Ashes Ashes is a show about the end of the world. These are tales of systems out of control, environmental collapse and ultimately a broken world. Through deep research, knowledgeable guests and historical anecdotes, Ashes Ashes brings light to failures that are often ignored or hidden just out of sight. With each story we hope to inspire action toward fixing these problems — while we still have time to. Every episode is lovingly researched and crafted because we care, we're optimists, and we believe in a better world.
We are online at: https://ashesashes.org, Twitter: @ashesashescast, Facebook: @ashesashescast, Reddit: /r/ashesashescast, and Instagram: @ashesashescast
We can also be contacted directly via
contact AT ashesashes.org.
Episodes release every Thursday 8:01AM UTC (3:01AM EST, 12:01AM PST).
The show is available directly on this website (with minimal, privacy respecting tracking) including full transcripts, sources, and other information. It is also available on most podcast platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and more under "Ashes Ashes."
In addition, Ashes Ashes is carried on some radio stations across the United States (WCDB being the first). If you are interested in carrying the show, feel free to contact us. There is no license fee (and we can grant more open licenses if necessary) and lossless masters are available at masters.ashesashes.org.
Cast & Crew
Daniel Forkner studied finance and piano performance. He has sold commercial property and backpacked abroad. Now, he spends his time reading and thinking.
David Torcivia went to film school and now works as a colorist in New York City for all sorts of pointless ads, music videos, and tv/film content. He spends his free time (when he's not taking photographs, caving, or working on direct action) reading, researching, and writing about the collapse of society's structural systems.
Notes and Reviews
"I just wanted to reach out and say thanks for all the hard work you put in to each of your episodes. While I haven't listened to every episode, I've enjoyed all the ones I have listened to. I appreciate the way you present the information and tell the stories of these systemic issues. Thank you. I have been fortunate enough to find employment in a field which is attempting to address these issues (energy efficiency/sustainability in the built environment), and I try my best to live as sustainably as I can. However, over time I have become all too aware of how significant these global problems are, and how little the powers that be are doing to address it. Your podcast has, in part, inspired me to pursue additional action in my own life. I have joined a Soil and Water Stewardship program ... to learn more about local solutions, such as organic gardening/farming, food justice, composting, rainwater catchment/treatment, and so on. I guess I just wanted to share to remind you that you're efforts can make a difference and to encourage you to continue." -Charles
"I just wanted to send y'all an e-mail to say how much I love your show, Ashes Ashes. I listened to it a lot this summer while I was doing field work for my graduate assistantship. A lot of the content you discussed was super relevant to what I do for a living/my graduate research. I am working on a project that is aimed at studying which genetic lines of sunflowers are the most resistant to abiotic stresses (drought, nutrient deficiency, salinity, etc.) The arm of the project I work on is focused on drought and is ultimately trying to solve some of the issues of climate change involving agriculture, food shortages, water availability, habitat degradation, and recurrent/severe drought. ... I also work for the Forest Service in botanical research and also am a wildland firefighter. There was a fire really close to our town last summer, and it was terrifying. Considering the way the climate is trending toward hotter, drier summers and wetter (as opposed to snowier) winters, shit is especially real out here on the west coast. ... Your show really hits me hard. I have always been pretty anti-anthropocentricism, but Ashes Ashes really brings up well-researched, well-thought out facts and ideas about how fucked up humans really are at the heart of it all. The episodes about logistics, modern slavery, and the fashion industry really opened my eyes. I had been aware of those things before, but had never been so thoroughly educated on them until I heard y'alls podcast. Now anytime I see a truck carrying a shipping container on the highway, I think of you guys, haha. ... I just wanted to say that I love your show so much, please never stop. Every time I listen to it, I feel more hopeless but at the same time more inspired to continue fighting the good fight. Y'all do such a great job!! Thanks so much for your hard work!" - Lauren
"Your most recent episode [Bill of Health] really rings true with me as I am a registered nurse by trade and am acutely aware of how fucked up the health care system is. I used to work with a neuro surgeon who would have you drape this gigantic operative microscope, which is an enormous pain the ass, for him to roll it over the patient, look through it for literally 1 second and go "ok, I'm done". That way, he could charge more for "increased complexity." - Bryan
"I'm currently a PhD student in Power and Energy Systems and I have to say I'm impressed with the [Lights Out] episode. You touched on a lot of things which have come up in my coursework and research, like how something as simple as tree trimming is so important in preventing cascading failures, but is the first to be neglected in budgets. The narrative you put together around Metcalf and Ukraine were really engaging and hopefully enlightened people to how essential yet fragile the system can be and how little thought was given to protecting it from a coordinated attack before that. Most importantly, the optimism at the end of the show was spot on. We talk about making the grid more localized, but topics like improving reliability with micro-grid and smart-grid tech often lack the "community" aspects of it in my world. Stereotypical, maybe, of engineers to miss the link between connecting your power to your neighbors' power and connecting with your neighbor on a human level." - David
