Living

Cut trash with tiny trash cans

We tend to associate the "everything bigger" approach with wastefulness -- oversized cars guzzle gas, McMansions drive up electricity bills, 72-ounce challenge steaks never get fully eaten. So it makes sense to think that downsizing …

Zero-energy lighting for poor communities requires only water and bleach

It can get pretty dark under the corrugated metal roofs of Manila’s slums. Millions of families in the Philippines go without electric light, and those who have it can be at risk of fires from …

Green Home

'Katrina cottages' become permanent housing

"Katrina cottages," alternatives to FEMA trailers used after Hurricane Katrina, find new life around the country as housing and educational facilities.

Sex

Why aren't men demanding decent male birth control?

Contraception has long been the province of women. Isn't it about time for men to get in on the game? These days men have a lot more at stake than they used to.

Living

Trashtivist: Where did the garbage go?

I want to tell you stories about my gross garbage. I really do. But so far, there's just not that much of it.

Could you squeeze into the world's skinniest house?

Why this drought will be way, way worse than the last one

A New York Times article about the current drought in the South compares it to a record-setting dry spell 60 years ago: Climatologists say the great drought of 2011 is starting to look a lot …

Living

Ask Umbra Book Club: How sustainable is minimalism?

Welcome to the first day of discussing Ask Umbra's July book club pick, The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide.

Living

Umbra takes on 25 dares in 25 days

Ask Umbra takes on a new sustainable living dare every day for 25 days.