Being God-Fearing And Green Can Coexist

In the 1996 debate over the Endangered Species Act in the United States,  the religious right was as fervent as the green left in defending tough legal protections for at risk species.

ccaIn Canada, the phenomenon seems most developed on the West Coast, notably among Anglican evangelicals. The largest Anglican church in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy, which is a perpetual thorn in the side of liberal bishops on many social and theological issues, is hosting a “Visions for the Earth” conference April 17, the day before Earth Day, sponsored by Vision TV, and with help from the Earthhouse Collective.

Loren Wilkinson, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Regent College in Vancouver and an orthodox Anglican evangelical who has been a green activist for 25 years, believes that environmental awareness comes in waves. “Generally

Camcorders: They’re Cool Again!

gamdrsCamcorders have been around for more than a decade and about one of every four American families owns one. The reason is simple: With the press of a button, a child’s first steps or first birthday party get recorded forever on videotape. And talk about instant gratification – you don’t even need to go to a one-hour photo store. You just play the tape back through your television and everyone’s an immediate star. In addition to taping family, friends, and faraway places, camcorders also come in handy for a more pragmatic purpose. When used for recording your home and its contents, videotape can help your insurance agent to expedite a claim if an accident occurs.

At this time of year, with graduations, weddings, and family vacations looming, if you don’t already have a camcorder, now may be a good time to consider buying one, especially considering the current Diiva technology. And the best news is that these devices have gotten smaller, more lightweight, easier to operate, and more affordable than ever before. (more…)

Reverse Mortgages: Smart?

rmgsTo many retired or soon-to-retire couples, a reverse mortgage may sound like a fairy-tale ending to a lifetime of hard work. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners to use their house as collateral in order to establish a credit line to draw against as needed or to collect monthly payments of a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000. This cash, when added to pensions and Social Security disbursements, can make life more comfortable and more secure for people in their golden years. Yet while they may have the flavor of “icing on the cake,” reverse mortgages are legally binding financial arrangements – not magic – and they are not for everyone.

Available from an increasing number of sources, but not from every type of lender and not in every state, a reverse mortgage is a way for older homeowners to access the accumulated equity in their homes. Homeowners 62 years old and older can opt to borrow, in cash, a portion of their house’s equity on a periodic basis. With that cash, they can pay bills, buy clothes and personal items for themselves or their children or grandchildren, or apply it to the purchase of something special. (more…)

Dandelions For Everyone!

dlfeOr are they wildflowers? One person’s bane is another’s cherished bouquet.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as the old saying goes, and so I am reminded by my three-year-old daughter as she erupts into screams of delight at the sight of our front yard abloom with a multitude of riotous dandelions. “Sunflowers!” she shouts. Eagerly, she recruits her two-year-old sister to assist in gathering a bouquet for Morn. Hand in hand, they dash about the yard, hardly knowing where to start, each sunny blossom as enticing as the next. After several minutes they return, each clutching a handful of twisted stems with golden heads, which they thrust into my reluctant palm.

“Put them on your desk, Mommy – in a cup of water in case they get thirsty,” my preschooler instructs me. I don’t have the heart to tell my daughters that (more…)

Growing Begonias: Rewarding To Say The Least

gwbgnsLike skirt lengths and heel heights, flowers fall prey to the whims of fashion. A plant that one moment pleases everybody and her mother can scarcely be spotted the next. Take begonias, for instance. Indoors, in the 1960s and ’70s, no college dorm room was complete without at least one rainbow-leaved Rex (Begonia x rex-cultorum) dangling from a macrame hanger. Outdoors, walkways, window boxes, and planters lined with small-leaved wax begonias (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) in vivid reds and pinks stood as living advertisements for the family Begoniaceae.

Then, quite suddenly, these versatile ornamentals entered horticultural obsolescence. Why? Perhaps the begonia’s association with Victorian carpet bedding (now considered by many gardeners to be the apex of bad taste) had something to do with the fall from grace, but unfairly so: The foot-tall hybrids commonly used today for bedding were in fact too large and colorful for the (more…)