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.

Umbra on shaving

Dear Umbra, Every morning when I shave, I stare in the mirror and wonder if my razor is the best choice for the environment. I realize the easy answer is to let the beard grow. …

Umbra on reducing emissions, one person at a time

Dear Umbra, I want to adopt the Kyoto treaty myself and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. No waiting, and to hell with George Bush! If my nation had adopted it, I’d have to be doing it …

Umbra on unclogging without chemicals

Dear Umbra, How does one unclog a clogged bathtub drain without pouring toxic chemicals directly into the waste stream? Allie CatBoiling Springs, Penn. Dearest Allie Cat, I don’t believe that’s your real name. But yours …

Umbra on the perennial packaging dilemma

Dear Umbra, I was recently elected the social chairperson of my subdivision’s swim/tennis/social club. Now I’m in charge of party planning for a group of about 150 families. While shopping at Costco, I wondered which …

Umbra on whether to visit national parks

Dear Umbra, We are considering a driving vacation this summer with the intent of visiting as many of America’s wonderful national parks as we can — both to enjoy them and to add some money …

Umbra on letter-writing campaigns

Dear Umbra, I just switched to all-natural cleaning products (Seventh Generation, it’s great!) and I wanted my switch to have the most impact possible. I was thinking about sending emails to the companies whose cleaning …

Umbra on winning environmental arguments

Dear Umbra, I’ve recently been debating my cousin about the merits of environmentalism, and he consistently attacks my positions by claiming that the studies that make the case that the environment is in trouble are …

Umbra on channeling gray water to the garden

Dear Umbra, As part of my water-conservation strategy, I’d like to reuse the rinse water from my laundry machine to water the native plants, many of them edible, in my yard. I’ve heard concerns about …

Umbra on mulch

Dear Umbra, Spring is upon us and the season for spreading shredded bits of trees around our landscaping is here. How does Umbra feel about the utility of mulching, and what is the environmental impact …

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