Durham Sustain Ability Honours Jack McGinnis
Jack McGinnis, founder of Durham Sustain Ability, believed as long as people were given the right tools, they would do the right thing. It was that thinking that solidified Jack as a visionary pioneer, educator and leader in conservation, recycling and sustainability. Jack died peacefully on January 29th at the age of 64.
Jack is regarded as the father of the blue box introducing the world to the first blue box program in 1981. He greatly impacted the world of recycling and led numerous innovative projects, including founding the Recycling Council of Ontario and the Is Five Foundation, a non-profit environmental foundation, which organized Canada’s first multi-material curb side pickup of recyclable materials. Today the blue box is used by over 70 million North Americans and many more around the world. In Ontario alone the program diverts 870,000 tonnes of materials annually from landfills.
“Jack hired me fresh out of university and we worked together for 29 years on a wide variety of projects, including the start of Pickering’s first curb side recycling program, the launch of the largest recycling program in the world at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and most recently all the great public outreach we have done through Durham Sustain Ability,” says Gail Lawlor, friend, colleague and founding member of Durham Sustain Ability. “Jack was inspired by Einstein’s quote–that imagination is more important than knowledge. He lived up to that principle at all times and was so inspirational to work with. I will miss him immensely.”
After a number of successful projects he co-founded Durham Sustain Ability (DSA) an environmental non profit organization, located in the Pickering hamlet of Brougham. DSA’s programs and services are modeled on his belief of providing simple tools, education and resources to the community in order to promote positive environmental action. At DSA Jack cut through all of the confusion and had the ability to put things in perspective. A perfect example was using a bicycle as DSA’s logo. He compared sustainability with riding a bike. Once you know how to do it, you never lose the ability and it can be simple, joyous and efficient.
The Board of Directors and staff at DSA have had the privilege of working alongside Jack for many years and have celebrated incredible milestones together. As an organization we will use the invaluable lessons and wisdom Jack provided us with, to move forward with the simple steps needed to provide a bright future to the Durham Region and beyond.