A Request For Help

It is busy at The 2 Minute Foundation with campaigning, inspiring people and businesses to change how they act, educating, collecting evidence…but times are tough, and it’s become clear that the charity needs money to keep going. In the 2 Minute newsletter this week CEO, Nicky Green, wrote to supporters to ask for help.

When I took over the role as CEO in March, I said that I would approach it with honesty and authenticity.  
So here goes: 

We need your help. Please can you donate to us so that we can continue to be here for you and the planet after the Summer?

It really has got to this point.

We have never asked for money, and we vowed that we never would, but times have changed and we really need you. I know that this is not an easy ask. The team and I understand the current cost of living rises and the impact that Covid is still having on many of us. But we also know what 2 Minute can do. And we want to carry on working together with you to save our beautiful planet. 

If you are able to give a monthly donation to help us continue, then please do so here.


When you are fast asleep, Dolly (our social media gatekeeper) is propped up in bed, usually at 3am, tea by her side, scrolling through your messages. She engages, likes and shares posts from all over the world. She’s overjoyed by the love and admiration that you have for your community and the planet and shares the feedback with the team each day. She is the human being behind the squares. She is always there for you and we don’t want this to stop. She is the beating heart of what we do and who we are.   

But my, have we grown! From one hashtag, we are now a charity, doing really great things. Over the last year we have worked with 10 corporates, educating them about marine plastic and what they can do to help protect the planet. We worked with a further 20 businesses to spread our 2 Minute message through their organisations to staff and customers and encourage more people to take part in small planet positive actions that all add up to make a big difference. Our inland campaigns #2MinuteLitterPick and #2MinuteStreetClean tackle litter and plastic pollution at source. We run The 2 Minute Beach School which has reached almost 1,000 children and young people. We’ve delivered 175 face to face sessions on the beach this year and reached a further 250 local school children. 100% of our students reported that they feel more connected to the environment after attending our sessions.  

Our online resources and lessons from the beach were a saviour to parents and carers in lockdown. We received feedback such as “my child would not concentrate on screen unless it was your sessions…what a joy for my child and for me (!) to see the interesting experiments and facts. You brought a little bit of positivity into our day”. The 2 Minute Beach School picks up litter after each session and has already collected 450kg of it this year. Our educational arm is growing, and we have aspirations to go inland into cities and reach more people with a 2 Minute tour.  

We have an app that has enabled us to log 131,375 pieces of litter. It gives us live data about what is being picked up across the globe in real time. The relaunch of the app this Autumn will help us build this citizen science programme to make top-down change. We have over 1,000 clean up stations including our circular recycled station range, that reduce litter by 61% and are stocked up with repurposed bags made from tents. To date we have made over 1,700 tent bags from 250 broken tents diverted from landfill (and counting!). We have supported and trained 34 Guardian Angel volunteers to conduct beach cleans and outreach work from these stations in their own communities across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, London, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. And we want to do more…   
   
Picking up litter and using the hashtag is powerful activism in itself – thank you for your dedication. Since the start of our #2Minute clean up campaigns we have removed over 400 tonnes of litter out of harm’s way. That’s an immense amount of litter that is not going on to entangle wildlife, break down in the environment or eventually end up in the food chain. We have done this together and now we’re asking you for a donation, so that we can be there for you in the future, remove more tonnes of litter, educate more children and inspire more people to take action. 

We don’t just want to be a number on a list of charities that couldn’t make it through the pandemic, in the hangover from a turbulent 2021, with delayed programmes and lack of funding. We want to be here for you, for the long run.   

You know the feeling of picking up your phone to see that we have liked a post or shared a story, right? You know how it feels to get a hello, or to get a love heart emoji or a wave, spurring you on to do a talk or set up a community group or help to navigate your way through this crucial decade of climate change?   
It’s validation. It’s community. It’s belonging.    

The charity has achieved so much since I started nearly 8 years ago. I remember the hard graft that Martin, Dolly and I put in from the get-go, sitting at Martin’s kitchen table, writing funding applications, working on the accounts or wrapping up a product from the shop. I love meeting strangers, whose eyes light up when I say that I work at The 2 Minute Foundation, and hearing how they have a station near them that has been the catalyst for change in their communities. 

I remember so much – Dolly bursting into tears at such beautiful words sent to us on social media, our first t-shirt range that flew off the shelves, being on cloud-9 after meeting astronaut Tim Peake, who loves the simple concept of our #2MinuteBeachClean campaign and picks up litter with his family every day. 

I remember the hundreds of clean ups, the days spent at beach school and going to our station production site to see the first coffee cup station ever made. I remember the euphoria of watching each TV appearance and press article printed, like the ad for #2MinuteBeachClean on the back page of Surfers Path, and seeing your posts using the #2MinutesOfPositivity campaign through lockdown – each memory and act growing the community and building momentum.  

This is the inspiring, the exciting, the impact that the charity has made and is making – all from a grassroots movement, together, with you.  

And we don’t want that impact to stop, so the time has come for us to ask, ask you, our amazing family of followers, to set up a monthly donation and give what you are able – to see this amazing young environmental charity flourish. Just think what we can achieve together over the next 10 years.   

So, if you can donate, it would mean the absolute world to us and secure the protection of it, for you and for future generations.    

Thank you  
Love Nicky x  
  
CEO    

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A Key Moment for The 2 Minute Foundation

The 2 Minute Foundation has appointed its new CEO, Nicky Green. She takes over from Founder, Martin Dorey, to propel the charity’s strategic aims into this crucial decade for climate action.

