Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

Yours is to wonder why, hers is to answer (or try). Send your green-living questions to Umbra.

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


What’s the most eco-friendly way to grill?

Can you BBQ with a clean, green conscience? Absolutely -- you just need to fire up the right kind of grill.


Can I have a composting toilet?

A reader wants to install a composting toilet in her London flat. Umbra is flush with answers.


Which hardware store is the greenest?

A reader wonders where to get sustainable home-improvement supplies. Umbra is the helpful hardware ham.


What happens if I flush leftover drugs down the toilet?

A reader wonders about the best way to dispose of unneeded medicine. Umbra plumbs for answers.

axe umbra

Should I cut down my tree to save water in the drought?

To tree or not to tree, that is the question. Umbra says 'tis nobler to tree. The real question is, what kind?


What’s the most sustainable wood for my new deck?

Redwood? Pine? That weird plastic stuff? Umbra nails it.


Can I put chopsticks in the compost?

A reader wonders what to do with utensils that come with her take-out. Umbra says MSG, let me think about that.

Climate & Energy

Should I source my home power from renewable energy?

A reader wonders whether "green tags" are as good as solar or wind power. Umbra does a little clean energy 'splainin'.


What are the most eco-friendly nuts?

A reader wonders what to put in his trail mix. Umbra gets nutty.