Articles

Think

No butts about it: Your cigarettes kill everything

Dear Umbra, I’m a full-time environmental activist living on an anti-aviation protest camp. When I first came here, I was shocked by the number of environmentalists who smoke tobac …

READ MORE

Home

Ask Umbra: Is your front-loading washer smelly or moldy? Here’s how to fix that.

Q. Dear Umbra, I have had issues with odor from my front-loading washing machine, even though I almost always take the clothing out soon after washing and leave the door open. I ha …

READ MORE

DIY, Live, Nature

Ask Umbra: Is synthetic yarn for the birds?

Q. Dear Umbra, I’ve been saving my yarn scraps all year to put out for the birds while they’re building their nests, but I’m wondering about synthetics, like acrylic. Most of my kn …

READ MORE

Home

Ask Umbra: Here’s something that could make recycling a lot easier

Q. Dear Umbra, I cannot find the be-all, end-all guidance as to what kinds of plastic bags and plastic films can be recycled. Merchant bags for sure, but what about all that other …

READ MORE

Home

Ask Umbra: Is it terrible to crack open a window during winter nights?

Q. Dear Umbra, I have a window in the bedroom that I like to keep open about an inch, year-round, at night only. This window is across the room, down the hall, past a stairwell, an …

READ MORE

Beverages, Environmental Politics

Ask Umbra: What’s the Greenest Kind of Drink Container?

Q.Dear Umbra, My peers and I are working to better our campus. We’re looking into the most sustainable option for drinks on campus. What’s better for our school to buy and sell: gl …

READ MORE

Ask Umbra: What’s the Most Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Cycle

Q. Dear Umbra, With regards to dishwasher cycle times vs. power and water usage, is it better to run the normal cycle (1:43 to 2 hours) that uses less water but more power, or the …

READ MORE

Ask Umbra: Your Guide to Buying Non-Toxic, Kid-Friendly Toys

When we think about problematic playthings, plastic is usually on the top of the list. It carries the lion’s share of chemical concerns, and besides, it’s made from petroleum and c …

READ MORE

Ask Umbra: What’s a Greener Way to Heat My Home?

Q. Dear Umbra, I want to replace my aging gas furnace with a heat pump. But the heat pump is much more expensive than a high-efficiency gas furnace, and I’m only gonna spend the mo …

READ MORE

Ask Umbra: What’s the Greenest Kind of Christmas Tree?

Q. Dear Umbra, I’m visiting my sister out West soon, and she suggested we go cut down a Christmas tree in the woods. This sounds like a terrible idea to me. Isn’t cutting down a pe …

READ MORE

Ask Umbra: Are Coconut Products Bad for the Environment?

Q. Dear Umbra, My wife and I have started using coconut oil a lot. I know demand for palm oil is proving horrible for the tropical forests of the world, and was wondering if the sa …

READ MORE

What type of plane is least bad for the planet?

Q. Dear Umbra, Does it matter if I fly a turboprop, jet, or Boeing 787 over the ocean? Will Seattle, WA This story originally appeared on Grist. A. Dearest Will, Oh — it matters, v …

READ MORE

Food & Health, Garden, Live

Ask Umbra: What should you do with your food scraps?

Q. Dear Umbra, When disposing of food waste, what’s better: putting it down the garbage disposal, or disposing of it in the solid waste stream? I know my water treatment plant inci …

READ MORE

Food & Health, Garden

Ask Umbra: Hot tips for getting your compost pile cooking

Q. Dear Umbra, I’m tired of my compost not cooking. Can I just bury it around my plants and pull the stray volunteer seedling that emerges? Kristina Cleveland, Ohio This story orig …

READ MORE

Dining Out, Eat, Food & Health

Ask Umbra: What’s the best way to deal with restaurant leftovers?

Q. Dear Umbra, Sometimes I ask for a to-go box when I’m eating out, but I’m always panged with environmental guilt when the server brings back a Styrofoam clamshell. But I hate was …

READ MORE

 
 
X