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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Four ways to have a green Halloween 

It’s spooky season! As if anyone can avoid it. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, and the supermarket aisles are groaning with spiderwebs and sweets.  

It’s not necessarily good news for the planet though. Halloween sadly means a serious amount of single use plastic is coming for our oceans.  

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

We’ve got four quick ideas for minimising waste this Halloween, and having a brilliant time while you do it.  

Second hand costumes  

OK, we were going to suggest homemade costumes here, and if that’s your thing, we’re so onboard with you. BUT we know that not everyone has the time, creativity or mental capacity to be thinking about cutting out patterns and sewing on sequins. And we’re not here to tell parents that instead of buying a readymade witch outfit while doing the weekly food shop, they should be getting the sewing machine out and labouring for hours over a homemade version.  

So hit up eBay, Facebook Marketplace, charity shops, ask a friend with a child who’s bigger than yours if they’ve got a spare. Beg, borrow and buy second hand, and you’ll be amazed at what you can find. Chances are it’ll be lighter on the pocket too. You can even stick it back up for sale or donate to a charity shop when you’re done so that someone else can wear it next year. Winner.  

Save the pumpkin! 

Going to be carving a pumpkin this year? Don’t bin the flesh! There are SO many good ways to use it up.  

Roast it in a sheet tin with some black beans, cumin and garlic and stuff into tacos with some cheese, blitz it up into puree for pumpkin pie. Or take a look at 2 Minute founder Martin Dorey whipping up pumpkin soup in his campervan!  

Big pumpkins can be a little watery, so if you’re carving a whopper, maybe pick a recipe that involves a bit of roasting. Roasting will dry out some of the wateriness and the flavour will be more intense. Most pumpkin dishes freeze really well too. Winner.  

So get searching for pumpkin dishes and serve up a Halloween feast with all that lovely pumpkin flesh.  

Give a modern nod to ancient traditions 

Forget Halloween altogether! And revisit the ancient Samhain traditions that preceded it.  

Samhain was one of the most important dates on the ancient Gaelic calendar, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the darkening of the days.  

The veil between the human and spirit worlds was thought to be at its thinnest, and doorways between the two were thought to open, letting in fairies and spirits.  

The original traditions of bonfires, feasts and rituals might be a little tricky in our modern lives. But why not share a meal with friends, light some candles and use natural decorations to mark the moment? We like the idea of using leaves, branches and candles for decoration, and cooking up some seasonal treats to celebrate the end of the harvest in a tasty way.  

Hit up your local Refill Shop – or make your own treats 

One of the biggest culprits for plastic at Halloween has got to be the endless bags of sweets, some with little bags inside big bags, others with individually wrapped sweets, don’t get us started! The plastic packaging is endless.  

If you’re expected little hands knocking on your door, maybe pop down to your local Refill Shop (if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby), and fill up on sweet treats without the plastic.  

And if you’re really feeling dedicated, you could always make your own sweets. We like The BBC Good Food Guide’s Halloween recipe section. Choose from creepy cookies, eerie eyeballs and candy apples. So much fun and tastiness! 

Happy Halloween!  

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Electric cars: electric dream or green screen? 

As the UK fuel crisis inspires more than ever to think about going electric, are they really the answer for our planet?  

Ok. Busted.  

Hands up if you too have been caught with your proverbial pants down by the Great Fuel Crisis of 2021.  

Yes, we’re all trying to use our cars less, and walk/cycle/ride unicorns* to work more. But honestly, most of us still need our car to do the school run and get to work. Not to mention those critical hospital appointments and caring commitments. Especially if you live in Cornwall (other rural areas are available), where public transport is…well let’s call it fashionably minimalist.  

Whether it’s the fault of the government, the media, the panic buyers or the fuel industry, the fact is that if you drive a car and it takes petrol or diesel, you’re probably checking your fuel tank anxiously. Or wondering how hard it actually would be to siphon some out of Terry next door’s Mondeo in the middle of the night. (We’re absolutely not condoning this.) 

And if your car is electric, well, you’re probably feeling just a tiny bit smug.  

So, is it time for us to finally start thinking properly about electric cars? Or are all cars inherently so bad for the environment that we should all be getting on our bikes instead and giving up journeys that we’re not willing to walk?  

Consider this your official 2 Minute lowdown on the pros and cons of electric vehicles.  

Are electric cars better for the environment? 

Yes. Definitely. If you’re comparing them to diesel and petrol cars they absolutely are. We really need to be moving away from fossil fuels. And they don’t generate harmful CO2 emissions. They’re also quieter than diesel and petrol vehicles (as anyone who’s been surprised/crept up on by a stealthy electric Uber will know), so noise pollution-wise, it’s a yes.  

They sound brilliant! Let’s make more of them! 

