Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Yours is to wonder why, hers is to answer (or try). Send your green-living questions to Umbra.

For even more green goodness, you can follow Umbra on Twitter (@AskUmbra) or become a fan on Facebook.

Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.


Umbra on gifts for your school

Hi Umbra, I’m the senior president for my high school class. My cabinet and I want to leave a “green” gift to the school. We would like it to be something that is on campus or easily visible. Can you …


Umbra on bicycle tires

Dear Umbra, Is there such a thing as recycled bicycle tires? I have looked and even asked a friend’s husband who wrenches in a local shop. He was not aware of any. I think because people ride their bike they …

Climate & Energy

Umbra on home heating

Hi Umbra, My fiancée and I bought a house in October. We plan to green the house up as best we can, and one of our first projects will be how we heat the house. Since we didn’t have any …


Umbra on wine corks

Dear Umbra, Not that I am a big-drinking old lady or anything, but I find myself with a lot of wine corks that I can’t find a recycling outlet for. All of my retired farmer friends have made all the …

Umbra on baby gifts

Dear Umbra, I am expecting my first baby, and I am wondering what would be the most polite way to make sure that people who wish to get it a gift understand that I want only organic, used, or sustainable …

Umbra on water conservation

Dear Umbra, Your general drift has been to get us to focus on the big stuff instead of the little paper-or-plastic issues. So what’s the big picture of household water use and overuse? I have a clothes washer and a …


Umbra on aluminum bottles

Umbra, Are aluminum bottles safer than Nalgene bottles? I’m looking at getting Sigg bottles for my self, wife, and son. Vendor agnostic, are the materials used by aluminum-only vendors safer than those that incorporate Lexan? Chris Webber Seattle, Wash. Dearest …


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 …