Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

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

Umbra on biodiesel vs. straight veggie oil

Dear Umbra, I have the opportunity to convert a 1979 non-turbo Mercedes into a non-diesel. The question I have is: to which should I switch, biodiesel or vegetable oil? I can’t seem to find out …

Umbra on true hybrids

Dear Umbra, I read the New York Times article that reported auto manufacturers are using hybrid technology to boost power rather than improve mileage. It specifically mentioned the Honda Accord, claiming that the mileage difference …

Umbra on baking soda

Dear Umbra, I liked your column about homemade cleaning products. I have a question, though: What’s up with baking soda? It’s frequently bandied about as an eco-friendly cleaner, but I have no idea what it …

Umbra on computer recycling

Dear Umbra, Do you have any suggestions for locating a computer-recycling service in the Piedmont area of North Carolina? Janet Fortune Dearest Janet, Frankly, I couldn’t even have located the Piedmont area of North Carolina …

Umbra on oil subsidies

Dear Umbra, Grist keeps mentioning that the U.S. government gives large subsidies to oil companies, but doesn’t go further into what these subsidies are. I can’t make a good argument against the government’s subsidizing Big …

Umbra on utility carts

Dear Umbra, I live less than a half-mile from a supermarket, and prefer to do my errands by foot. Any thoughts on where I could buy a top-of-the-line utility cart? I’m willing to pay a …

Umbra on car disposal

Dear Umbra, My wife and I are making plans to purchase our first hybrid vehicle and need to properly dispose of our current car — a 1989 Buick LeSabre. My question is, what is the …

Umbra on green weddings

Dear Umbra, We are having a wedding in Kauai in September and are expecting about 40 guests. I would like to make it as “carbon-neutral” as possible. We’ve already instituted some greening aspects — recycled …

Umbra on micro-wind

Dear Umbra, Are there any worthwhile resources or models that would enable me to generate my own electricity in a cost-effective way, using wind power? This is on a one-household basis. Matt PinesToronto, Canada Dearest …

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