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Climate Ask Umbra


Dear Umbra,

You’ve been doing this climate advice column for a while. Don’t you ever run out of hope?

— Cue Umbra’s Revelation: Is Optimism Unexpectedly Stressful?


Well, I won’t bury the lede: This is my last weekly Ask Umbra column, and I’d like to close out with a bit of a retrospective. This Grist institution has been around since 2002, and it’s been authored by a number of different writers and gone through all kinds of transformations in the process. I feel enormously privileged to be a part of that legacy, and now to help the old girl through her next evolutionary leap. Because Umbra is not retiring; she’s stepping back to figure out her next form.

I took over the Ask Umbra column in January 2017, right after the inauguration of Donald Trump, marking the start of the most blatantly climate-unfriendly administration in recent memory. The idea was that Umbra was supposed to be moving away from the household- and lifestyle-level environmental advice that she’d excelled at dispensing for the 15 years prior, because that focus seemed so … small in the face ... Read more

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