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.


Umbra on leather vs. pleather shoes

Hi Umbra, As a devoted vegetarian, I try to make it a point to avoid leather footwear. However, after too many hours of deep thought on the subject, I am now conflicted about the environmental …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on nuclear vs. coal

Dear Umbra, I work for a certain large environmental organization, and I have often had to deal with the issue of nuclear and coal-fired power plants. If ever asked which is better, we are officially …

Umbra on green donations

Hey Umbra, With strict instructions from me, my parents decided to skip most of the presents this Christmas and give me the big-ticket item I had requested: money to give away. They’ve given me $1,000, …

Umbra on (inherited) fur coats

Oh advice maven on all things green, I have a problem! I live in a very cold climate (read: Great White North) and my mother recently gave me my grandmother’s old fur coat. It is …


Umbra on Camelbaks

Dear Umbra, Recently, I’ve started to try to avoid plastics (especially plastic water bottles). For Christmas, my brother gave me a Camelbak-type water bottle. How safe is this? I assume it’s as bad as most …


Umbra on resolutions for 2008

Dear Umbra, Sorry to crowd your inbox, but I just want to thank you for answering my question about paint disposal … it was very helpful (as always). I’m SO glad you’re back from being …


Umbra on organic mattresses

Dear Umbra, I need a new mattress and really want to buy one that is not doused in chemicals — in other words, an organic mattress. I’ve searched a number of sites online and have …


Umbra on paint disposal

Dear Umbra, A friend of mine is a painter. He is concerned about the environment and has been trying to find out how to dispose of his paint buckets, extra paint, and other supplies in …

Umbra on a safe return

Dearest Readers, I am back. My captors released me early this morning, and I have never been happier to walk somewhere in my life. All that driving gets one down, doesn’t it? Big thanks to …