Well hold your horses, they’re not perfect. They may not make emissions on the road, but the production process certainly does. Those batteries take a lot of work to create. One study puts CO2 emissions during production at 59% more than traditional combustion engines.  

There’s also the fact that most car batteries are currently made in China, South Korea and Japan, where the use of carbon in electricity production is high compared to other parts of the world. In other words, they’re being manufactured on some seriously polluting grids.  

Oh, that doesn’t sound too good 

It’s not. BUT if these countries adopt more renewable energy going forward, these emissions will drop significantly. In China this is expected to rise sharply between now and 2025. So that figure will hopefully come down by a lot.  

What about the materials used to make the batteries? 

Yeah, honestly, right now, that’s not a great situation. Batteries rely on lithium as well as copper, iron and aluminium. All of these rely on carbon and water-intensive means of extraction. And there are human rights issues here as well as environmental, with conflict between international mining companies and indigenous communities and biodiversity habitat loss.  

On top of that, there’s no clear plan for recycling the massively increasing number of car batteries, which we reeeaaally don’t want to see as yet more waste.  

So what’s the skinny?  

Electric cars are better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars, that’s for sure. But there are some major issues in their production when it comes to the planet. We’ll need to see a huge swing to renewable energy in production, and a clear plan for recycling batteries before they come close to being the green dream. Better regulation of relationships with local communities as well as an obligation to protect habitats and sensitive ecosystems and watersheds would ideally be in place too.  

We like how Thea Riofrancos, associate professor of political science at Providence College, Rhode Island puts it

“A transportation system based on individual electric vehicles, for example, with landscapes dominated by highways and suburban sprawl, is much more resource- and energy-intensive than one that favours mass transit and alternatives such as walking and cycling.” 

In other words, hopping on your bike, the bus, the train or your own two feet is going to be a heck of a lot greener than driving anywhere in your electric car.  

And right now, doing any of those things is going to stop us being part of the problem, and free up some fuel for those who really need it. Win win!  

*If anyone has a spare unicorn, can we borrow it for the school run plz?  

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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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Friend of 2 Minute: Beth Noy

Beth Noy is the brains behind Plastic Freedom, an online shop that stocks plastic-free alternatives to everyday items. 

“By choosing to live plastic-free it forces big companies to make changes to meet their customers needs.”

We spoke to Beth about setting up her business, watching it grow and moving to Cornwall. 

Hey, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! How are you doing? We see you moved to Cornwall recently! Was this spurred on by the lockdown last year?

I’m great thanks! I’m so happy the world has started to reopen more, not that life has changed loads, but that sense of freedom is back.

Yes I moved to Cornwall in September last year, after a year of wanting to. It’s incredible down here! I realised I needed to live by the ocean after running the Plastic Freedom stall down at Fistral Beach during Boardmasters in 2019.

When did Plastic Freedom start and how did it happen? Was there a penny-dropping moment?

Moving to the seaside town of Southport and seeing the amount of plastic and rubbish on the beaches really opened my eyes to the plastic problem. It was everywhere and right on my doorstep! I started seeing things in a different way. I noticed myself and my work colleagues buying meal deals every day for lunch, all wrapped in disposable packaging. It made me start to think about how much we throw away. 

When I then looked into cutting down on my own single use plastic I realised how many hours of research it took to find a company that was genuinely plastic free. I knew that if I could offer products and proper advice to people (you’re more likely to buy something your friend recommends right?) that I could help others to make changes too.

Two weeks later, my website was built and launched!

Why is it so important for people to cut out single-use plastic from their daily lives?

When I talk to people about personally reducing their plastic, the general view seems to be ‘I’m not going to make a difference so why bother’. However, it really is these small changes that have a big impact!

Since I started Plastic Freedom we’ve sold over 250,000 products. That’s a quarter of a million products that would otherwise have been plastic and probably ended up in landfill. (Never mind the plastic packaging that the plastic item arrived in!) 

It’s these choices that also change consumer demand. By choosing to live plastic-free it forces big companies to make changes to meet their customers needs. 

Do you have any big plans for 2021?

Yes! So many! I am hoping to get a small space in Newquay where I can work from, run a small shop and also offer rentals of the new outdoor range I have launched. Not only that, but I have a secret side of the site which will be launching before the year is out, as well as some incredible partnerships with brands I can’t talk about just yet!

I also want to step into the world of eco consultancy. I want to get the community together in Newquay to try and prevent issues happening (e.g. the fires/rubbish left on Fistral Beach daily). I want to run events with local businesses to host screenings and talks based around plastic… So just a few things!

That’s the thing about Plastic Freedom, there are literally a million different directions to go in because the world needs our help!

What’s your favourite product in your Plastic Freedom shop?

