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 whether to eco-retrofit an old car

My husband is an environmentalist. He wants one of the new alternative-fuel cars, but I have a dream to surprise him for his birthday with a 1970 muscle car (a Malibu or something like that) …

Umbra on the climate-change literacy of Umbra readers

Dearest Readers, Happy Earth Day. I have mixed feelings as I look forward to the planet’s special holiday tomorrow. Happiness on the occasion of anniversaries: Grist (six years), me at Grist (three years), Earth Day …

Umbra on nuclear energy

Dear Umbra, What are your thoughts on the reconsidering of nuclear power as a viable solution for helping with energy shortages and improving environmental conditions? I was shocked to hear a “scientist” say (in a …

Umbra on getting up to speed on enviro issues

Dear Umbra, I am new to the environmental movement, and I was wondering how you keep track of the major issues within it, because there are so many! Also, do you have any books to …

Umbra on conserving water

Dear Umbra, Twenty years ago, I lived off the grid and learned how to conserve water. That lesson stayed with me, and it’s agonizing for me to witness the cavalier, wasteful treatment of precious freshwater. …

Umbra on talking about environmentalism without being preachy

Dear Umbra, Since you’re the closest thing to Miss Manners that the environmental community has, I’d like to ask for your etiquette advice. I was recently on vacation with some friends and friends of friends …

Umbra on having kids, revisited

Dear Umbra, What do you feel is the one issue of personal responsibility regarding the environment that people ignore the most? VaughnJackson, Tenn. Dearest Vaughn, Reproduction. But what can you do? As I said the …

Umbra on converting your car to straight veggie oil

Dear Umbra, A few years ago, I bought a Prius because it was (and still is, unfortunately) the best car that’s offered in our messed-up world. I’m now going to buy an old diesel Mercedes …

Umbra on hybrids vs. veggie-oil cars

Dear Umbra, I currently drive a 2002 Toyota Prius that gets about 40 to 42 miles per gallon on the highway, which is where most of my driving takes place. However, I’ve recently become enamored …

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