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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