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 planes and cars

Hi Umbra, Which is less harmful to the environment when traveling long distances, flying or driving? A jet puts out a lot of exhaust, but since it carries a lot of people, maybe it’s less …

Umbra on carbon offsets

Dear Umbra, I’ve been reading the whole back-and-forth about carbon offsets, and it seems strange to me that most (all?) of the ones I’ve seen fund projects that, while worthwhile, may or may not result …

Umbra on tossing food waste

Dear Umbra, I am a college student. I eat a lot on the go. Not fast food or boxed meals, but when I leave my dorm I usually grab an apple, banana, or other fruit/veggie …

Umbra on live trapping

Dear Umbra, My wife and I live in a small town in Massachusetts, where I recently volunteered to head up an effort to certify our Unitarian Universalist congregation as a Green Sanctuary, an official recognition …

Umbra on household help and homemade cleansers

Dear Umbra, I recently moved in with my investment-banker boyfriend. So far, my efforts to teach him to have more fun with less stuff have been largely successful; however, I’ve hit a roadblock when it …

Umbra on kids’ birthday parties

Dear Umbra, I have a wonderful daughter who is just about to turn 5. She is currently the only grandchild and niece to our families, and therefore has everything she needs (still less than many …

Umbra on green laundry detergents

Dear Umbra, What are the “green” high-efficiency detergents for washers? Thanks,Marilyn Dearest Marilyn, A perfect question for parenting fortnight. Children have such tiny clothing that you wouldn’t think it would add up to an increase …

Umbra on the impact of food purchases

Hi Umbra, I practically live on Lean Cuisine (that brand specifically — they are frequently on sale for $2 each). In my community, the plastic tray is recyclable, as is the cardboard box. The only …

Umbra on meat eating and global warming

Dear Umbra, I see that PETA’s latest campaign says that meat eating is the No. 1 cause of global warming, not SUVs. This statement may be manipulative and political, but — is it true? J.Helena, …