This is the worst question you could ask me because I literally use pretty much everything! And I’m not just saying that either. Yes, I have my favourites from each brand that work for my own hair and skin type, but I only stock things I love myself from areas that I originally struggled to find the plastic free alternative. 

My top swaps in general were a safety razor, makeup remover and makeup wipes. These were such easy changes to make, and everyone raves about them on my social!

When did you first hear about the work of The 2 Minute Foundation and the #2minutebeachclean initiative?

I found the #2minutebeachclean on Instagram when I was running my blog ‘The Plastic Free Hobbit’. I got myself one of the beach clean bags and took it out with me every time I walked the dogs. It really gave me a real sense of community to see others all over the world doing the same, especially when I was surrounded by friends and family who weren’t on the same ‘mission’ in life.

Did 2020 teach you anything? Is there anything you’d like to encourage people to do differently this year?

2020 was a big year for me. It was emotional, hard and lonely, but also exciting and life changing. My biggest piece of advice would be to not let work control your existence. Get outside, take time to think about what makes you happy and then do more of that! 

Often when we do this we become more aware of our surroundings (rather than rushing to complete the checklist for the day) and we see the issues that are right in front of us. It’s this knowledge that drives change!

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

I get in the sea, ride by the sea or look at the sea! There is something so calming and freeing about such a blue open space that it makes you excited for the day ahead and the potential it holds!

To take a look at Beth’s shop, Plastic Freedom, click here. You can follow her journey on Instagram too.

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Friend of 2 Minute: Kahi Pacarro

As co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and CEO of Parley for the Oceans, the sea is at the heart of everything Kahi Pacarro does. 

We talked to Kahi about his love of the ocean, his drive to protect it and why his work is so rewarding. 

Hey Kahi, thank you for taking time out to talk to us! How has 2021 been for you so far?

2021 is just another year full of challenges that I look forward to taking on. It’s been great so far and I expect it to continue to be so. 

Have you always loved the water? When did you first realise that our oceans needed protecting?

I have always loved the water. As a little kid I preferred a bath to a shower and now I’m an ocean addict that gets eggy if I don’t touch the salt water at least once a day. I started realising it needed protection when I began traveling and saw how badly our oceans were being treated globally. 

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is an amazing initiative. Did you feel like it was missing from your local community when you started the organisation? 

We started SCH because, at that point, cleaning beaches was not seen as something that was fun or cool. We wanted to flip the narrative and make cleaning beaches something that you wanted to do, not something we needed to do. 

Parley for the Oceans is also an incredible movement. You’ve had some massive brands get on board and takes the expression ‘stronger together’ to a whole new level. What’s it like to collaborate with so many creatives, scientists and businesses? 

The partnerships we’ve formed are amazing, but it’s not always easy. The brands that we work with sacrifice profit to make the changes we require of our partners. But, in the end, that sacrifice pays off as the brands become leaders in their respective industries, leading to opportunities to garner more market share, influence and profit. 

The collaborations we form are extremely fun and important. By coming together we recognise that we are not alone in this endeavour. The safe space to concrete solutions within the Parley ohana is ripe with innovations and ideas. I’m just honoured to be a part of it.

Here at The 2 Minute Foundation we know that beach cleaning isn’t just good for the planet, but for the mind, body and soul of the person cleaning up too. Do you notice the positive effects on the mental wellbeing of people who take part in your beach cleans?

100%. Cleaning beaches is a cathartic exercise that when done with people creates a community. The ehukai “sea spray” invigorates the microbiome and releases endorphins that awakens and makes you just feel good. So I say, I’m not a scientist. Ha!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

The proudest moment of my career was the successful transition from SCH to Parley. When you create an NGO, you become that NGO. But if you become too ingrained and then leave the NGO will fail. Therefore, I worked my ass off to set it up and manage the transition so that SCH would not only survive, but thrive upon my departure from the helm. 2 years later and SCH is killing it! So is Parley. So that’s my proudest moment of my career. 

Can you tell us about anything exciting you have lined up for 2021?

We just launched the world’s first Parley AIR Station (a communal hub for education, ocean immersion, up-cycling and collaboration) with many more to come. I’m excited to start broadcasting from the Parley AIR Station in Hawaii and inspiring behaviour changes that can have tangible effects on reducing the amount of trash ending up on our coastlines. 

What can each person do as an individual to ensure they make a difference and help save our oceans?

First, get in them. Immerse yourself. Then share how rad that experience is and encourage others to do so too. They say you care for what you love. We need more people to fall in love with the oceans. 

Once the love is there, what comes next is the learning, which never ends. Take what you learn and start taking action. You can start by simply stopping the use of so much damn plastic. I encourage people to start with the switch to a bamboo toothbrush so that the first thing you do in the morning after your morning wee isn’t shoving plastic in your mouth. Start your day off right. 

