Most people in Bude (and elsewhere around the world) seem to know Martin, so it was ridiculous that the Wave Conference was the first time we had met! Martin is a writer, surfer, and founder of the #2minutebeachclean movement, which originated around the time of those 2013/14 storms. Remember those? He is also known for camper van cooking and is a passionate lover of the beach. So, Martin advocates ‘doing it on the beaches’ – cleaning, that is.
In true surfer style, he talked of being ‘stoked’ to be part of what is happening in Bude, that his now worldwide campaign started in Bude, and that we have to continue to step up to the challenge of marine litter. He mentioned four key attributes which have helped kick-start and maintain his (and now many other people’s) campaign: collaboration, community, passion and personality. He praised other initiatives like Widemouth Task Force, CR*P, ReFILL, Bude Cleaner Seas, It’s Not Rubbish Art Show, The Plastic Movement (with the directive to hug a lifeguard if sitting next to one; alas…) and a special mention to Jan Wells who has pledged to do a 2-minute beach clean every day of the year and tweet about it. Well done, Jan.
Back to the winter of 2013/14, and those storms. The beach huts were wrecked, detritus was everywhere. Martin recalls feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the problem he saw before him, but did what we all do in such situations – he did what he could on the basis that every bit helps. Then he thought that if he did a bit every day, then it would help more. If he harnessed the help of social media, a few others might join him and increase that benefit. He could not have foreseen the massive take up that occurred.
So, doing your first #2minutebeachclean is a massive moment because it is a pledge to do more, to start a journey, and to also think about how we dispose of stuff.
Why it works:
- It’s manageable time wise. It’s not daunting. It’s 2 minutes. It’s the equivalent of ‘have you got a minute?’
- There is always a thank you for the work you do – the benefit is tangible. It can never have a negative impact.
- Picking up a piece of rope stops it going around a seal’s neck, or a plastic bottle or cup stops it going into the ocean. It’s that simple a concept.
- The movement embraces you as a family, making a local activity part of the community.
The movement has grown phenomenally. Check out Instagram. It is now global. BBC Springwatch has supported it.
So, how can it develop?
- Create a database if images so people see the scale of the problem.
- Reward beach cleaning.
One of the images Martin showed in his presentation was a balloon. It looked like a jellyfish, which turtles love to eat. You can see where this is going. Cleaning up is not enough. It is, however, a darned good starting point. Evidence needs to be gathered for industry to make it clean up its act. Parents, next time you go for a fast food meal with the kids, maybe turn down the balloons.
Evidence needs to be gathered for industry to make it clean up its act. Parents, next time you go for a fast food meal with the kids, maybe turn down the balloons, for starters.
- Talk in schools because educating the next generation is the best hope we have.
- Make Bude plastic-free/zero-waste.
- Make Cornwall plastic-free/zero waste.
- Encourage all organisations to think about the issue and consider their impact.
- Go inland with the clean up concept – litter often starts there.
- Have a yes/no plastic project – recycle as much as we can.
- Oh, and some funding for more groups/development would also be good…
Not everyone has quite Martin’s energy and passion, but anyone can do a #2minutebeachclean, take a photo of the debris and upload to social media to keep the awareness alive.