COSY TALKS WITH MARTIN DOREY

written by Lottie Lewis

Martin Dorey is the founder of The 2 Minute Foundation, a charity dedicated to cleaning up our world 2 minutes at a time. He’s a surfer, writer, environmental activist and die-hard beach cleaner, with an exceptional story to share.

This Black Friday, instead of having some crazy sale, we are donating 25% of our profits to The 2 Minute Foundation charity, to help fight against marine plastic and littering, and make our world a cleaner, greener place. We’ve also been working on a sick collaboration with them, that’s dropping soon too! Keep an eye on our Instagram in the next few weeks…

Hey Martin! For anyone that’s not aware - what is the 2 Minute Beach Clean initiative? And how did it start?

The #2minutebeachclean initiative is a campaign to encourage everybody to spend 2 minutes picking up litter whenever they visit the beach (or any other open space). The idea is simple: pick up litter, take a picture, post to social media to inspire others to do the same. From my first post in 2013 there are now 146k posts on Instagram and countless others across other social media. It’s amazing. Everyone has 2 minutes to spare.

It started, officially, in 2013, after a huge storm washed up tonnes of plastic all over Europe’s beaches. I went to my local beach and picked up a load of plastic. I started using the hashtag first then, in an effort to try and get others who follow me to pick up too. In actual fact the story starts earlier, in 2007, when I moved house and went to the local beach. It was knee deep in plastic, so I vowed there and then to clear up. We organized a clean up and then started the Beach Clean Network. Actually, it started earlier still, when I first noticed a container spillage at my favourite surf spot in 1996. Basically it’s been a long time in the making!


How did your connection to the ocean start, and how did it evolve?

I am a 1976 skateboard kid, from the days of the craze. I still have my first board. I kept on skateboarding and then, when I could drive, decided to learn to surf as a natural progression. That was 1985. I bought a surfboard, went to France in my old VW Beetle and the rest is history. Surfing has been a guiding light for me ever since. It is a powerful force, a reason to get up in the morning, to stay fit, to give life meaning. Everything comes from that.

How did your connection to the ocean start, and how did it evolve?

I am a 1976 skateboard kid, from the days of the craze. I still have my first board. I kept on skateboarding and then, when I could drive, decided to learn to surf as a natural progression. That was 1985. I bought a surfboard, went to France in my old VW Beetle and the rest is history. Surfing has been a guiding light for me ever since. It is a powerful force, a reason to get up in the morning, to stay fit, to give life meaning. Everything comes from that.


When did you personally realize how severe ocean pollution is and what made you believe in being able to make a change?

I suppose in 1996 and then in 2007 when I saw how bad it could be. I attended lots of beach cleans, started an organization and got involved. It wasn’t until the #2minutebeachclean idea came that it really took off. It makes it easy to make a difference. And if enough people do it – through an easy-to-do idea - then it becomes second nature and also permeates other parts of people’s lives. It’s like a gateway.

We LOVE the concept that no one needs all the time, money or power in the world to make a difference. Just 2 minutes is enough to help look after what we love! Did you expect the 2 Minute hashtags to blow up in the way that they did? Within the past 7 years you’ve managed to build a loyal following of over 75k people, which is incredible!

I had an idea that it was good, but didn’t really know how big it would get. I just looked at the Instagram feed and there are posts from Japan, Australia, the USA and the Falklands! That’s amazing.


How did it feel when you realized your charity had reached international levels? It’s apparent from your socials that you’re reaching people in almost every continent!

See above! Pretty good to be honest. I just want to inspire people to pick up plastic and to make our planet cleaner so it’s wonderful to see people I have never met doing something I started.


Obviously litter picking and beach cleaning helps the environment, but are there other reasons that you encourage people to get outside and collect rubbish? The #2minutesofpositivity hashtag we see cropping up is lovely.

Yes, now that we are The 2 Minute Foundation we’ve been trying to help and inspire people to clean up the planet 2 minutes at a time. But we have also noticed how important it’s been for people to connect with nature, feel a sense of ownership and responsibility and also to be present. Beach cleaning is great for fitness and mental health and we want to encourage that. We sent our social media person on a mental health first responder course because she was seeing people needing help. We realized we were in a position where we can. Beach cleaning can bring us together and help all aspects of life.

We love that the 2 Minute Foundation also encourages people to support local! We’re a small young business from Belgium and love it when people support us, believe in us and shop with us! Why do you think it’s so important to look after the little, local people?

It’s vital. Consumerism, corporations, advertising and capitalism is what’s killing our planet, filling our oceans with plastic and filling our heads with vapid, pointless need. Small businesses, who pay their taxes, act ethically and locally are going to save us. I truly believe that. People who do what they love, make a living and don’t screw up the planet are heroes to me. We have to support every single one of them.

How did you find your way to writing and inspiring people through words?

I always wanted to write but never knew how. I just started writing articles for surf mags and it kind of went from there. I got a job as a junior writer at an advertising agency and then, 10 years ago, went out on my own. That’s the short version. It’s safe to say I am still 100% stoked to be able to make a living out of doing what I love. And if I can give back too, then that’s epic.


Can you tell us a little bit about the books that you’ve published? We’re particularly interested in your ‘Take the Slow Road’ series, as so much of our brand is based on road-tripping and transient-living!

Take the Slow Road is a series of books about taking slow journeys on amazing roads. The idea is that you get in your van and you drive somewhere very cool, doing things along the way, appreciating the places and people. It’s covered Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland so far and I just managed to finish France. It’s a great project and I love traveling to do the research. And if I can instill an eco message in there too, that’s perfect.

How can we all make a further positive difference in our daily life to support nature and all earthlings?

Start with a #2minutebeachclean. Look at what you pick up. Ask yourself why it’s there. Find out what it’s made of and what it will do if you don’t remove it. Make changes based on that. Let that lead you to the next step. Cut out plastic. Become aware. Maybe eat less meat. Maybe ride your bike more, buy a wooden surfboard, support your local community, grow your own, help friends, take over your local council, join XR, get solar on your home, be one of those fighting for change.

But start with one simple act: go and pick up litter for 2 minutes!


And lastly, what are the values you strive to live up to everyday?

Don’t fuck it up. Well, okay, there’s more to it than that but that’s basically it. Try to be true to yourself and others. Be kind. Believe in love and sport and live as cleanly as you can so you can do what you love for as long as you can. It isn’t easy, because we’re all lazy creatures, but it may be worth the effort for the way it can make you feel.

Thank you!


Pictures by Fjällräven

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