Ask Umbra®

The New York Times calls Umbra Fisk "a trailblazer in the field of eco-advice columnists" and "the arch online sage of the new green age." Her latest passion: kale smoothies ... no, sorry, civic engagement, because getting political is the only way we'll get a planet that doesn't burn and a future that doesn't suck. Ask Umbra a question here.

  • Umbra on corporate holiday cards

    Dear Umbra, My company wants to send out holiday cards each year, but I find it wasteful, especially because of the increased transportation load on the post office. What could we do instead? Cindy Truckee, Calif. Dearest Cindy, A stumper. …

  • Umbra on solar holiday lights

    Dear Umbra, As the holiday season approaches, I’m trying to figure out how to spread good cheer in home decorations while being sensitive to the environment. Years ago, my husband and I purchased strings of lights that we wrapped around …

  • Umbra on dishwashing and droughts

    Dear Umbra, I am trying to be so much more green than I used to be, so your column has helped me with the nagging questions. Now I wonder about living in a drought-stricken state with water restrictions and bulging …

  • Umbra on Halloween

    Dear Umbra, We really enjoy the community aspect of trick-or-treating but we don’t want to give out candy to the little ones, or toxic plastic Chinese toys. Two hundred kids come to our house every Halloween. How do we keep …

  • Umbra on planes and cars

    Hi Umbra, Which is less harmful to the environment when traveling long distances, flying or driving? A jet puts out a lot of exhaust, but since it carries a lot of people, maybe it’s less than having everyone drive themselves? …

  • Umbra on carbon offsets

    Dear Umbra, I’ve been reading the whole back-and-forth about carbon offsets, and it seems strange to me that most (all?) of the ones I’ve seen fund projects that, while worthwhile, may or may not result in the promised emissions reduction. …

  • Umbra on tossing food waste

    Dear Umbra, I am a college student. I eat a lot on the go. Not fast food or boxed meals, but when I leave my dorm I usually grab an apple, banana, or other fruit/veggie to eat as I walk …

  • Umbra on live trapping

    Dear Umbra, My wife and I live in a small town in Massachusetts, where I recently volunteered to head up an effort to certify our Unitarian Universalist congregation as a Green Sanctuary, an official recognition of our environmental stewardship. In …

  • Umbra on household help and homemade cleansers

    Dear Umbra, I recently moved in with my investment-banker boyfriend. So far, my efforts to teach him to have more fun with less stuff have been largely successful; however, I’ve hit a roadblock when it comes to his cleaning lady. …