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Small Stuff Inspired By... Martin Dorey

Last year I was bought a book called "No. More. Plastic. What you can do to make a difference." a book by Martin Dorey (he was on the BBC a few years ago doing a programme about caravan tours). The moment I opened this book, I found it to be such a massive eye-opener. Becoming plastic-free, slowing down and removing all sense of convenience is quite a daunting idea and many people (myself once included!) think well what change can I make, how on earth can I begin to make a difference? Well through this book (which even has a handy checklist at the back) - it opens up how easily little changes can actually be, it is not necessarily about turning your whole world upside down in one day, but making small steps in the right direction and a slight shift of mindset and it really resonated with me, not only in my personal life but in my work life too.
Copyright @2minutebeachclean
The author of this book, Martin, is a surfer, camper van traveller and self-proclaimed plastic warrior, along with Tab Parry he founded Beach Clean Network back in 2009 and he is the founder of hashtag #2minutebeachclean which he started in 2013. This hashtag is used globally and is an anti-plastic movement, where simply, you give up 2 minutes of your time, wherever you are in the world, pick up plastic you see, photograph it, tag it on social media and then bag it up and bin it. This worldwide movement has had such an overwhelming response and this seemingly small action now has over 14K people following on twitter, 29K following on Instagram and a few more thousand people actively using this hashtag daily. Going to show one little step can have such a huge impact...
Martin Dorey lives in Bude, Cornwall with his partner Lizzy. He started #2minutebeachclean after seeing UK beaches littered with plastic.

After finishing this book and being so inspired by Martin's ideas, I decided to get in touch with him and ask a few more questions..

You founded #2minutebeachclean a global network all working together for the same cause, how did you start and how does it feel to know it has become such a monumental community?

It started way back, in 2007, really, when I moved to a new beach in Devon and discovered it knee-deep in plastic bottles. I vowed then to do something. I organised a beach clean with my children’s school and it sort of went from there. The Beach Clean Network (our not for profit) started in 2009 and the #2minutebeachclean campaign started in 2013. It’s wonderful to think that it has become global. When I started using the hashtag I wanted to inspire others to do the same, thinking that another person picking up would double my efforts. Organising beach cleans is tough, but doing it on your own time, 2 minutes at a time, is the easiest thing in the world. I wanted to start people off on a journey and that maybe they would start to see the mess, and then join beach clean groups or set up their own. GO figure, as they would say. It’s a great idea that people get.

Do you have any plans to start encouraging this in cities and towns away from the coast too?

We already do this. We have 30 #2minutelitterpick boards in Ealing at the moment and 6 on Dartmoor, with more on the way. We are also launching #2minutestreetclean in the UK (An Taisce have been using it in Ireland for a couple of years) but it’s always a ‘soft’ launch as we don’t have enough funding to make a big noise – or any noise. We just get on and do it. Working upstream is vital as it’s where the litter comes from – us. So tackling it in cities and towns is the obvious next step. We need to change people’s mindset about waste, consumerism, convenience and the planet…. Not much to ask of ourselves!!! We’ll have it done by lunchtime.

We have to be thankful to shows such as Blue Planet for bringing such a brutal and honest focus to what effect we as humans are having on the planet, but I still often talk to people who think it’s impossible to undo what we have done, what would your response be?

We have to be positive. We have to believe that every piece of litter that is removed from the beach, street, park or countryside is a piece that will not go on to kill, become microplastic or choke our oceans. We have to believe that every one of us has the power to make a difference – and we do – because that’s the only way we’ll get it done. It’s frightening, daunting, perhaps impossible, but the only way we’re going to tackle it is with positivity and love. There is no other way.

Another one of my favourite books you’ve written is Take the Slow Road: Scotland, not only is Scotland one of my most favourite places in the world - but also the premise of the book is about slowing down and not rushing through life, do you think this mindset of living life in the fast lane could be a reason that we as a society have become so blinded by convenience and throw away tendencies?

(Thank you – I loved writing that book)

We are slaves to convenience. We’ve been sold a pup by the corporates and multinationals and the sooner we shed their loathsome, money-grabbing ways the sooner we’ll be able to sort out the mess. Slow travel is about taking time, aiming for experience, spending time with those you love, making time for the good, simple things. Going to Primark to buy a tee-shirt that was made by children in a place that is becoming a desert because of the demand for fast fashion is a truly shit adventure. You might feel good with a few likes on Instagram but, ultimately, it’s empty. We get a quick fix off buying, but it will always come back to bite us. That’s a tough cycle to break, and I am no different in that I find it hard, but the sooner we can the better.

If someone was unsure where to start in making more eco-conscious decisions - what would your advice be?

Spread your weekly shop out on the kitchen table and look at the packaging it comes in. Think about where it goes when you’ve done with it, bearing in mind that a lot of recycling gets burned, sent to Indonesia (which has little infrastructure to deal with it) or ends up in the ocean. Make a decision to try and think more about what it comes in than what is in it. Buy stuff that’s not wrapped in plastic. Buy loose veg. Making a decision to buy loose potatoes over a bag of potatoes makes you a flipping superhero in my eyes. So just go and do it!!! YOU CAN!!!!

I always knew I wanted to open a shop that gives people the option to buy eco-friendly gifts and plastic alternatives, from bamboo toothbrushes and thoughtful chocolate without excessive packaging right up to timeless children's bikes that are bought for life. To make these options available as best I can to everyone. I also know that by opening my store not everyone that purchases from me will immediately stop buying mass-produced garments or toys, but I now know that by giving the option that my store is here it gives everyone the opportunity to slow down their purchases and have a choice. These seemingly small steps are still steps in the right direction.

We can all make a difference, big or small... And you can find out more about Martin and his fantastic books here.