The newly formed core team brimming with passion, heart and fresh ideas, will take its followers on a journey to help clean up the planet together – 2 minutes at a time.  

Nicky is no stranger to 2 Minute. In 2010, she joined Martin’s writing business and was at the side-lines when it all started but it was in 2015 that her background in project management and communications set her in good stead to first work on stations and online shop sales. As the concept grew, she took on the corporate relations, new business, accounts, recruitment of the wider team, then headed up the operations as COO when The 2 Minute Foundation was set up in 2019 and was instrumental in navigating the charity through the pandemic.

Nicky and Martin have seen a lot of growth and change over the past 12 years – a point that was raised at the charity’s Q1 meeting. Nicky addressed the trustee board and Martin with a personal speech:

I’m conscious that I’m following in the footsteps (or a nice pair of brogues) of celebrity and founder of #2MinuteBeachClean Martin Dorey who’s actions have inspired thousands of individuals over the years.

I will approach this new role, of which I am the custodian, with a clear head, honest dialogue, steady plan, integrity, authenticity and commitment.

It’s an empty phrase to say it’s an honour to take on this role. I feel it is my purpose to be working in this space. I care personally. The team is now full of competent people who I trust, and I will build them up as we grow to help them illuminate their own paths.

I want to thank  Martin for giving me this opportunity in the first place! Sleep deprived with a 1-year-old, I went for an interview back in 2010 and got the job. I did my 1 days’ work, went home to be Mum for the rest of the week and did the same each week for 4 years.

It was in 2015, a year after the first #2MinuteBeachClean post, that my ears pricked up at a conversation Martin had with Dolly about the traction of the hashtag. It was growing. Really fast. I wanted to be part of it. From the many offices we have shared (from garden shed to kitchen table) Martin  allowed me to spread my wings, built me up and allowed me to progress in a career I never thought I’d ever have after having my 2 girls.

At times we have disagreed – it’s no lie…but we are both head strong and determined which I believe has contributed to the success of the charity since 2019. But I look back at the 12 years with fondness and friendship and I look forward to a pint in the near future.

Martin leaves behind a lasting legacy that will continue to create a ripple effect for generations to come, not only from that very first hashtag, which is still growing at an exponential rate, but also through his awe inspiring children’s books. I am proud to have worked for Martin, and with him. He sparked a whole movement that ignited the globe into direct action and that simple act appeals to young and old. I read this that was apt regarding Martin’s tenure: “Human ingenuity is the ultimate renewable resource”.

Martin – I’ll steer this ship that was built by you . Its foundations are made from blood, sweat and tears, passion, heart and a deep love and respect for the natural world.

As Dolly would say – it’s been a helluva ride. Enjoy your next adventure!

Martin will become trustee of The 2 Minute Foundation and will sit on the board alongside the 7 other trustees – brimming with expertise.

The continuing strategy led by Nicky will drive The 2 Minute Foundation’s litter picking app to be a leader in its field, grow the 2 Minute Beach School offering and take it inland, launch the Academy where students can achieve accreditation to support them on their career paths into the sector, and nurture and support the existing Guardian Angel cohort for those dedicated volunteers to spread the 2 Minute ethos to their communities. All of the activations aim to inspire and educate the general public on the impact that plastics have on the environment and to mitigate plastics reaching inland watercourses, that eventually lead to the sea.

“The ocean is our greatest ally in combatting climate change” says Nicky. “It’s the biggest carbon sink on the planet, constantly sucking up naturally occurring carbon, and since the Industrial revolution, the carbon from burning fossil fuels. The microscopic plants and organisms in the ocean photosynthesise to give us oxygen – it’s brimming with life and biodiversity. So, by adding in a heady mix of anthropogenic plastics that find their way into the ocean at an alarming rate, and after years of leaching chemicals into the atmosphere or breaking up into smaller pieces (microplastics), the misuse of, and single use of plastic abuses the very thing that gives us life’.

The charity will issue an annual impact report to share with its followers, prospects and partners, take The 2 Minute station concept overseas, work on an overhaul of its growing campaigns and work on an internal training drive for the talented team of marketeers, teachers, campaigners, plastic-free experts, marine biologists, data analysts, app builders, designers, social media heroes and fundraisers.

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The 2 Minute Foundation Academy

The 2 Minute Foundation Academy is dedicated to education. Under the Academy umbrella, we offer all sorts of programmes, catering for everyone from school groups to hen parties, and from beach clean volunteers to corporate away days.

Some of the Academy branches are already thriving and successful, while others are still in the planning stage. We’re raising money to continue building and progressing The 2 Minute Academy.

Training academy

A 1-2 year programme offering learning, both on the ground or online. Our training academy courses are suitable for anyone: from teens doing their D of E award, to adults, from people in employment to retirees and from people looking for a change of career to those who just want to expand their environmental knowledge.

The 2 Minute Angel Academy

We are currently raising money to develop our Angel Academy. Offering a structured training program that not only helps to promote the work of The 2 Minute Foundation, but provides our local ‘Guardian Angel’ volunteers with the skills, experience and qualifications that will benefit them in any future employment.

During the academy year, Guardian Angels (GA’s) will have the opportunity to join a whole host of free training events (remotely or face to face) – from how to run a beach clean to carrying out surveys, and from finding microplastics to public speaking courses. 

The volunteers will have a designated tutor who will work with them individually to help them achieve their targets, and a strong support network of other Academy volunteers in their area, along with the team at HQ, helping them along the way.

Our Guardian Angels come from all stages of life – we welcome everyone from students, new graduates, to people wanting a career change later in life.

