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.


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.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to reuse biodegradable plastic spoons?

A reader asks if she can toss those colorful fro-yo spoons in the dishwasher and use them again. Umbra gives her the straight scoop.


Ask Umbra: Is it irresponsible to use cloth diapers in a drought?

A reader wonders if all that wash water turns a green option brown. Umbra says that's a loaded question.

Business & Technology

Ask Umbra: Who makes the most awesomely eco-tastic computers?

A reader wants to take a byte out of his environmental footprint. Umbra chips away at the problem.


Ask Umbra: Should I get my panties in a bunch?

A reader wonders about the bags her undies come in. Umbra says that's a delicates subject.


Ask Umbra: Is my compost pile contributing to climate change?

A reader worries that her banana peels are giving off bad gas. Umbra forks over some scrappy advice.


Ask Umbra: What’s better than butter? Spreads will roll

Olive oil from the fridge? Apple sauce? Prunes? Our green advice guru explores a tub full of butter substitutes.

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