Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

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


Umbra on raw milk

Dear Umbra, My husband was raised with milk straight from the cow that he milked himself every morning, so he and his parents are very into organic milk. However, I am concerned about the benefits/dangers of some of the milk …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on biodiesel vs. hybrids

Dear Umbra, I live in Massachusetts and am trying to decide whether to buy a hybrid or a biodiesel. Since it is cold here, I would need to use 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel in the winter. How …


Umbra on commuting choices

Dear Umbra, I have three choices in how I travel the 15 or so miles between my house and my job: car, light rail, and ferry. Each one, depending on the time and the day, has its advantage in terms …


Umbra on resolutions for 2009

Dearest Readers, A Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you look back fondly on 2008, and have big happy plans for 2009. I do. You and I may have similar happy plans, in fact. I plan to …


Umbra on eco-actions for kids

Dear Umbra, In my city, environmental awareness might as well be some late-night, budget infomercial that nobody thinks about except to laugh at. I’m trying to organize a series of interactive presentations in area schools to educate and engage kids …

Business & Technology

Umbra on eco-friendly detergents

Dear Umbra, Like a good guilt-ridden liberal, I’ve switched to supposed earth-friendly dish detergent. And, on the basis of previous Ask Umbra columns, I don’t rinse my dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Here’s the thing: About 10 …


Umbra on homegrown meat

Dear Umbra, I try to eat as many vegetarian meals as possible, but I haven’t “gone all the way” yet, mostly because my in-laws (whom my husband and I live with at the moment) raise beef, chickens, and hunt deer; …


Umbra on children’s art supplies

Hey Umbra, I’ve got a niece with a second birthday coming up and I’d like to get her a present that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer or TV. So, I thought, how about an art set? What …


Umbra on e-books

Dear Umbra, I have noticed that digital book readers have started to enter the market and wonder if they are more ecologically sound than conventional books. I am interested in buying one but suspect that they are full of metals …