"this episode has motivated me to reduce my meat consumption even further. I didn't realize how much fish meal was being fed to chickens and pigs." - hat-tippe
"Have to be honest I was not sure I would find this episode - (All Rights Reserved) - as fascinating as your others but it was really good... I love the connections you made with the "walls" episode as well, plus the inspiration of the armature researchers is a real shot in the arm for me, am starting to write again after a long period of depression and "whatsthepointism." I have been very much inspired by you guys... And was particularly touched by your assertion that those of us who create do not necessarily do it for money that's really stuck with me... Thanks for the inspiration and hope you can keep on producing..." - Halcyon1984
"Just finished “Barrier To Growth”. This really struck a cord with me. I’m a beginning rancher, the so called 5% of the 1% (farmers under 30). I’ve been really struggling lately and it was refreshing to hear my exact concerns displayed in a public fashion. I worked my butt off for years to move to a farm and work with the land. Now that I’m here, I’m at a crossroad. I will go bankrupt trying to raise animals sustainably. I will be morally bankrupt if I buy into the “big ag” mentality, using and abusing the land and the animals. Your show cemented my resolve to make sustainable farming actually work. I loved the show guys. Keep up the good work." - topstoplowgo
"This is the real dark shit that you turn to when it's night time and you're home, alone, and need something hard to kind of send you reeling into a frisson before you try and sleep in a cramped bedroom that's either too hot or too cold so you can't reach your optimal sleep cycle." - Aethe
"The research and time put into this podcast is unmatched by anyone else." - Jake Fryland
"Also, just wanted to mention how glad I am to have found your podcast. It's been enlightening (and disheartening at times, but that's why you're leaving us with a "What You Can Do" segment!). Though you can give a lot of facts, you lay it out in a way that even if I missed a statistic mentioned, I still walk away knowing how the system worked (or, in this case, how it failed). Thanks for all the work you put into the show!" - Adam
"I love the show, especially Irresistable. As a veterinarian, it warmed my heart that you recognize the expertise that vets have in the intersection of public health, food production, and zoonotic transmission. It especially stuck out, because another podcast that I usually love ... run by an M.D., touched briefly on antibiotic resistance due to factory farming, and he downplayed the entire problem. The difference between the two podcasts was striking, and made me trust your research on the other episodes that much more." - Karin
"I think it's pretty insane how they can upload podcast with such quality research and get guest speakers onto the show on a weekly basis. Props to Forkner and Torcivia for feeding for existential dread and giving me more reason to advocate for meaningful change." - bannaja
"Just wanted to tell you personally how damn impressed I am with your podcast. I am right on the ledge of deleting my FB and other social media. Never really liked it much; and always knew the privacy breaches were ongoing. Excellent work!!" - message in response to Episode 15 - Terms of Service
"I’ve been meaning to fire off a congratulatory correspondence for some time now, commending your efforts at dealing with the multitude of converging crises breathing down our necks. ... It is doubtless that you both put a lot of time, effort and dedication into your project. ... I could not help but think that for the resources you have available to you, you are doing a much better job than outfits with far more capital and staff." - email from a listener in Canada
"Focusing on systemic issues of our times, [Forkner & Torcivia] put an impressive amount of research into each and every episode, steering a well needed spotlight on topics that affect each and every one of us on a daily basis. While every single episode alone is profound, the mosaic that comes to life after listening to them back to back is stunningly addictive and inspirational. Add to that transcripts of each installment and links for intensified research into the specific topics, it's safe to say that these guys come out guns blazing and are very serious about their work. Ashes Ashes easily is my favorite podcast right now, haven't been that excited since Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History and Peter Agoston's The House List series." - lhrl
"A very interesting and thought-provoking podcast. Excellent delivery and excellent ability to engage the listener on the topic being presented. The material is not pleasant, but we must be realistic and confront these social/political/environmental issues with a real sense of urgency. This podcast can be part of the push to make that happen." - Bryan Coyle
"Thank you for this podcast, it has slowly become my favorite. Your stances on privacy are top notch and the transparency on your website is a huge plus. I believe the latest episode was the best one yet, it really opened up my mind to second-guess a lot of habits as well as ways of thinking." - email from an anonymous listener
"Hey did you know the world could end tomorrow in like seven different ways? Well this podcast will explain it to you. While not the cheeriest topic, it is fantastically researched, very well produced and even has some laughs along the way. Check it out." - TVsNoah, Best of Last Week