think I experienced more emotions in one year than I have in the rest of my life put together! However it also brought hope that as a society we CAN do things differently, we can make change rapidly when needed and we can come together as communities to support a common need.

Did you launch any campaigns in 2020 and what was the outcome?

I spent a lot of 2020 getting Seaful registered as a charity. It’s been a mission of mine for a couple of years, and anyone who has set up a charity will understand the amount of work needed! The charity’s aim is to reconnect more people to our ocean and blue spaces, to help people find their own personal relationship with the water. Any of us who spend time in blue spaces know how amazing it is for our mental health, but I want to help more people find that connection, and to inspire and empower stewardship of our natural world as a result. We got the charity registered in late 2020, so are currently concentrating on getting it launched!

Do you have any big plans for 2021? Tell us about your campaigns for the coming year. 

I do have some big plans for this year, starting with launching Seaful, and our film series, Vitamin Sea TV. We have a really exciting collaboration with the Midcounties Co-operative with Seaful, helping connect people to nature. Then later in the year I have a big paddleboard expedition planned, Covid-permitting. I’m a member of the Our Seas Coalition, campaigning for the protection of the seabed around Scotland from bottom trawling, which is basically dragging heavy metal bars along the sea bed and destroying everything in its path, so I’m linking my expedition in with that to try and gather more public support. You can check out the campaign and film all about this at

What are you hoping to achieve in the new year?

I’m really looking forward to getting the charity up and running. As I know most of the people reading this will, I feel so strongly about protecting our beautiful natural world, and sharing it with as many people as possible! However without a personal connection to nature, we can’t expect anyone to really want to look after it. It’s hard to believe that anyone could not love the ocean in the environmental campaigning bubbles we live in, but facilitating those connections is such a crucial first step for so many.

Is there anything you’d like to encourage people to do differently this year?

I think we all need a break from screens! I would encourage people to find mindful moments throughout their day to connect with nature, even if that’s just a plant on your patio or a park down the road. It can do wonders for our mental health, and the healthier we are and the more connected to our environment, the better stewards we can be for our planet and our ocean.

What did you learn from 2020?

We are resilient, and yet we are vulnerable. Strength in our communities and connections is so vital.

You may have heard of our #2minutesofpositivity campaign – what small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

I go for a little walk every morning as soon as I wake up, down to the water. It is often, especially during lockdown, the best part of my day. I am really conscious of being mindful and focus on the birds, their song, their little fluffy bellies, the sunlight beginning to appear and the sound of the wind in the trees. It’s SO simple, and yet it truly makes the difference between me having a good or a bad day. I wrote a blog with some tips for it here:

To learn more about Cal Major and the environmental work that she does you can visit her website by clicking here