Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

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

Umbra on store-brand organics

Hey Umbra, What with organic foods being so expensive, I’m often tempted to buy the store-brand organic produce that’s cropping up lately. Are the store brands as good (i.e., pesticide free) as any other brand of organic food? I can’t …

Umbra on turning down the heat

Dear Umbra, Many of my friends are environmentally minded and do lots of things to try to have a smaller carbon footprint. Yet when I tell people I turn my heat down when I leave the house even for an …

Umbra on greening the office

Dear Umbra, The Powers That Be at my job have decided to start a Green Initiative. The project got put on the desk of the office manager, who doesn’t know where to start. I signed up to be a part …

Umbra on rainforest-protection gifts

Dear Umbra, This year for Christmas, I want to buy hectares of rainforest for some of my in-laws instead of the usual gift items that may end up in someone’s closet and forgotten, if not regifted. How do organizations that …

Umbra on holiday shopping

Hi Umbra, When it comes to holiday presents, does it really save energy and gas to order stuff online? Rick G. Manchester, N.H. Dearest Rick, Holiday gift time, everyone! Many of you have already begun shopping, I know, and I …

Umbra on winter biking

Dear Umbra, Here in Cleveland we recently endured the first snowstorm of winter. When I look out the window and see all that pretty white stuff, I can’t help but reach for my car keys instead of my bicycle helmet. …

Umbra on cookbooks

Dear Umbra, I am trying to eat local foods within the seasons, but most of my cookbooks include ingredients from multiple seasons in a single recipe. Can you offer any cookbooks or advice for finding more seasonal recipes? Yours locally …

Umbra on food-waste collection

Dear Umbra, Are any communities collecting food waste — potato peels, meat scraps, corn husks, etc. — for recycling? Is there a market for such material? Wendy S. Far Hills, N.J. Dearest Wendy, Yes and yes. Multiple communities collect food …

Umbra on compost and climate

Dear Umbra, I was explaining to my neighbor (who doesn’t even recycle) why he shouldn’t throw out a bag of leaves with his trash. Just to clarify, he asked what to do with it. I explained composting; he doesn’t want …