The 2 Minute Foundation GA’s will move on from the Academy with the skills to be an asset to any company or environmental charity they join.

We also offer formal qualifications throughout the academy year – aiming to partner with other organisations such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the MCS, and BDMLR to provide those certifications.

The 2 Minute Expeditions

Offering day-long or week-long activity-packed retreats.

Our 2 Minute Expeditions incorporate a whole day of activities focused around enjoying, understanding and looking after our natural environment

Expeditions may include a walk across the cliffs, a talk about climate change, cliff erosion, extreme beach cleaning or boulder scrambling…

We can tailor anything to anyone: whether it’s snorkel or Scuba cleans, coasteering, surf lessons, foraging, fire-making. What’s more, we are working with local activity suppliers to develop activities with an environmental twist, enhance learning opportunities and support the local economy.

Our bespoke expeditions and retreats are suitable for all adult groups, including:

  • Business away days, team building and CSR trips
  • Adult learning groups
  • Birthday parties, hen / stag events

Online and Remote Activities

Our 2-minute TV channel is all about educating people – 2 minutes at a time.

  • 2 Minutes on the Beach – Bite sized info including fun stuff to do at the beach for children and adults, that isn’t just building a sand castle or digging a hole… There’s a big focus on the science side of things, too – bringing education into your next trip to the beach.
  • 2 Minute Solutions – a series of short videos about things that are going wrong in the world – and what you can do about it.
  • 2 Minutes of Positivity – environmental issues don’t have to be all doom and gloom. Our Positivity videos inject 2 minutes of positive thinking into your day.

The 2 Minute Beach School

Our 2 Minute Beach School is all about getting kids outside learning. Currently running on Crooklets Beach in Bude, Cornwall, the 2Minute Beach school is free for everyone, all year round.

Our ambition is to have 2 Minute Beach Schools all over the country, with the flagship school in Bude. Our current offering includes:

For Schools:

  • Series of lessons for local schools – regular visits over any given period of time
  • One-off school visits – a school group can come to the beach school for one day
  • Local regular sessions – sessions designed for home educated students, parent and toddlers, families and adults only.
  • Virtual field trips in the classroom – ideal for schools outside the area
  • 12+ club – after-school club for teenagers: equivalent of Scouts or Guides with activities related to the beach environment, for children aspiring to be the ultimate beach warriors.  

For Individuals 

  • Local regular drop ins – Sessions designed for Home Educated students, families, parent and toddlers and adults only.  
  •  After-school clubs, for Primary or Secondary aged children. Equivalent of Scouts or Guides with activities related to the beach environment, for children aspiring to be the ultimate beach warriors. 

Our 2 Minute Academy has received funding from outdoor clothing brand Fjällräven for our first six months.

We are currently seeking funding to build up and develop all branches of The 2 Minute Academy to provide amazing environmental education opportunities and beach activities for everyone all around the country.

Donate via The Big Give from 30th November to 7th December, and whatever you give to our Academy campaign will be doubled by The Big Give!

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COP26 and what does it mean?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Glasgow 2021 – the climate conference where the world’s leaders came together to stop the planet heading for disaster. They had one job: to stop the average global temperature rising more than 1.5 degrees. They knew how to do it – cut emissions, cut dependence on fossil fuels, and do it fast.

What happened was a lot of promises, a lot of information sharing, a lot of pleas from those already being affected by climate change. But no real commitments leave us jumping for joy. The big emitters (that’s us in the UK – along with China, India, the US and the EU) do need to be held accountable if they fail to stick to their pledges and pacts.

So now what?

It’s down to us. We can’t rely on the big businesses and the politicians to make a change, but they are dependent on us. We are the consumers. We are the electorate.  And every single one of us can make rapid, small adjustments that will force a change.

What can you do?

We can make significant changes in our lives in a matter of minutes. It just takes a conscious decision and a shift in habits. The main thing to remember is that we are not alone. We lead by example, tell our friends and family about it, teach our kids how to do things differently.

Switch to green energy. A quick Google search will bring up dozens of options. Try a green energy comparison site like The Big Clean Switch to help you decide which service works best for you.

Cut down on plastic The oil industry wants you to buy plastic! Be conscious about what you buy. It just takes a moments more thought – keep a shopping bag in your car boot, grab a water bottle before you leave home, search for second-hand plastic toys… We all know what we SHOULD do, it’s just about pressing pause, being conscious about what we buy and how we consume.

Drive less We know it’s hard, especially in winter. But for local journeys, just think – being wet or cold for a few minutes, planning to leave a few minutes earlier, putting a waterproof or an umbrella by your front door – they’re momentary inconveniences that all add up.

Green up your pension pot You can choose how the money in your pension pot is invested – yes, even if you only have a state pension. Have a look at Nest to find out how you can switch to sustainable, ethical investments.

Buy second-hand clothes Modern clothes don’t just contain a lot of plastic (in the form of elastane, Lycra, nylon, fleece), but they take a whole tonne of energy to produce. Save money and cut down on fuel consumption by browsing Facebook Marketplace, Ebay or the likes of Vinted.

Eat less meat The meat industry is the biggest producer of methane, and the biggest driver for rainforest destruction. Reducing the amount you eat, or cutting it out altogether, will have a huge impact on that industry. With the money savings you make, choose grass-fed or organic meat – with lower methane emissions, lower impact on the environment and better for you. Win-win-win.

Buy second hand or sustainable-wood furniture It really is that simple. If we reduce the amount of new wood products we buy, the market that drives deforestation shrinks.

