Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

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.

Climate & Energy

Umbra on sea-level rise

Dear Umbra, I’m a bit confused about the possible rise in sea level that may be caused by global warming. I know that in general water expands when warmed, and that is one cause of sea level elevation with respect …


Umbra on air mattresses

Dear Umbra, We live in a small house, and when we have guests, the bed situation is limiting. Convenience tells me that an inflatable bed would be ideal. However, the “no vinyl, that’s final” rule reigns supreme in our household. …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on driving versus flying

Dear Umbra, My husband asked me this one the other day and I didn’t know the answer, so I thought I’d ask an expert. Which is the more environmentally friendly method of travel: 100 people driving their own cars (let’s …


Umbra on exerting yourself in traffic

Dear Umbra, I bus, bike, or walk to work 98 percent of the time. I was wondering, when I’m biking (or walking, for that matter), am I inhaling more pollutants than those around me who are emitting them from their …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on carbon trading

Dear Umbra, I don’t understand carbon credits and how people can buy/sell/trade them. How is this good for our environment? Elizabeth Columbus, Ohio Dearest Elizabeth, I believe you speak of the carbon credit, rather than the carbon offset? The carbon …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on short-haul flights

Dear Umbra, I work in the touring music business, based in the U.K. but touring worldwide. I have noticed recently that the record companies are booking cheap flights for short distances, e.g., London-Manchester, about 200 miles. Over such short distances, …


Umbra on car seat recycling

Dear Umbra, What do you recommend for child car seat disposal or, better yet, recycling? Near as I can tell, options include giving them away to someone who needs them (a pretty discouraged practice) or sending them to Oregon or …


Umbra on the never-ending diaper ado

My Sweet Umbra, The diaper debate continues! I’ve read Grist’s position, and I even saw the same answer posted in your FAQs, which means I’m not supposed to be asking you about it again (all change has been effected by …


Umbra on wedding registries again

Hi Umbra, I’m getting married in August, and I’ve registered on Heifer International, but am looking for other ways to offer gift-givers a way to buy socially conscious and green gifts. Since “green,” fair-trade, and organic are all the rage, …