Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

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Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.

Umbra on UV ratings

Dear Umbra, Our radio station provides daily information regarding ultraviolet ratings. I am curious about what these ratings actually represent, and why they change so dramatically. For example, for the past few years, most ratings …

Umbra on the mysteries of produce code numbers

Dear Umbra, I recently learned that the UPC numbers on produce indicate whether the item is conventionally grown (beginning with a 4), organically grown (beginning with a 9), or genetically modified (beginning with an 8). …

Umbra on the eco-relevance of health concerns

Dear Umbra, As a practicing vegan for quite some time now, I take pride in my knowledge of nutrition and my ability to enrich my body through a varied diet with all the essentials. For …

Umbra on hemp fabric

Dear Umbra, You didn’t mention hemp as a fabric alternative. JordanMarquette, Mich. Dearest Jordan, No, I didn’t. Thank you for writing such a concise letter; it stood out among the 4 million other hemp letters …

Umbra on our “throw it away” culture

Dear Umbra, I hope I am not the only person who is disgusted with and frustrated by the current “throw it away” philosophy that so many large companies are pushing. Everything from window cleaner to …

Umbra on recycling pencil stubs

Dear Umbra, I’m looking for a place that accepts pencil stubs (one to two inches long) to recycle into new pencils. I’ve found recycled pencils online — made from denim, plastic, recovered wood, and paper …

Umbra on whether to leave the engine running

Dear Umbra, I have a question that has been nagging me for a while, and I would really like to have it answered once and for all. You see, I deliver pizzas for a living …

Umbra on choosing the least evil gasoline company

Dear Umbra, Every week I scan the gasoline signs looking for the cheapest deal, while knowing that what I pay in rock-bottom prices may come at the expense of environmental integrity and social justice. I’d …

Umbra on finding solar-power stats

Dear Umbra, Are there any statistics that show what percentage of solar power is generated state by state, and which states are more solar-friendly? Also, do power companies give out any figures on how much …

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