Change your bank Choose a bank that doesn’t bankroll deforestation or have links to the oil industry. Guides like this at Money Expert or Green Choices are a good place to start.

Not much COP?

A brief digest of some of the big topics at COP26

Oil and gas

Denmark and Costa Rica set up the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, pushing for countries to commit to cutting dependency on oil and gas. A dozen signed up to it, but it was snubbed by the UK and most of the other big emitters and the world’s oil producers.

Coal

At least 23 nations made a commitment to phase out coal power, including five of the top 20 users: Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, Chile and Ukraine. The world’s biggest polluters are not part of the efforts, and the UK is refusing to rule out opening a new coal mine in Cumbria.

Plastics

The government said that recycling plastics is a red herring, and that we have to cut down on our use of plastic in the first place. But plastics originate as fossil fuels, and greenhouse gases are emitted at each stage of the plastic life cycle. With no hard commitment to reducing fossil fuel extraction, or on cutting down production of plastic, the government’s ‘hard truth’ about plastics now look like empty words because plastic and climate change are intrinsically linked.

Methane

More than 100 countries pledged to reduce planet-warming methane emissions by 30% by 2030 in the “Global Methane Pledge.” Farming industry demonstrated methods for reducing emissions, like a cattle-feed supplement that stops cows from producing as much methane. This supplement has been cleared for use in some South American countries and imminently in Europe. As for the US, the biggest beef producer, there’s no sign of improvement.

Deforestation 

Cop26 got off to a strong start with more than 100 nations agreeing to end deforestation by 2030. Brazil, where vast areas of the Amazon rainforest have been chopped down, was among those to commit. The agreement includes almost £14bn of public and private funds. 

Whilst COP26 may not have produced exactly what we were all hoping for. Let’s not forget to stay positive. We should all remember to take 2 minutes to reflect on how we as individuals can make small behavioural changes that will add up to make a big difference for our planet.

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Code Red for Humanity (plus the top ten things you can do about it today)

How do you feel about the news from the IPCC this week that we are to blame for the climate crisis and that our climate is changing as a result of human activity? I know how I feel.

I feel relieved.

Why? Because finally, maybe, our governments will begin to act on climate change. Maybe we’ll start to make some rapid moves towards a low carbon future and will begin to tackle the problems caused by pollution, plastics, carbon dioxide, consumption and greed.

The news has also served to strengthen our resolve here at 2 Minute HQ because we know that, however you look at it, plastic is climate change. At every stage in the life of a piece of plastic it emits climate gasses. Its extraction as oil, its production into plastic and its transportation emits huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, helping to fuel the climate crisis. And with the use of petrol, diesel and jet fuel lessening due to Covid, the oil industry is pushing more plastic on us than ever, citing, for example, that plastic has a lower carbon footprint than paper packaging. It doesn’t, when you consider the industry that’s behind each piece of plastic.

Global plastic production is expected to emit 56 billion tonnes of carbon between now and 2050.

Once it’s been used and discarded plastic continues to emit climate gases in the form of methane and ethylene, with polyethylene, the world’s most prolific plastic, emitting the most of these gasses out of all plastics. In sea water plastic also emits these gasses as it breaks down, so further threatening the health of our oceans. Never mind the fact that plastic attracts pollutants in seawater, kills seabirds, fish and sea mammals through ingestion, poisoning and entanglement in their hundreds of thousands each year. Oh yes, and it takes energy to recycle plastic too.

If you ever needed a new reason to reduce your plastic consumption, this news is it.

And that’s why, as always, we will continue to say that every #2minutebeachclean matters.

While we cannot forget that we have been failed by our governments, industrialists and the coal, oil and gas industry for many decades, we still need to roll up our sleeves and do all we can to reduce our own carbon footprints and persuade others to reduce theirs. We have been gaslit into believing that our own consumption, travel and lifestyles are OK and, actually, that’s not OK.

It’s time to vote with our feet and wallets.

When I said that I felt relieved, I meant that I felt some kind of reassurance that we haven’t been working for nothing. The 2 Minute Beach Clean was always about encouraging people to take the first easy steps towards living a life that’s kinder to the planet. I had a feeling that somehow dirty beaches were just the tip of the iceberg. Now we know. And now we know we can start to act, based on the fact that we have proven that small actions can add up to make a big difference. Now it’s time to apply those principles to other aspects of our lives. Properly, with purpose, and like there is no tomorrow. Because, if we don’t… well, you’ve already heard it before.

What can you do today to combat climate change?

There are so many things you can do, really. Each one might not seem like much, but, when you add them all up, it can make a difference. Here’s my top ten.

