Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

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 plastic and kids

Hi Umbra, What about “sippy” cups for little kids, not to mention bottles? They’re all plastic, and we all know that kids are more vulnerable to environmental toxins. What’s a mom to do? Janet Byron Berkeley, Calif. Dearest Janet, A …


Umbra on greening your wedding

Dear Umbra, How about some practical thoughts on “green” weddings? My daughter is planning an outdoor July wedding in Wisconsin — any tips? The reception is going to be outdoors at our home. Tomm G. Waukesha, Wis. Hi Tomm, This …


Umbra on greening your sex life

Q. Hey Umbra! So I’m finally starting up a relationship with a guy as eco-friendly as I am (I’d say eco-freaky, but since I’m writing about sex, I thought it would be overload). However, since neither of us is into …

Umbra on peeing in the shower

Dear Umbra, Is it suitable to justify peeing (urinating) while showering in order to save a toilet flush? Any health issues to your feet or shower algae growth? Luke WhistlerBrisbane, Australia Dearest Luke, If I told you that my editor …


Umbra on organic liquors

Hi Umbra, After an epic weekend of drinking, I realized I’ve never seen or heard about any organic liquors. I’ve seen organic beer and wine, but never any organic gin, vodka, scotch, etc. Any chance I can drink in the …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on oil and plastic

Dear Umbra, How much oil is used to make a pound (or some other comparable measure) of typical plastics? Melody Evans Paris, Ill. Dearest Melody, Ah, Paris. Is it as lovely in the springtime as they say? Yes, Ben, plastics …


Umbra on chlorine

Dear Umbra, So I’ve been buying unbleached diapers for my baby, using chlorine-free laundry and dish soaps and non-chlorine bleached paper, and generally thinking that’s better for me and the environment. Then I go swimming in a chlorinated pool twice …


Umbra on landfills vs. incinerators

Hi Umbra, Is there an environmentally preferable choice between sending your trash to a landfill or an incinerator? I know to think of the three R’s first, but what’s the better way to dispose of the remainder? Incinerators convert waste …


Umbra on disposing of toxic chemicals

Dear Umbra, Now that I’ve caught the environmental bug, I don’t know what to do with the toxic cleaning products (e.g., Ajax) that I have on hand. As a bulk buyer, I’ve got 5 to 6 bottles in my garage. …