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.

Food

Which protein is lighter on the land, chicken or cheese?

A reader is trying to fromage an opinion on protein. Umbra helps him poulet his head out of the dairy air.

Living

How many times can I use a towel before it gets gross?

A reader wants to dry off responsibly. Umbra brings out the fold standby.

For whom the road tolls

Could pay-to-play lanes solve urban gridlock?

A reader wonders if HOT lanes, open to carpoolers and people with money to burn, are an improvement on standard HOV lanes. Umbra gets him out of his jam.

Living

The chemicals in my couch are disrupting my WHAT?

A reader discovers fire retardants in her upholstery. Umbra tries to cushion the blow.

Green defense

What’s the greenest option for painting a fence?

A reader is on the fence about paint vs. stain. Umbra offers a quick primer.

Living

What’s the greenest way to keep my fireplace burning?

A reader wonders about clean-burning, efficient fireplace fuels. Umbra gets the specs on wood, propane, natural gas, and electric -- and she's just getting warmed up.

Spirits Animal

What’s the greenest way to get drunk?

A reader wants to drink alcohol without hurting the environment. Umbra bears with him.

hung out to dry

Do I have to hang up my gardening tools during the drought?

A reader wonders if her green thumb has to go for the sake of saving water. Umbra says she can grow her kale and eat it, too.

Living

How much water does a lawn really need?

A reader frets that her employer runs the sprinklers non-stop. Umbra says over-watering is a total turnoff.