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 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.


Are the leftovers from home remodeling trash or treasure?

A reader wonders what to do with '80s home decor. Umbra spreads the salvage love.


When I eat honey, do I hurt bees?

A reader wonders if she should avoid using beeswax, royal jelly, and honey. Umbra's answer is sweet.


Is climate change killing my California dream?

A reader wonders if Cali is going to dry up and blow away. Umbra sprinkles a little wisdom on the subject.


Should I kill my weeds by peeing on them?

A reader wonders if urine will get rid of unwanted weeds. Umbra says, sadly, it's piss poor.


How can I tell if a business is really “green”?

A reader wonders how to suss out a business's eco-cred. Umbra offers a few conversation starters.