Ask Umbra®

The New York Times calls Umbra Fisk "a trailblazer in the field of eco-advice columnists" and "the arch online sage of the new green age." Her latest passion: kale smoothies ... no, sorry, civic engagement, because getting political is the only way we'll get a planet that doesn't burn and a future that doesn't suck. Ask Umbra a question here.

  • 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 …

  • 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 …

  • 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 …

  • 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 …

  • Umbra on clean coal

    Dear Umbra, I noticed that several of the presidential primary debates were sponsored by clean coal. This was announced during breaks and several commercials aired. I have since seen several more commercials and online advertisements. Is clean coal an oxymoron? …

  • Umbra on storing produce

    Hi Umbra, Quick question: What is the best way to store vegetables in the refrigerator? I have a small crisper drawer and lots of vegetables from the CSA box. I don’t want to use plastic bags but unfortunately they work …