When I’m asked where my interest in sustainability and the environment comes from. I can say without hesitation that it originated from my parents, especially my dad. Even as children in the 1970s, we were expected to minimise waste. From collecting newspapers for the scouts, to taking lemonade bottles back for the deposit; from composting to going to the bottle bank; recycling was part of our lives. There was never any question about these activities, they were just something we did.

Indeed, my dad did more than this, and those of you in the UK can thank him for the introduction of the first Bottle Banks provided by local authorities. He worked for Leeds City Council, running their cleansing and refuse collection services and was able to put in place facilities to increase recycling of glass, paper and plastic bottles by everyone. His dedication to this aspect of environmental care has stayed with us throughout our lives… perhaps meaning that my family has been responsible for sending much less waste to landfill over our lives than most.

My dad also encouraged us to garden and always maintained that the chap who lived down the road, who was a candidate for the Green Party, would have been better occupied digging up his garden and growing vegetables rather running political campaigns! I was not an enthusiastic gardener as a child, but I certainly got to learn all about sowing seeds, growing vegetables and making compost – something that has stood me in good stead as an adult.

I can, therefore, thank my dad for laying the foundations of my concern for the environment and for inspiring this blog – thanks dad, I’m really going to miss you.

David Martin
30December 1932 – 27 February 2014

February sunset

February sunset

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I am very sad to hear you news. It was wonderful to read of his legacy and the good ways in which he influenced the development of the person you have become. I love your choice of the sunset to illustrate your message.

  2. Rachel

     /  March 16, 2014

    Nice post Jan, much love xxx

  3. I can remember him reading out some hilarious letters he used to get when he was heading up the cleansing and refuse department. One in particular went something along the lines of; “Dear Mr Martin please could you send me a new bin as I have a hole in my bottom”, and “I’ve been complaining that my neighbour has been piling up his privates in the garden next door for some time – please could you send a man round to satisfy me”.

    Oh, and we used to sing Jake Thackray songs in the car on the way back from the garden centre.

    Your Dad was a unique person!!!

    • He was, indeed! He also used to call everyone by nicknames, to such an extent that his employees would forget and use them to people’s faces!
      We didn’t have any Jake Thackery at the funeral, but we might do at the party in the summer.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to your father Jan. He’ll stand out even more for many of us now who are happy to see the recycling bins full instead of landfill sites.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  5. What a beautiful post. Sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your dad, who clearly made an impact on many peoples’ lives.

  6. What a fitting tribute. He will have appreciated and approved the course your life has taken. I hope you haven’t found the past week too sad and difficult. And welcome back!

  7. Great post, good dads are irreplaceable, may you find peace in this most difficult time..

  8. Thank you for sharing this. He sounded like a very special person and a great Dad who did an enormous amount for his community.
    It was a moving and beautiful post. XX

  9. I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man who made an awesome difference in the world.

    • Thank you… he did some great things in his life, but was always reluctant to talk about them… even my sister did not know about the bottle banks until I told her the other day!

  10. That’s a beautiful post Jan. Much love to you and your family.

  11. I am so sorry to hear about the death of your dad. As Daniellajoe says, good dads are irreplaceable. But your dad will live on in many ways, especially in your heart.

  12. What a lovely idea. There will be a lot to celebrate.

  13. My dad passed away a just over a year ago. My heart goes out to you. It sounds as if your dad was a neat person. ❤

  14. I am very sorry that you lost your dad. The thing about losing a parent is that it is initially completely and utterly devastating…but once you can move on a little they start to make little appearances in your day…they pop into your head when you are doing things and they remind you how to do them. I often spend time with my headspace mum when I am bums up in the veggie garden. All of those lessons learned so long ago are just waiting to be relearned. Hugs from Sunny Sidmouth in Tasmania.

  15. *hugs*

    My environmental consciousness also began with my dad. We always composted, and I remember being given my own little patch in Dad’s veggie garden when I was about 5, and growing flowers and strawberries.

    These days Dad’s a bit scared and worried about the path I’ve chosen but is trying to understand. Little did he know where waking me up to watch a spider spin its web under the light of the moon would lead…

    Take care, and celebrate the memories.

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