  1. Do not forget that governments and corporations also need to act and this list of things to do is not supposed to let them off the hook. Make your first mission be to boycott polluting companies and governments who don’t act. Use your vote and your wallet to save the planet.
  2. Don’t drink bottled water again. Everything about water as a commodity is wrong. It is 500 times more expensive than tap water, 92% of it has plastic in it and it emits climate gasses at every stage of its life. Even cans of water emit climate gasses in their production.
  3. Turn off the tap. The water industry, through filtering, pumping and treatment, emits about 1% of the UK greenhouse gases. Using less of it will save you money and help reduce your footprint and that of the industry. Shower, turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. Simple, easy things to do, right?
  4. Change your bank. Lots of banks use your money to invest in fossil fuels. The quickest way you, as a punter, can stop this is to stop supporting those who do. Don’t let them use your money to continue contributing to climate collapse. Try Co-Op, Tridos or Santander.
  5. Change your pension pot. Again, the people who invest your pension pot may not give two hoots about anything other than money. Changing your pot to an ethical fund will give them a clear message that you don’t approve of their odorous investments. If you have a Nest pension it takes about 5 minutes to change your pot to an ethical one (be aware that the return may not be as good, for now – but those are the choices we face. Planet or profit?).
  6. Eat local, seasonal and fresh veg. Food miles contribute hugely to global carbon emissions. Take a look at the origin of what you eat. The more local produce you buy, the better it is for the planet. Eating seasonal food also reduces the need for artificial growing conditions that require huge amounts of energy.
  7. Stop using so much plastic. The less you use, the lower your carbon footprint. Simple. All that stuff that we’ve been banging on about for ages has come home to roost. Lower your plastic consumption and lower your footprint.
  8. Stop eating so much fish and meat. The majority of plastic we find on the beach comes from fishing. It is an industry that has taken too much and destroys as it goes. If you must eat fish, eat local and sustainably caught fish or that which you catch yourself. Watch Seaspiracy. If you eat meat, eat meat that’s reared locally, on permanent pasture and that isn’t fed on soya or silage from ploughed fields.
  9. Travel more wisely. Think about how you travel and when you travel. Leave the car at home more often. Take the train. Write to your MP about ticket prices. Get your bike out of the shed and give it a spin. Walk a bit more. Work from home and resist going back to commuting. Enjoy your life instead of rushing about.
  10. Let nature into your life. Nature needs a hand because climate change is causing havoc with the natural world. 60% of insects are under threat of extinction, along with countless other mammals, reptiles, fish and birds. The more you give nature a hand the better. It’s easy and fun. Set up a bird feeder, let the lawn grow wild, stop using weed killer (it kills bees, hedgehogs, birds and invertebrates) and try to plant insect friendly plants.

FINALLY: what if climate change is a hoax?

It’s a good point. What if you…

  • eat more healthily
  • have a garden full of insects, birds and animals
  • cycle a lot more
  • walk in the countryside
  • give up the car
  • move your investments to more ethical pots
  • stop buying products from greedy corporations
  • support local businesses
  • drink clean water from the tap
  • get to see your children growing up in a healthy and clean planet

….AND IT’S ALL FOR NOTHING?

You get the point.

Good luck and thank you.

Martin

Founder of the #2minutebeachclean

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Turning Trash into Treasure

The biggest breakthrough in beach cleaning in 15 years?

Hello. It’s Martin Dorey here, founder of the #2minutebeachclean and CEO of the 2 Minute Foundation. I have some amazing news to share with you all that I believe is a real step forward in our fight against beach litter. After harbouring dreams of turning beach litter into something useful for many years we have finally been able to make something that we believe is the biggest step forward in beach cleaning in 15 years.

Beach clean stations made from marine litter.

In time, the stations could be made from the litter you pick up from your beach. The station could then go back on your beach to help and inspire others to pick up more litter. We think that’s a real innovation.

If you’ve got 2 minutes I’d like to tell you how it came about, why it’s taken so long and why it’s so important.

I have told the story of how I became enraged by beaches knee deep in plastic many times. The year was 2006 and the location was a beach in North Devon. Having just moved to a house in the hamlet above the beach I discovered a section of coastline that was knee deep in plastic bottles, fish crates, rope and net. It was truly horrendous. I vowed there and then to do something about beach litter, whatever it was. I honestly had no idea it would turn out to be this!

I organised a beach clean with the help of Torridge Rangers, The National Trust, my local primary school and friends and neighbours. We cleaned as far as the eye could see, made art from the finds with my friend Mrs Recycle, took the kids on rockpool rambles and, most importantly, gave each of the children a gift I had blagged from a plastics recycler and manufacturer. It was a ruler, made from recycled plastic. Afterwards we set up a BBQ and bar (adults only) on the beach and celebrated a job well done.

The ruler, a seemingly small thank you for the kids who worked so hard, was hugely significant. I wanted the hard work of the kids to come back to them in the form of something truly positive. It was a symbolic closing of the loop. Making good things out of litter, treasure out of trash.

From that one day of action many good things have happened. We are a charity. We have set up a beach school. We have inspired lots of people to go out and pick up litter, 2 minutes at a time. It took a while to get going, of course, as it wasn’t until 2013 that the #2minutebeachclean idea was born. But that beach clean was a seminal moment.

However, it’s been bugging me for all these years that we haven’t been able to do much with the litter we pick up. We certainly haven’t been able to chart its course from useless and dangerous pollutant to something useful.

Until now.

The brilliant team here at the 2 Minute Foundation have been working for years on turning beach litter into something useful. In fact, it was a conversation early in the development of our beach clean stations in 2014, that inspired the research: what if the stations could be made from the litter on the beach? As an idea it was too pure, too good. And besides, the infrastructure to make it happen did not exist yet. That’s why we have been making them out of wood and laminate. It wasn’t ideal but would have to do for the time being.

Now I am happy to report that we have achieved what we thought would be impossible in 2014.

We have made a prototype beach cleaning station out of marine litter. It’s been a long road, has taken an army of people to organise, with lots of dead ends and twists and turns, but it’s finally happened.

The short story is this:

Plastic can be recycled. We know this. But plastics that are contaminated are not easy to recycle. Plastic also gets downgraded the more it gets recycled, which is why your average drinks bottle never turns into another drinks bottle. It always ends up as insulation or a bench or something of a lower grade. Riz Smith, our friend at Riz Boardshorts, has been making shorts from recycled bottles for a while now. So we know good stuff can come from trash, for sure, just not OUR trash.

