Big scoop: Americans spend $20 billion each year on ice cream. But according to United Nations figures, over the next 10 years it would take only $7 billion to provide clean water and basic sanitation for the entire world, and another $4 billion to finance basic health care for the same period that would prevent the death of 3 million infants each year (Theology, News and Notes, Fall).
Back to your roots: EcoEternity is offering a green form of burial: for a price the company will place a person’s remains in a biodegradable urn and plant it beside a mature tree. In time, the remains will be soaked up by the tree’s root system.
Disaster capitalism: Blackwater USA, which the Iraqi government now wants to throw out of Iraq for killing innocent civilians, was hired to protect FEMA operations at the cost of $950 a day per guard. Blackwater has used revenue from these government contracts to build up its own paramilitary infrastructure.
A Christian nation? According to an annual poll measuring American attitudes about freedom of religion, speech and the press, 55 percent believe that the country’s founders wrote Christianity into the U.S. Constitution (Chicago Sun-Times, September 12).
Smokin’ hymns: The Anglican Church in Jamaica is adding to its hymnals some tunes by reggae stars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, including Marley’s hit “One Love” and Tosh’s “Psalm 27.” Both men were Rastafarians—a group that mixes Old Testament prophecy, Afrocentric social advocacy and the sacramental smoking of marijuana (RNS).