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Past Umbra

  • Umbra on skiing

    Dear Umbra, With winter fast approaching, I was thinking of learning to ski. I was wondering how skiing ranks among recreational activities in terms of its environmental impact. What are all the effects of clearing ski trails, making snow, and operating ski lifts? Not to mention all the resorts and roads that sprout up to […]

  • Umbra on vegetarianism

    Dear Umbra, I have been a vegetarian for a pretty long time, but my uncle told me that if the human is not supposed to eat meat then why do we have teeth. He left me a little confused. Is the human being naturally vegetarian? LaidaSomerville, Mass. Dearest Laida, Your uncle is unkindly denigrating your […]

  • Umbra on cushion planters

    Dear Umbra, I have been cutting out old cushions, filling them with dirt, and planting them for some years now. I found the first two floating in the river (while canoeing). Since then, I’ve gotten them from the trash; I don’t pay anything for them. I use them to grow everything from herbs to prairie […]

  • Umbra on crows

    Dear Umbra, Is there a national increase in the crow population, or am I just noticing them more as I age? JimLa Jolla, Calif. Dearest Jim, Probably both. I’ll wager that you have become more observant as the years pass, but it’s also the case that, according to various bird counts and surveys, the American […]

  • Umbra on ground-level ozone

    Dear Umbra, Where I live, the air is declared “unhealthful” on many days in the summer due to ground-level ozone pollution. On those days, we have to stay inside until after about 3 p.m. My question is: What causes ground-level ozone to form and what are its reported health effects on adults and children? DeanBakersfield, […]