The trouble with beach plastic is that it’s already really low grade and is worth nothing to recyclers. While nets and nylon can go to become kayaks, as made by our friends at Fathoms Free and Odyssey Innovation, or by Econyl, most of what we find is too degraded to become anything else and, ultimately, becomes landfill or goes to be incinerated for energy. Both of these solutions are one-way streets. The end is the end.

However, recently the Ocean Recovery Project, headed up by long-time supporter and all round beach cleaner extraordinaire Neil Hembrow and Matt Hulland from ORP Recycling, have been able to shred hard beach plastics and get them pressed into boards. They did this for the stage at Glastonbury in 2019. This was the breakthrough needed to work on our dreams. It was the missing link, if you like. After much research, our COO Nicky found a company, Reworked, that could take beach plastic from us, press it into sheets and then CNC cut and shape the sheets into products. They jumped at the chance!

All the while we had been dreaming of doing something with the plastic we gather – the elephant in the room – we have been building a network of stations around the country and an army of volunteers (both official and unofficial) to gather plastic. We have over 900 stations, thanks to you, Surfdome, Keep Britain Tidy’s BeachCare project and Deb Rosser and Kim Stevens. Thanks to Fjallraven and Bunzl we also have more than 20 Guardian Angels in Devon, Cornwall, London and Dorset who look after our stations and who, we hope, in time will be able to help us gather and store marine plastics to go to recycling. We now stock stations with reusable bags made from upcycled discarded festival tents, with our partners Rooted Ocean. We have a few bins (made from fishing nets gathered by Odyssey Innovation) around the coast to gather the litter and we hope to put out even more in 2021. This is the infrastructure – or the beginnings of it – that we need to begin rolling out recycled marine litter beach cleaning stations in 2021.

We think this innovation has come at the perfect time. We’re all in need of a little good news at the moment. Once lockdown lifts it’ll feel great to get out and about in the spring sunshine. What better excuse to spend the whole day at the beach, in the park or in your local green spaces than litter picking? Let’s look after the planet as well as our bodies and minds.

The most exciting thing for me is that we should be able to turn a beach clean into a beach cleaning station to place back on the beach. It is truly circular and fulfils a dream to make useful things out of stuff that’s worth nothing. Not only will it save us from using new materials to make beach clean stations in the future but it will also inspire people to go and collect their own stations! That means we are turning beach waste into a resource that can be used for good instead of going to landfill or continuing to choke our oceans!

Turning trash into treasure!

We are excited.

What next?

  • We are looking for sponsors to help us roll out the stations all over the UK and beyond.
  • We are looking for green transport to help us transport marine litter to our processor.
  • We are looking for volunteer beach cleaners who can gather and store marine plastic.
  • We are looking for funding to make the first 100 stations.

Contact nicky@2minute.org if you can help us in any way.

OUR CHALLENGE

It takes 3 tonnes of marine plastic to make 100 stations. So we’ve set ourselves a challenge. The 2 Minute HQ team have pledged to collect these 3 tonnes before the end of lockdown, meaning we’ll be able to crack on with the first 100 stations by spring. We’ll be out collecting as much beach litter as we can find during our lockdown exercise time!

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LOCKDOWN 2: Time to take 2 minutes. Again.

Hello.

We’re back here again. Back in a national lockdown situation in England and under restrictions in Wales and Scotland. Ireland is under lockdown too. When I wrote about the first lockdown back in April it felt as if we had had our wings clipped just as we were about to fledge. We felt like we were on the brink of doing wonderful things and were thwarted.

Now, as we face another period of lockdown, and the uncertainty that goes with it, we feel like we’re old hands at this now. It might not make the prospect of being at home any easier, but at least we know what to expect. Whatever it means for you, I sincerely hope it’s manageable and that you will be able to get through it unscathed.

We will continue to campaign, will continue to run our social media accounts and will continue to prepare for 2021, whatever form that may take. Sadly though, it does mean delays to some of our projects, particularly our Guardian Angel project.

However, it won’t stop us starting to develop our new Beach School Programme here in Cornwall or delay us in recruiting more Angels for Dorset and beyond. If you want to get involved with us as a local Angel, get in touch with Claire HERE.

You and litter picking

The government rules on exercise are clear this time around so we’re hoping we won’t experience the uncertainty and misinterpretation of the rules like last time. The rules on volunteering are clear too, which means you may leave home to volunteer for charities.

We can go out to exercise as much as we want or need, and may travel to do so, as long as it is locally. We may visit parks and gardens, beaches and open spaces that are within easy reach of our homes. We are being encouraged to walk or cycle too, which is no bad thing. Leaving the car at home can help us to connect with our local area, get more exercise and help the planet breathe a little easier.

What the new lockdown rules mean is that litter picking, beach cleaning and street cleaning is possible, as part of your exercise, as long as you are able to do it safely and locally. As we know, picking up litter can be a great distraction and therapy in times of stress and anxiety. It’s helped me a lot over the years, to take time out to focus on something else. That break, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can help you breathe, mentally, physically and spiritually.

And if you need me to spell it out, here are a few reasons why litter picking is so great:

  • You focus on a small, regular task and not on your health or self or the world around you
  • You get a sense of satisfaction from improving the world
  • You feel connected to the place where you litter pick
  • You feel ownership for the place you litter pick
  • You can see the results instantly
  • You can inspire others to do the same
  • It’s great exercise

So, if you can, get out there and look after yourself and the planet with a #2minutelitterpick, #2minutebeachclean or #2minutestreetclean while you exercise. Take a bag from home, wear gloves or take a litter picker and remember to wash your hands afterwards. That’s important. Wash your hands. And please, if you can, use our APP to log your finds and post images of them to social media to help inspire the rest of the team.

