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.

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.

Crap battle

What should you do with your dog’s poo?

Is the answer different if there's a drought on? Advice columnist Umbra Fisk holds her nose and picks up the topic.

Bad air day

Should you avoid walking if the air is polluted?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk clears the haze on this tricky question.

Guilt flip

If I use clean power, can I crank up the AC without guilt?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk explains what it really means when you buy renewable electricity from your utility.

Baking soda jerk

Where does baking soda come from, and is it really so eco-friendly?

Advice columnist Umbra Fisk digs down to find out about the mining and manufacturing processes used to produce baking soda.

Flip sync battle

Should you always turn the lights out when leaving a room?

A reader wonders if it's wasteful to flip lights on and off too quickly. Advice columnist Umbra Fisk offers an illuminating answer.