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 fireplaces

Dear Umbra, We pile on socks and sweaters, but there are just times you need more warmth. Should we use the fireplace or our central (gas-powered) heater? Also, can you let us know which is …

Umbra on choosing a laptop

Dear Umbra, I am buying a new laptop, and I was wondering if all computers are the same energy-wise, or if some brands are better for the environment? Aviva HorrowPhiladelphia, Pa. Dearest Aviva, You’re already …

Umbra on amusing questions

Dear Umbra, When I was a kid we were allowed to lick our plates at the dinner table, except when guests were present. We were told that starving children in other countries would never leave …

Umbra on recycling condoms

For the sake of argument, how does one recycle condoms? Unused they are plastic of some sort? I know it’s a bit silly, but don’t you just hate to have to flush them and all …

Umbra on hyped-up verbiage

Dear Umbra, Surely you must have noticed that ubiquitous cliché of environmental reportage: the alarming rate. Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, coral reefs are being destroyed at an alarming rate, global warming is …

Umbra on replacing appliances

Dear Umbra, I’ve done the research, and I’m ready to buy my first front-loading washing machine. And then a pesky friend starts asking the tough questions. “Does your existing machine work?” Yes. “Are you going …

Umbra on ecological footprints, again

Dear Umbra, I have a couple of questions that relate to how I live and ask others to live. First, my guess is that many of your readers are above average in terms of income …

Umbra on co-housing

Dear Umbra, How does one begin to gather a group of people to live in a modern city commune? My dream is to own in common an energy-efficient and sustainable house or apartment building inhabited …

Umbra on LED holiday lights

Dear Umbra, Suppose I replace all my many old, tangled, not-so-efficient holiday lights with the newer LED lights. These are supposed to be better for the environment. What is the best way to dispose of …

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