Tag: Ask Umbra

Are white people bad for the environment?

Dear Umbra, Are white people bad for the environment? Do white people have substantially higher carbon footprints than folks of color? — Just Understanding Systemic Truths In Climate Emergency Dear JUSTICE, If you look at whose lives are most affected by the many harms of climate change, it’s clear that race matters. You can point […]

What is a billionaire’s role in saving the planet?

what is a billionaires role in saving the planet - What is a billionaire’s role in saving the planet?

We find ourselves on the crest of a new wave of very, very rich people earmarking some of their billions for climate mitigation. Jeff Bezos, for example, created a $10 billion fund for climate action last February. Bill Gates, who has already invested around $2 billion in climate change innovation, just released a new book […]

You’re sad, I’m sad, we’re all sad. Is there a way out?

youre sad im sad were all sad is there a way out - You’re sad, I’m sad, we’re all sad. Is there a way out?

Q. Dear Umbra, How can I get others out of a funk if I am deep in one too? –Sorry, Also Down A. Dear SAD, The pressure you are putting on yourself to be a joy-dispensing pandemic Tinkerbell is deeply ingrained in our culture: American social graces are all about projecting a “friendly and upbeat” […]

2021 is already giving me emotional whiplash. How do I deal?

2021 is already giving me emotional whiplash how do i deal - 2021 is already giving me emotional whiplash. How do I deal?

Q. Dear Umbra, Every time I feel hopeful about the state of the world, a terrible news story knocks the wind out of my sails. How do you deal with good news/bad news whiplash? — Out Of Focus A. Dear OOF, The world has long been a contradictory place full of simultaneous hope and dread. […]

Is wrapping paper wasteful, or is it the least of our problems?

is wrapping paper wasteful or is it the least of our problems - Is wrapping paper wasteful, or is it the least of our problems?

Q.Dear Umbra, My family compulsively reuses wrapping paper, to the point that I think we’ve got some from decades ago. What is wrapping paper made from, how scary is it, and most importantly, should everyone become hoarders like my family? — Giving In Family That Expects Reuse A.Dear GIFTER, Present wrapping is sort of the […]

Why do I love the mall when I hate consumerism?

why do i love the mall when i hate consumerism - Why do I love the mall when I hate consumerism?

It’s been a helluva year — so rather than just reflecting on all that went down in 2020, we’re going back a bit further and seeking comfort via nostalgia. But while revisiting “simpler times” may feel like temporary escapes from current disasters like climate change, a pandemic, and attempted coups, they also remind us of […]

How can we hold politicians to their promises on race and climate?

how can we hold politicians to their promises on race and climate - How can we hold politicians to their promises on race and climate?

Note to readers: This week’s question was answered by Grist justice fellow Angely Mercado. Q. Dear Umbra, Politicians made a lot of environmental justice promises in 2020. How do we make sure they keep them? — Biden’s Elected, Radicals Need to Increase Energy A. Dear BERNIE, During this past election cycle, many top politicians promised […]

COVID ruined my travel dreams. What do I do with my life now?

covid ruined my travel dreams what do i do with my life now scaled - COVID ruined my travel dreams. What do I do with my life now?

Q. Dear Umbra, A big part of how I think of myself is as a world traveler. My longtime goal has been to visit every continent on Earth! But due to COVID my U.S. passport is basically worthless. What should I do with myself now? — When All Novelty Disappears, Ennui Remains A. Dear WANDER, […]

How do I get people to care about climate change as much as COVID?

how do i get people to care about climate change as much as covid scaled - How do I get people to care about climate change as much as COVID?

Q. Dear Umbra, Is there a way to re-engage people who used to be active in our online climate group but don’t seem as eager to participate lately? — Regretting Ever Playing Leader, Yikes A. Dear REPLY, 2020 has brought a host of new preoccupations to the average Fretting Hour (which, by my account, occurs anywhere […]

Between coronavirus and climate change, is it time to go off-grid?

Q. Dear Umbra, The coronavirus pandemic has me feeling pretty isolated, though, on the plus side, I’ve taken up more solo activities. That has me thinking: Would it be better for the planet if we all aim to be more self-sufficient and off-the-grid when it comes to how we live our lives? — Seeking Off-grid, […]