Awesome PEOPLE: “The 2 minute Beach Clean” movement, Awesome People Everywhere changing the world!

You’ve got two minutes to change the world?

Martin Dorey / Ocean Great IdeasReady? Go…
Of course it’s probably not going to happen exactly as you plan. If it was that easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it?
Martin Dorey – probably best known for pottering around in a camper van and cooking food on the BBC – has a plan. It only takes two minutes, but it’s a lot of people taking two minutes on a regular basis – whether it’s once a year on holiday or every day walking the dog or going for a surf.
This is the idea behind the #2MinuteBeachCleana rapidly growing but simple idea spreading across social media: whenever you’re on the beach spend two minutes picking up some of the rubbish lying around. Take a photo and post it up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or anywhere else and encourage others to do the same.
“It’s the social media part of it that makes it work,” Martin tells me. “The hashtag spreads the message – people like to feel part of a group and this helps with that. It gives you the feeling you’re not alone.
On its own, two minutes cleaning a beach has hardly any impact but when you feel like you’re part of a movement suddenly it starts to have a real impact, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
Martin is infectiously enthusiastic, so much so I have to try and keep myself on the ‘business’ track, although we veer far and wide. Many key aspects of the beach clean movement apply to getting some kind of action from someone. By the seaside it’s making them not feel embarrassed about picking up rubbish; in the business world it’s often just trying to get any sort of action at all from a potential client.
So what’s the answer?
“Make it easy. Make it specific. That’s absolutely key to the whole thing. If it’s a half-hour beach clean, it’s easy to say you don’t have time. If it’s just ‘pick up a few things’ then it doesn’t feel you’re achieving something. There’s no goal, no target.”

Check awesome people doing everywhere!
On Instagram  and Twitter and add your own using  #2minutebeachclean

And this is how the movement picks up and spreads!
Brightbox & Russ Pierre
“Russ Pierre and friend Fay use the @2minutebeachclean to raise awareness of keeping our beaches clean and the benefits to the environment and ecosystems. Our organisation Discover2empower is very new and we work with unemployed veterans and the wider community to reduce isolation, build confidence and self belief and motivation towards employment. The beach clean is such a great way to show people how making a small change in their lives can have a huge impact. Every course we run uses the great outdoors as much as possible for education and empowerment and for some it’s the first time in a long time that someone has taken the time or effort to help them access this amazing environment we live in.”

 IRELAND – Watersports Ireland

"The 2 minute Beach Clean" movement, Awesome People Everywhere changing the world! / Ocean Great Ideas“We have all seen the evidence of marine litter along Ireland’s coastline and now for all you beach lovers out there here’s an opportunity to do something about it! An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme is delighted to announce the #2minutebeachclean competition…….Speaking about this initiative, Annabel FitzGerald, Clean Coasts said, “There are over 360 Clean Coasts groups in Ireland that carry out organised beach cleans removing large amounts of marine litter from the environment. The #2minutebeachclean idea is simple and inspiring. It encourages all of us to give something back each and every time we enjoy a walk along the beach or a take a dip in the ocean. Every piece of litter removed from the marine environment is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or be ingested by marine life!”

“The Rubbish Show, came out of an idea of initially making stuff to decorate the festival. Annie and I are both keen beachcombers and this winter the sea threw tons of rubbish up onto our shoreline.  It was a great opportunity to highlight the issues of sea pollution and we got Widemouth Task Force and the #2minutebeachclean involved too to promote it with beachcleans and they judged the final show. We made a sign that went on a tour of Bude to promote the event and held a swap shop. After a winter of beaches full of rubbish, by May they were incredibly clean, we think from the efforts of the beach cleaners.”

Martin Dorey / Ocean Great IdeasThe Two Minute Beach Clean by Magicseaweed on Monday 20th January, 2014 By Martin Dorey
As a surfer, ocean lover, thinker and humanitarian you already know that we have a problem with plastics in the ocean. So you probably don’t need it rammed down your throat, especially when you, as an individual, can do so little. I feel the same way. Sometimes, when I go to the beach I feel so small and insignificant when I see strand-lines strewn with plastics. I can’t possibly see how I could do anything to make a real difference when all it does is keep coming, tide after tide. How could I begin to tackle this?
Anything I do will be insignificant. However, recently I’ve been trying to do something positive. I’ve been doing 2 minute beach cleans every time I go to the beach, walk the dog or exit the water after a surf. It couldn’t be simpler. I spend just 2 minutes picking up litter on my way home and put it in the trash, or I recycle it. Sometimes I focus on plastic bottles that can be recycled, sometimes I pick up nothing but fishing detritus or old shoes. Whatever it is, there is always something to pick up that doesn’t belong on the beach.
You might think it’s pointless, utterly pointless, when the next tide will only bring more. But it isn’t. Every piece of plastic I remove from my local beach is a piece of plastic that is no longer a threat. It is no longer leaching chemicals into the marine environment. It will not be ingested by wildlife. It will not strangle a seal or entangle a seabird. It will not end up in the stomach of a turtle, albatross, fish or cetacean. It will not ghost fish for eternity. Its killing days are over.
Doing something as simple as picking up litter may also help the problem, and in bigger ways that you could imagine. If enough of us pick up a few bits, snap them and post them to Instagram or Twitter (with the hashtag #2minutebeachclean) then we may be able to see patterns emerging. In 2012, thanks to tweeted pictures of the same plastic bottles washing up all over the UK, a global cosmetic company admitted they had lost over 150,000 items to the North Atlantic from a container and paid £3000 to a leading UK marine charity to help pay for beach clean ups. It doesn’t stop the plastic being there but it will certainly make companies think a little harder if we start holding them culpable.
So I’m trying to make this idea a habit. I’m making an effort – like many people I know – to make it a part of my life. Do you think you could do this too? How about taking a little time each time you surf or go to the beach to do your own 2 minute beach clean? I know lots of you do already. But, if you don’t, think of it as returning the favour to the ocean for giving you some nice waves. Instead of taking pleasure from this greatest of natural resources without giving back, you, like me and many others around the world, will be helping to heal it just that little bit.
Doing a #2minutebeachclean will also help you to strengthen your resolve. It will stoke the fire. You’ll get to look at what’s happening on your patch. You’ll notice more. It might even help you to think about how you use plastics in your daily life or make you think twice about buying single use products. Then again, if it doesn’t but you simply remove just one plastic bottle every time you go surfing, you’ll still be a hero. And if everyone turned on to the idea? Then we would be getting somewhere.
Post your pics to instagram and twitter using the hashtag #2minutebeachclean and we’ll soon be able to see what our efforts add up to.
Follow Martin Dorey at

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