Ask Umbra®

The New York Times calls Umbra Fisk "a trailblazer in the field of eco-advice columnists" and "the arch online sage of the new green age." Her latest passion: kale smoothies ... no, sorry, civic engagement, because getting political is the only way we'll get a planet that doesn't burn and a future that doesn't suck. Ask Umbra a question here.

Umbra on wine corks

Dear Umbra, Not that I am a big-drinking old lady or anything, but I find myself with a lot of wine corks that I can’t find a recycling outlet for. All of my retired farmer friends have made all the …

Umbra on baby gifts

Dear Umbra, I am expecting my first baby, and I am wondering what would be the most polite way to make sure that people who wish to get it a gift understand that I want only organic, used, or sustainable …

Umbra on water conservation

Dear Umbra, Your general drift has been to get us to focus on the big stuff instead of the little paper-or-plastic issues. So what’s the big picture of household water use and overuse? I have a clothes washer and a …

Umbra on aluminum bottles

Umbra, Are aluminum bottles safer than Nalgene bottles? I’m looking at getting Sigg bottles for my self, wife, and son. Vendor agnostic, are the materials used by aluminum-only vendors safer than those that incorporate Lexan? Chris Webber Seattle, Wash. Dearest …

Umbra on plastic and kids

Hi Umbra, What about “sippy” cups for little kids, not to mention bottles? They’re all plastic, and we all know that kids are more vulnerable to environmental toxins. What’s a mom to do? Janet Byron Berkeley, Calif. Dearest Janet, A …

Umbra on greening your wedding

Dear Umbra, How about some practical thoughts on “green” weddings? My daughter is planning an outdoor July wedding in Wisconsin — any tips? The reception is going to be outdoors at our home. Tomm G. Waukesha, Wis. Hi Tomm, This …

Umbra on greening your sex life

Q. Hey Umbra! So I’m finally starting up a relationship with a guy as eco-friendly as I am (I’d say eco-freaky, but since I’m writing about sex, I thought it would be overload). However, since neither of us is into …

Umbra on peeing in the shower

Dear Umbra, Is it suitable to justify peeing (urinating) while showering in order to save a toilet flush? Any health issues to your feet or shower algae growth? Luke WhistlerBrisbane, Australia Dearest Luke, If I told you that my editor …

Umbra on organic liquors

Hi Umbra, After an epic weekend of drinking, I realized I’ve never seen or heard about any organic liquors. I’ve seen organic beer and wine, but never any organic gin, vodka, scotch, etc. Any chance I can drink in the …