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.

Living

Umbra on the importance of voting

Dear Umbra, I have a friend who is a fellow environmental studies major, and he says he’s not going to vote because he “doesn’t agree with the system.” I’ve had numerous discussions with him about how important it is to …

Living

Umbra on wine bottle stoppers

Dear Umbra, Here’s a question I couldn’t find an answer to in the Grist archives: What kind of plastic is being used for the corks in wine bottles? If I decide to put a bottle in the cellar for several …

Umbra on cruise control

Dear Umbra, To cruise or not to cruise? That is the question. Is it more fuel efficient to use cruise control when driving, or does it use more gas to use the cruise? Carrie Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Dearest Carrie, Whether …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on being an energy-efficient renter

Dear Umbra, I’m an apartment dweller in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it doesn’t get too cold or too hot. Still, my energy bill is much too high for my liking and I’m wondering what I can do to …

Living

Umbra on bedbugs

Dear Umbra, I desperately need your help. My house has become infested with bedbugs! I’m trying to find an environmentally friendly way to get rid of them. I’ve tried a thorough cleaning and tried using diatomaceous earth (fossil shell flour) …

Living

Umbra on recycled vs. certified paper

Dear Umbra, Our office is trying to develop an environmental paper procurement policy, and we were wondering which component is most critical — certification by the Forest Stewardship Council, or recycled content? If you could help us understand which is …

Living

Umbra on hybrid myths

Dear Umbra, Could you help me clear up a rumor about cars? I’ve heard that although hybrids reduce your carbon footprint because they use less gas, the process for mining the nickel in the hybrid batteries produces far more pollution …

Living

Umbra on buying big cars

Dear Umbra, I’m in need of a new car. I’d love to get a Prius, but I often need more passenger seats than the Prius has. What is the most environmentally friendly and responsible choice for a driver who needs …

Umbra on Method cleansers

Dear Umbra, I’ve noticed lately that Method cleaning products are now being sold in a number of different retail outlets, whereas before they were only sold in Target. This shouldn’t seem too weird in our every-store-sells-the-same-thing world, but seeing these …