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.

For even more green goodness, you can follow Umbra on Twitter (@AskUmbra) or become a fan on Facebook.

Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to lather up in the lake with biodegradable soap?

A reader thinks he's found the perfect suds for outdoor scrubbing. Umbra says bubbles belong in the bath.


Ask Umbra: How do I wipe out a yard full of weeds?

A reader says her yard has turned into a little shop of horrors. Umbra helps her seymour of the forest through the weeds.


Ask Umbra: Good gracious, is there lead in my fine china?

A reader isn’t sure what to do with her antique dinnerware. Umbra nixes food on the china.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to recycle bottles that have been full of chemicals?

A reader wonders if motor oil and cleaners could contaminate her recycling. Umbra can hardly container self.


Ask Umbra: So even BPA-free plastic is poisonous now?

Scientists have found that even "safe" plastic sippy cups will leach hormone disrupting chemicals into your kids' milk. Umbra flips her lid.


Ask Umbra: Should I trade my big home in for a tiny house?

A reader wonders if a new tiny home would be greener than her old house. Umbra squeezes in an answer.


Ask Umbra: Are chemicals in my garden hose polluting my veggies?

A reader frets about nasties that cause endocrine disruption and liver toxicity. Umbra tells her to keep her coil.


Ask Umbra: What’s the greenest way to re-side my house?

A reader wonders if polypropylene paneling is any better than vinyl. Umbra thinks outside the box.


Ask Umbra: Can I drink coffee with a clear conscience?

A reader wonders if her trenta caffe latte makes a grande mark on the planet. Umbra does a little venti-ing.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.