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 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 …

Brood Awakenings: On parenting and health

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, …


Umbra on vegetarian remorse

Dear Umbra, I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 10 years. I started when I was 15, on pretty much a whim just to see if I could do it, but since then I’ve come to …


Umbra on reusing bath water

Hi Umbra, My new (to me) house has a somewhat larger than standard bathtub with jets. I rarely have time for a bath, but last night took the opportunity to indulge. I had a nice …

Umbra on mini-dilemmas

Dear Umbra, Unfortunately, my nose runs a lot even when I am not sick. I’ve always wondered about the disposal of tissues and hope you can help calm my environmental nerves. Is it best to …


Umbra on singles and CSAs

Hi Umbra! I’ve held back from joining a CSA because 1) I live alone and am worried about wasting food, and 2) I’m worried I’ll get so much oddball stuff, especially in the winter, that …