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 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 …

  • Umbra on sea-level rise

    Dear Umbra, I’m a bit confused about the possible rise in sea level that may be caused by global warming. I know that in general water expands when warmed, and that is one cause of sea level elevation with respect …

  • Umbra on air mattresses

    Dear Umbra, We live in a small house, and when we have guests, the bed situation is limiting. Convenience tells me that an inflatable bed would be ideal. However, the “no vinyl, that’s final” rule reigns supreme in our household. …

  • Umbra on driving versus flying

    Dear Umbra, My husband asked me this one the other day and I didn’t know the answer, so I thought I’d ask an expert. Which is the more environmentally friendly method of travel: 100 people driving their own cars (let’s …

  • Umbra on exerting yourself in traffic

    Dear Umbra, I bus, bike, or walk to work 98 percent of the time. I was wondering, when I’m biking (or walking, for that matter), am I inhaling more pollutants than those around me who are emitting them from their …