Our #2minutebeachclean and #2minutelitterpick stations will be out of service for the time being (unless the Guardians are able to provide you with sanitiser) which means we’ll be back to basics. It’s up to us, as individuals, to get out there and do what we can for the planet and for ourselves.

2 Minutes of Positivity

During the last lockdown you may remember we posted videos every day under the hashtag #2minutesofpositivity. We will be revisiting our this campaign again, every day, at 2, if you need a little love and positivity from other members of the 2 Minute Family during this stressful and tricky period in our lives.

Thank you.

Stay safe. Be well. Take 2 minutes out for yourself. Get in touch if you need help.

See you on the other side.

Martin. Founder of the 2 Minute Foundation.

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2 Minutes of Positivity on World Mental Health Day

The concept that just 2 minutes can make a whole world of good, is one that we live by. 2 minutes of picking up litter can clean up our earth. 2 minute solutions can lead to entire lifestyle shifts towards more eco-friendly existences. 2 minute regeneration projects can plant entire forests. And 2 minutes of positivity can make a massive difference to our mental health.

We believe that taking care of your mental health, is just as important as taking care of your physical health. You wouldn’t go to bed without brushing your teeth, so why go to bed without emptying your mind? In a time when we are absolutely bombarded with information, distractions and advertising, take 2 minutes out of your day, every single day, and take a step back. Take a deep breath. Go outside. Do yoga. Meditate. Sing. Dance. Cook something delicious. Cuddle your cat. Walk your dog. Learn an instrument. Call a friend. Chat to your neighbour. The smallest of actions can make the biggest of differences, and it’s important to take the time, even if it’s just 2 minutes, to do something that makes your really, truly happy.

Over the lockdown in Spring we launched our #2minutesofpositivity campaign, and were inundated with responses. Big wave surfers and sports coaches and celebrity’s and members of our very own 2 Minute Family recorded little messages to spread some positivity across our social media channels – sometimes it was singing, sometimes it was exercise, sometimes we were even taken to the mountain tops in Norway! Whatever it was, we were aiming to make you smile, to encourage you to move your body, and inspire you to do something that makes you happy, too.

The 2 Minute Foundation is so much more than a charity. It’s a network of people. It’s a family. We want you to feel like you are a part of something, achieving something, and supported the entire time. Our aim is to not only help the planet, but to help you! When your eyes hurt from the screens, the walls feel like their closing in, when your mood is sinking lower and lower, we couldn’t recommend getting outside enough. Fresh air, Vitamin D, stretching your legs and listening to the birds is, in our opinion, the best medicine. Anxiety and depression levels have skyrocketed over this unpredictable year, but heading outside for a walk and taking part in just 2 minutes of litter-picking and street or beach cleaning, can make a world of difference! You’re doing something good for the world and something good for yourselves, and it makes US so happy knowing you’re caring for your own mental health at the same time as taking care of our amazing planet.

So, let this Saturday be a conversation starter, not just a date on the calendar. World Mental Health Day should be EVERY DAY. Ask your friends how they are, really. Call your family if you’re feeling down. Drag yourself out of bed for an early morning dog walk. Jump in the sea for a swim. Take a couple of minutes to do something that makes you happy EVERY SINGLE DAY!

If you’re struggling with mental health issues and don’t know who to talk to, there are some amazing charities that offer 24 hour support, priceless advice, a listening ear and some great resources, such as Samaritans and Mind.

https://www.mind.org.uk

https://www.samaritans.org

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It Takes Just 2 Minutes to Sow a Seed

But a whole family to plant a forest.

We need you. The planet needs you. And now is the time to act.

We have plans to plant a forest, right here in Cornwall!!! I have to say it is very exciting and fulfils an ambition for the whole team here at 2 Minutes. We’ve been wanting to do this for ages, not only for ourselves but for the planet. And what’s the point of having a tight knit family of followers if we can’t get everyone involved? We are going to turn a hashtag into activism!!!

So let’s plant a 2 Minute Forest together. It will be our very first #2minuteregeneration project.

We’re all about tidying up the planet 2 minutes at a time. Part of that, we think, is to help the planet to heal. Planting trees helps to restore nature, capture carbon and create an ecosystem for insects, birds and all kinds of species to thrive in. Planting trees is also very cost effective, easy to do and the more people who help us the better.

How can you get involved? By planting UK Native seeds at home! Now – between September and November – is the time of year to gather the seeds of many of our common trees – acorns, conkers, hazelnuts, beech masts and ash samaras – to plant out at home. To gather seeds, all you have to do is go for a walk in a wood of native species, in your local park or out in the countryside and search for seeds on the ground (or on the branches). If you can’t get to trees there’s more in a bit.

To plant the seeds out, collect toilet roll tubes, fill them with earth (or peat-free compost) and plant one seed in each. Planting at least 20 seeds will ensure you end up with at least a few healthy shoots and then, soon, a few saplings.

When the time comes to plant out the trees next year, we’ll be ready, at our friend’s  plot in Cornwall to either plant them for you or help you plant them yourself. Yes! We’re going to have a planting party!!! We have access to a few acres, which means we’ll need lots of trees! If you can’t make it we’ll plant your saplings for you. You can visit them later, when they have grown a little bigger!

Okay? We hope you love this idea as much as we do. Share it with your friends, school, kids, work place or sports club.

