Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

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


Umbra on greener golfing

Dear Umbra, I am getting an early start on my Christmas shopping this year, and always try to find sustainable gifts whenever possible. My father is an avid golfer. I have been pleased to see that the golf community’s efforts …

Umbra on toxic schools

Dear Umbra, My four-year-old daughter is attending a brand-new preschool program in a brand-new building this fall. Nothing was missed in setting up the school for the best possible education for young minds. Unfortunately, it’s filled with all those toxic …

Umbra on fire-fighting chemicals

Dear Umbra, Nearly every day, I can hear slurry bombers (planes that dump bright pink goo at the edges of fires) zooming overhead. I think the bright pink goo is a flame retardant, which seems to recently have gotten a …


Umbra on electric cars

Dearest Umbra, Why are electric cars considered so great? They don’t pollute the air where they are driven. But certainly when they are plugged in they use energy from a power plant, which does pollute and also contributes to global …


Umbra on washing your car

Dear Umbra, What can I do about washing my car in a more eco-friendly way? Is phosphate-free soap enough, or should I just suck it up and go to the drive-through car wash every time? Katie North Carolina Dearest Katie, …


Umbra on dropping out of society

Dear Umbra, Although I have always been one to conserve, recycle, etc., it is only in the last year that I have realized the extent of the catastrophe coming upon us in terms of climate change. I am 40-something, live …


Umbra on carpooling to a reunion

Dear Umbra, You have told us, in no uncertain terms, that traveling by train is better ecologically than traveling by car. Several members of my family plan to carpool to an upcoming family reunion 600 miles away. I have considered …


Umbra on eco-friendly tents

Hi Umbra, When I posted this question locally, I started a brouhaha about owning a car. Hopefully you can answer more succinctly — any suggestions for a tent made out of reasonably friendly materials? Alex BernardinSan Francisco, Calif. Dearest Alex, …

Umbra on running and pollutants

Dear Umbra, I am a runner, and in the summertime it is difficult for me to run during the day because of the heat. Unfortunately, it’s a no-no for me to run in green spaces late at night because they …