Our #2minutesofpositivity campaign is all about taking 2 minutes every single day to do something that makes you happy. We think it makes all the difference. What small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

You guess. Yup, you’re right. I get in the ocean. 

Any parting words of wisdom?

Clean beaches start at home. 

Click the links to find out more about the work that Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Parley for the Oceans do.

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Support us by supporting them

We feel very lucky to have your support. Each time you post a 2-minute-hash-tagged photo on social media, do a litter pick or spread our message you are helping us to make the world a better place. 

The 2 Minute Foundation also receive support from some wonderfully creative people. These small businesses and artistic individuals donate a portion of their profits to us. So, by buying their products you can support us as well as support them. 

We’ve put together the following list of companies and people we work with. We are very proud to be chosen by them – and by you too. 

Smartie Lids on the Beach

Michelle Costello’s colourful artwork is completely unique. Each piece is made from washed up marine plastic and debris which she collects during beach cleans. You can buy Michelle’s artwork from her online shop. 

SIGG

We love working with SIGG. They make reusable water bottles (10 points for saving the planet and cutting out single-use plastic!) and donate 10% of sales from their 2 Minute specific designs to our charity.

Surfdome

We’ve worked from Surfdome since the beginning and couldn’t be prouder to be so close with such an eco-aware brand. 

So Little Time Clothing

Organic, ethical and sustainable, So Little Time’s clothes are made with love and respect for the great outdoors in mind. Matt’s clothing store donates 20% of profits from his adult range and 50% of profits from his kids range to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Coral Eyewear

George Bailey’s sunnies and glasses frames are made from recycled marine plastic. He’s had scores of good reviews, great press and repeat customers. We’re proud to work with George and his innovative company, Coral Eyewear. 

Cuddledry

Helen and Polly make award winning baby towels, baby gifts and children’s bath and swim products. 1% of their annual turner over goes to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Nicky Linzey

Nicky is an active member of the #2minutebeachclean community. She collects litter and marine debris and turns it into woven wall hangings. She also creates bowls from ghost fishing rope that she finds on UK beaches. You can buy her creations from our online shop by clicking here.

House of Hidden Treasures

Claire Jones sells original artwork and home decor in her Etsy store, House of Hidden Treasures. All her artwork is themed around nature and animals, and each piece is lovingly created by hand.

Life Forms Art

The team at Life Forms Art have created a beautiful notebook gift set to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Both the cover and the paper of the notebooks are 100% recycled and 30% of profits from the books go to us. 

Bee Bee & Leaf

Bees wax wraps are a great way to eliminate clingfilm and plastic packaging from your lunchbox and kitchen. Kath Austin, owner of Bee Bee & Leaf, donated £2 from every pack sold during November and December last year. We look forward to working together again soon! 

Croyde Sea Glass

North Devon local Vikki Worthington creates beautiful jewellery from the sea glass and ocean-tumbled pottery that she finds on the beaches. You’ll find it online and in shops in Croyde and beyond. 

INMIND Clothing

Kenneth, Angela and Thibaud work with young artists and designers to create unique clothing designs. All of their gear is Fair Trade and eco-friendly. 

Lighthouse Sustainability

Lighthouse Sustainability offer support and experience to businesses facing today’s sustainability challenges. We were the chosen charity of the year. Thank you to Emma Burlow and the team for working with us! 

Blue Jay Books

Laurie Newman’s popular book Jessie the Jellyfish, is an ocean-inspired story for children. You can buy it from our Charity Shop online or in store, and Laurie donates 10% from the sale of every book to us. 

Muddy Mermaid Spa

Sarah-Jane Moore makes lovely scrubs, creams and soaps. She donates a portion of her profits from sales to our charity too. 

Oname Soap

Kelly’s soap is made from all natural, responsibly sourced and cruelty free ingredients, plus comes in plastic free packaging. Oname donates 25% of ‘Polar Bear and Diver’ soap sales to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Squid Ink Beach

The Squid Ink Beach Co was established in 2020. They create comfortable, quality and sustainable clothing for lovers of the outdoors, beaches and oceans, and founders Rob and Adam donate 5% of their profits to us too! 

Karolina Andreasova

Karolina’s style is intricate and unique and her artwork is available to buy from her website. She donates a portion of the profits made from selling her prints to The 2 Minute Foundation.

Caroline Bond

Last but by far not least, our wonderful friend Kittie Kipper. Creative Caroline turns beach rubbish into beautiful art. We love her ghost rope animals and baskets. She donates £2 from every ghost rope weaving kit sold and you can buy creations in our online charity shop by clicking here.

By supporting these small businesses you can help us make a huge change. Spending money with ethical, change-making companies and individuals makes a difference. 

Together we can make the world a better place. 

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