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 eco-friendly paint

Dear Umbra, I just bought a home that needs lots of TLC, and would like to do it in a way that is best for the environment and my health. Do you have any advice …

Umbra on cell phones vs. land lines

Dear Umbra, In this day and age, when many people seem to be getting rid of their “land lines” in favor of cell phones, I find myself wondering how these two options stack up against …

Umbra on video games

Dear Umbra, After reading some heart-rending, gut-wrenching articles on global warming, I’ve decided that I want to do something about it. I’ve started by vowing never to buy a car, or get a driver’s license. …

Umbra on fireplaces

Dear Umbra, We pile on socks and sweaters, but there are just times you need more warmth. Should we use the fireplace or our central (gas-powered) heater? Also, can you let us know which is …

Umbra on choosing a laptop

Dear Umbra, I am buying a new laptop, and I was wondering if all computers are the same energy-wise, or if some brands are better for the environment? Aviva HorrowPhiladelphia, Pa. Dearest Aviva, You’re already …

Umbra on amusing questions

Dear Umbra, When I was a kid we were allowed to lick our plates at the dinner table, except when guests were present. We were told that starving children in other countries would never leave …

Umbra on recycling condoms

For the sake of argument, how does one recycle condoms? Unused they are plastic of some sort? I know it’s a bit silly, but don’t you just hate to have to flush them and all …

Umbra on hyped-up verbiage

Dear Umbra, Surely you must have noticed that ubiquitous cliché of environmental reportage: the alarming rate. Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, coral reefs are being destroyed at an alarming rate, global warming is …

Umbra on replacing appliances

Dear Umbra, I’ve done the research, and I’m ready to buy my first front-loading washing machine. And then a pesky friend starts asking the tough questions. “Does your existing machine work?” Yes. “Are you going …