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 power strips

Q. Hi Umbra, Around the table at lunch today, my colleagues and I were discussing ways to conserve and be more energy efficient. We’ve all heard that “dormant” appliances still draw energy. We’ve all been …

Business & Technology

Umbra on corporate holiday cards

Dear Umbra, My company wants to send out holiday cards each year, but I find it wasteful, especially because of the increased transportation load on the post office. What could we do instead? Cindy Truckee, …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on solar holiday lights

Dear Umbra, As the holiday season approaches, I’m trying to figure out how to spread good cheer in home decorations while being sensitive to the environment. Years ago, my husband and I purchased strings of …


Umbra on dishwashing and droughts

Dear Umbra, I am trying to be so much more green than I used to be, so your column has helped me with the nagging questions. Now I wonder about living in a drought-stricken state …


Umbra on Halloween

Dear Umbra, We really enjoy the community aspect of trick-or-treating but we don’t want to give out candy to the little ones, or toxic plastic Chinese toys. Two hundred kids come to our house every …

Climate & Energy

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 …

Climate & Energy

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 …