Q: I’m a seriously indulgent coffee drinker. Lately, there have been a ton of “green” coffee shops popping up. I like to support local shops, and I want to believe that they sell shade-grown, fair-trade, organic java, but I’ve wondered if they’re being honest. How do I know if they’re legit?
Claudia Gutierrez, San Diego
Find out what Umbra has to say about "green" coffee.
Editor’s note: Our sister publication, Mother Earth News
, offers triple-certified coffees and teas. Order online or call (800) 888-9098.
Q: You know how when you turn on the hot water in an old building it usually takes awhile for it to kick in? Well, my question is if I turn on the tap full blast, will the hot water come sooner? Is it the amount of water you let run or the amount of time you leave the tap running? I’ve talked to my landlord, but in the meantime, can I save water by letting it run slowly?
(No) hot (water) and bothered, Seattle
Find out what Umbra has to say about waiting for warm water.
Umbra Fisk dispenses advice on all things green for Grist Magazine, an online publication tackling environmental topics with irreverence, intelligence and a fresh perspective. To submit a question, e-mail