Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

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


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 …

Umbra on toxins in your body

Dear Umbra, I saw an infomercial late at night about these foot pads that you wear to sleep and they will “remove toxins from your body.” I didn’t know who else to ask, so you win that lottery. Do we …

Business & Technology

Umbra on eco-conversions

Dear Umbra, In all sorts of corporate environmental reports, you see claims that compare apples to oranges — “By reducing our emissions by X pounds this year, we’ve saved the equivalent of 17 gazillion trees.” Or “If every person in …


Umbra on diet soda

Dear Umbra, My name’s Jon and I’m a diet pop addict. My diet right now is 70-80 percent local, organic, or both, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to getting my fix. I drink several 20-ouncers a …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on calculating CO2 weight

Dear Umbra, I know CO2 is a gas as other greenhouse gases are, and gases are sometimes lighter than air. So I’m wondering: how can gases be weighed in tons? That’s a hell of a lot of gas to weigh …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on driving versus flying, again

Dear Umbra, Your recent answer to the plane/train question prompts me to ask something that has always bothered me but that my little old brain can’t figure out on my own. I know that planes are worse than other forms …


Umbra on diesel hybrids

Dear Umbra, I have been wondering for years now — with the hot trend toward hybrids and the new “clean” diesels hitting the market, why doesn’t anyone talk about a diesel hybrid? Sounds like the best of both worlds to …


Umbra on adult tricycles

Dear Umbra, I want to reduce my carbon footprint. I already take a commuter train to work, but the station is down a steep hill from my house, so I drive the first mile or so in the morning and …