Get collecting, planting and growing!!

DON’T HAVE TREES NEAR YOU? You can always go for a walk in the forest or in your local park. See what seeds you can gather and plant them out.

For a donation of just £10 we will send you a bag of 25 Cornish sessile acorns (from our own gardens) to plant out yourself at home. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Want to support us and our 2 Minute Forest without growing? You can donate HERE.

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APP DATA: What can you do about marine litter?

How our APP data guides us

We’ve been looking at the data coming from our APP recently. So, firstly, thanks to everyone for using the app and helping us to get a picture of WHAT IS WASHING UP and WHAT YOU ARE PICKING UP.

Now that you’ve logged almost 75,000 items in more than 1500 separate beach cleans we can look at the data with relative confidence that it’s representative. Check ins have come from all over the world, with the majority of them based in the UK, which is unsurprising, considering we are based in Cornwall. That said, we are aware that lots of people don’t log their #2minutebeachclean using the app or tend to pick up certain types of litter, or that different beaches produce different types of litter. From our app data we can see that microplastics and nurdles make up just over 11% of all finds and yet we know that these items are to be found in their millions. Expecting our family to log each and every piece of plastic that’s under 5mm is too much to ask. It’s also difficult to classify microplastic as coming from any one source. It could have been anything in an earlier life. Likewise with HARD PLASTIC pieces, which are often broken up fish crates and the detritus of industry, but still hard to source effectively.

Plastic pollution from fishing

As time goes on we’ll be able to assess one location against another so we can compare one beach against another and by date. Until then, preliminary checks suggests that FISHING WASTE accounts for around 35% of litter picked up on the north coast of Devon and Cornwall, but that on the south coast that figure is more like 18%. Interesting.

For the time being, however, we have looked at the overall numbers of separate items washing up.

We have been able to attribute certain items to certain industries, and while this isn’t 100% foolproof, our experience tells us that it is reasonable to attribute 19.8% of all items logged to FISHING. Some of the most often picked up items included NET PIECES (6.82%), FISHING LINE (3.38%) and ROPE (5.9%). Other items included POTS (0.64%), BUOYS and FLOATS (0.27%) and GLOW STICKS (0.11%), which we know are used to illuminate nets and lines at night.

If we add items like FOAM (1.59%), POLYSTYRENE (3.34%) and HARD PLASTIC (6.97%), which are used by the fishing industry, but not exclusively, the figure goes up to 31.48%.

What you can do about it

If FISHING causes at least 19.58% of all waste picked up on beaches, it seems perfectly reasonable to consider how you buy and eat fish. Eating line caught fish removes the need for NET PIECES to be in the ocean. Giving up fish entirely will mean you no longer participate in the industry. Incidentally, prawn fishing practices, in some fisheries, result in as much as 90% or more bycatch.

You can also avoid buying items like fertiliser made with fishmeal or fish based products, including cat and dog food. These are often made with juvenile or forage fish that have little eating value.

Demanding the industry cleans up may help too, as will helping the industry to recover nets and recycle them. Buying products made from fishing net will help to inflate the demand and value of discarded net, encouraging schemes like Fishing for Litter and the brilliant Odyssey Innovation.

Plastic pollution from our lazy ways

The rest of the plastic that was logged pretty much comes from the way we live. It’s at once disheartening but also presents a picture of hope. Why? Because, if we stop using those items then we stop them from entering the oceans. It’s as simple as that. Of course, there will always be residual plastic floating about but at least, by giving up plastics, and helping to clear up the rest, you are stopping the flow. That’s what we need desperately.

Okay so let’s take a look.

DRINKS BOTTLES (6.86%)

CRISPS AND SWEET WRAPPERS (6.73%)

WET WIPES (3.07%)

BOTTLE TOPS AND LIDS (8.71%)

COTTON BUDS (3.15%)

PLASTIC BAGS (3.35%)

CIGARETTE BUTTS (3.13%)

STRAWS AND CUTLERY (4.41%)

COFFEE CUPS (1.22%) and LIDS (1.18%)

FOOD CONTAINERS (1.34%)

APPLICATORS (0.73%)

Together these items make up 43.5% of all the litter picked up and logged by APP users globally. The fact that any of these items are on the beach in the first place is inexcusable but it does give us hope because each and every one of us can EASILY live without plastic bottles, plastic food containers, plastic bags and coffee cups. All we have to do is change our habits.

What you can do about it

It isn’t easy to change your ways but we hope that this kind of data will help you to make those choices and changes. If we all carry a REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE and COFFEE CUP then we could help to reduce marine litter, ultimately, by over 20%.

And if we switch to paper cotton buds, stop using tampons with plastic applicators and get those wet wipes out of your life? 6.95% less crap on the beach on our watch.

Giving up crisps and sweets and carrying your own reusable bag? 10.8%

Stop smoking and give up plastic straws and cutlery? 7.54%

It starts to add up doesn’t it?

The best of the rest

While 1% might not seem like a lot of stuff in the grand scheme of things, it actually is. 1.21% of the total number of items logged, which is CLOTHING, is 901 items that could have been recycled, reused or not bought in the first place.

We are careless, aren’t we? Our playful ways also left 416 balls for the #2minutebeachclean family to pick up, along with 317 pieces of footwear, 632 beach toys, 158 Tetra Packs and 304 toothbrushes, razors and pens. And this slice of data is JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

It’s not good enough is it? We can do better. And we will.

If you would like to hear more about our app and campaigns, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

If you’d like to support us with a donation, please do so here

For those essential plastic-free swaps, visit out shop here.

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