Good News

Some of the positive stories coming our way
Swedish Erik Ahlström turned jogging into ‘plogging’

A Neat Way to Keep Fit
Green Are you ready to plog? A new, environmentally aware fitness trend that started in Sweden is catching on fast.

Plogging is the brainchild of exercise fanatic Erik Ahlström and involves collecting litter while jogging. (The word combines the Swedish word for “pick up” with “jogging.”)

The idea occurred to Ahlström while the Swede was living in the tourist resort of Åre, where he launched a local initiative with some success. But it was only when he moved to Stockholm that he realized the true potential of plogging.

“As I cycled to work, I saw that the same trash remained where it was for weeks without anyone picking it up,” he says. “So I thought I could make an effort here too.”

As Ahlström’s efforts gained publicity, his initiative turned into a national movement that has now spread far and wide.

American humorist David Sedaris has also been credited as an inspiration. Such is his obsession with picking up litter in the English county where he lives that the council has named one of its garbage trucks after him.

Chernobyl Goes Solar
It was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, but now Chernobyl in Ukraine is producing energy again—this time with no threat to the environment.

A one-megawatt solar energy facility has begun operating just 100 meters from the ruins of the damaged reactor. Its 3,800 photovoltaic panels can generate enough electricity to power a small town.

Back in 1986, the reactor’s meltdown produced a radioactive cloud that spread over much of Europe. Around 115,000 people were evacuated from a 2,600-square kilometer zone around the site. But now new life is being breathed into the region.

“We want to optimize the Chernobyl zone,” says Yevgen Varyagin, head of Solar Chernobyl. “It shouldn’t be a black hole in the middle of Ukraine.”

Life’s a Beach for Romans
Rome is turning part of its riverside into a temporary beach for the summer. Some 10,000 square meters of the Tiber’s banks near the Marconi Bridge are being used for a sports area and other attractions.

The beach is part of a larger project to reclaim the river. “We want to restore decorum and livability to the riverside,” says Mayor Virginia Raggi.

Stephanie Sejourne/
Mayor Benoît Hennart with the couple running the café-grocery

The mayor who saved his village
Heroes The Mayor of Quittebeuf in Normandy, France, was worried by the decline of local businesses in his small village of 640 inhabitants. The local bakery, butcher, and four cafés had all gone, and the village seemed to be dying. “I saw them close, one after another. What could I do?” says Benoît Hennart.

What he did was take out a personal loan of €200,000 to buy an old building. Then, using his carpentry training, he transformed it into a café-grocery. It is now run by a young couple (pictured above with the mayor), who pay him a monthly rent of just €500. Hennart now wants to open a butcher’s shop. “I’m on a train and I can’t get off,” he says, laughing. “We have a mayor with a big heart,” says local resident Georges Bézard.

Sources: Green—the The Telegraph, 1.2.18. Energy—The Independent, 15.1.18. Cities—The Local (Italy), 14.12.17. Heroes—Ouest France, 7.2.18

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Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada