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 insulation

Dear Umbra, I recently discovered that our attic is not insulated. While I live in the fairly warm climate of San Diego, we’ve been hit by a cold spell the last few weeks and I’ve cranked on the heater. I’d …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on trusting scientists

Hi Umbra, We’ve had some bizarre weather in New England, and more and more people are wondering if it’s due to global warming. On NBC News, they had a 30-year veteran of NOAA state flatly that it’s not global warming, …


Umbra on burning yard waste

Dear Umbra, Your recent column seemed to be discussing mostly the burning of trash. What about yard waste? Each year I pull out tons of non-native and invasive honeysuckle. There is far too much to take to a landfill, and …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on tree planting

Dear Umbra, My wife recently heard a program on NPR where an expert on global warming said that planting trees in the Northern Hemisphere plays a negligible role in fighting global warming, while playing a significant role in the Southern …


Umbra on which wood to burn

Dear Umbra, I live in Maine, land of many loggers. My home is heated by an oil furnace, and I try to keep the temps down with thermostat timers to use as little oil as possible. I supplement my heat …


Umbra on that time of the month, again

Dear Umbra, You mentioned in “Kid Commando” that the “disposable vs. reusable diaper fight is in a stalemate for the foreseeable future.” Is the same true for sanitary napkins? Clara Yuan Ithaca, N.Y. Dearest Clara, I haven’t heard tell of …

Umbra on burning trash

Dear Umbra, We recycle and compost as best we can, but we are still left every week with some trash. Up to this point we’ve dutifully hauled it to the local dump, which then trucks it away to some landfill. …


Umbra on New Year’s resolutions

Dearest Readers, Happy New Year! Welcome to 2007. Who knows what it will hold for us all. I hope you have a few parts of your year planned and have resolved to leave the rest up to chance, fate, and …


Umbra on eco-choices

Dear Umbra, While I usually love your column, I have to take issue with encouraging people to eat sushi. This is the second “green” site I have seen that proposes the solution to overfishing is to eat different fish. Saying …