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.

Spinning a good yarn

Is synthetic yarn for the birds?

A knitter wonders if it's OK to put acrylic yarn scraps outside for birds to make nests with. Umbra Fisk swoops in with an answer.

Finer dining

What’s the best way to deal with restaurant leftovers?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk dishes up advice on dodging the Styrofoam clamshell.

Ex-squeeze me

Can I recycle baby food pouches?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk unpacks what you need to know about those popular, squishy containers of ready-to-eat kiddo treats.

Don't be a pill

Here’s how to keep your sweaters lasting longer

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk pulls the wool from our eyes and tells us how to find high-quality knitwear and keep it looking good.

State of play

How can I find a nontoxic playmat for my kid?

A mom wants her kid to be able to do gymnastics safely. Umbra tumbles onto the scene with suggestions.

In the neonic of time

Help! There’s pesticide on my houseplant

A reader discovers that her new palm has been treated with a neonicotinoid. Advice columnist Umbra Fisk comes to the rescue.

H2-oh no!

Should I be using a water filter?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk pours forth wisdom on drinking water safety and filtration systems.

Full steam ahead

What kind of water heater is greenest?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk warms to the topic and assesses the options.

Vents and sensibility

Does a range hood waste a lot of energy?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk gives an exhaustive answer.