Sweden joins Austria in closing its last coal-fired power station and the businessman cleaning public spaces

Today’s #FourForApril contains more great news in tackling climate change and also features a few heroes making a difference in their local communities. Sweden has followed Austria’s footsteps; a story we reported earlier this month, in closing its last coal-fired power station two years ahead of schedule! While a businessman has been going around his neighbourhood in Scotland and cleaning park benches, bins and bus stops to help narrow the spread of coronavirus.

In other good news concerning inspiring people, a nine-year-old has been doing many selfless acts to help her local community including hosting kindness challenges, while a group of volunteers in Great Yarmouth have been trimming its green spaces and raising money for NHS Charities in the process.

People are simply amazing. I hope these stories add some light to your day 💚

Sweden follows Austria’s footsteps and closes its last coal-fired power station two years ahead of schedule

Sweden has followed in the footsteps of Belgium and Austria in closing its last coal-fired power station. (Pixabay)

Sweden has followed in the footsteps of Belgium and Austria in closing its last coal-fired power station.

The country has closed the station two years ahead of schedule in a growing withdrawal from polluting fossil fuels.

It becomes the third European country to exit coal completely after Belgium closed its last station in 2016 and Austria ended its operations earlier this month.

The plant at Värtaverket, in Hjorthagen in eastern Stockholm, is owned by Stockholm Exergi, a company part owned by the City of Stockholm and which described the closure as “a milestone” for clean energy in Sweden.

The company has said this move will cut CO2 emissions from them in half.

The Swedish capital is on track for its district heating to be produced entirely by renewable or recycled energy by 2030.

Anders Egelrud, chief executive of Stockholm Exergi said: “Since Stockholm was almost totally fossil-dependent 30-40 years ago, we have made enormous changes and now we are taking the step away from carbon dependence and continuing the journey towards an energy system entirely based on renewable and recycled energy.”

The company had previously said it would aim to shut down its coal operations in Hjorthagen in 2022, and had already reduced its output significantly in autumn 2019. 

The plant had supplied heat and electricity to Stockholmers since 1989.

Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director for Europe Beyond Coal, told industry publication PV Magazine: “Against the backdrop of the serious health challenges we are currently facing, leaving coal behind in exchange for renewables is the right decision and will repay us in kind with improved health, climate protection and more resilient economies.”

You can read more about this great news here.

Businessman cleans hundreds of park benches, bins and bus stops to help stop spread of coronavirus

A businessman is deep-cleaning benches, bins and bus stops to help narrow the spread of coronavirus. (Pexels)

A businessman is deep-cleaning hundreds of park benches, bins and bus stops in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Bruce Ogilvie, 50, normally uses cleaning equipment after fitting fire protection systems in schools, offices and hospitals but with his work suspended, he wanted to put the equipment to good use in his local area of Ayrshire.

The 50-year-old has been concentrating on the busiest spots around his base in Ayr focusing on benches along the sea front, pubic parks and most of the bus stops between Ayr and Prestwick.

He told the BBC: “We have this deep-cleaning equipment and supplies just sitting there not doing anything right now, and I’m not really one for sitting still, so I just thought I would put it to good use.”

Bruce said he has also contacted local bus companies to work out which routes were the busiest so he could concentrate his cleaning efforts on them.

You can read more about Bruce’s selfless act here.

Houston nine-year-old’s many selfless acts help her local community

A nine-year-old from Houston’s idea of a community food pantry sparked other deeds from her which includes knitting masks and hosting kindness challenges. (Lisa Fotios, Pexels)

A Nine-year old from Friendswood, Houston, is doing everything she can to help others during the coronavirus lockdown.

Alexandra Castillo wanted to find a way her neighbours could have access to a little food pantry.

After seeing ideas on Pinterest, the vision grew from there.

Her family went on Nextdoor and Facebook to see if anyone had materials they wanted to donate and before long, Alexandra’s idea became a reality.

The pantry consists of canned goods, toilet paper and a wide range of cleaning groceries that people wanted to donate.

Aside from helping install the free food pantry, Alexandra has been busy sewing masks.

She has had over 1,000 requests for them and 600 have already been distributed, making them available to anyone that wants one.

The nine-year-old also has a platform on Facebook called Alexandra’s Secret Smiles, where she hosts kindness challenges, surprises children with gifts, and encourages others to help the community.

Alexandra’s mum, Julie Castillo told Chronicle News: “She wants to show other children that kids can change the world. It doesn’t matter how small you are, anyone can make a difference even if it is just smiling at someone.”

You can read more about Alexandra’s wonderful kind deeds here.

Men cut grass in Great Yarmouth village and raise money for NHS Charities

Volunteers in Belton, Great Yarmouth, have been tidying green spaces and raising money for NHS Charities in the process. (Lisa Fotios, Pexels)

Volunteer grass cutters in Belton have joined together to tidy up green spaces raising money for NHS Charities in the process.

Kris Hodgkyns, is the driving force behind the move which has seen most of Belton’s lawns mowed and close to £300 raised for NHS charities in the process.

The 36-year-old said on the first day he was just one man and a petrol mower, but shortly after, bouyed by the response of villagers, he was joined by his dad Julian Hodgkyns and fellow villagers Jimmy Barker, Rob Smith, and Jon Perrin.

The group maintained social distancing and were abiding by national guidelines at all times.

Kris told Great Yarmouth Mercury: “It’s nothing that impressive, but people seem to like it. Everyone knows each other in Belton and they keep coming out with coffees, beers and bacon sandwiches.

“People seem happy we are doing it, and it does look better.”

You can read more about Kris and his lovely team helping keep Belton trimmed here.

Bonus positive:

Dublin community perform physically distanced ‘Saturday Night’ boogie 💚

Every day in April, we will be sharing four positive news stories in one post under the hashtag #FourForApril. Got any kindness stories? Send them in! We’d love the world to hear about these good deeds by good people 🙂

Thanks for reading one of our positive stories!

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