Ashes Ashes is a show about systemic issues, cracks in civilization, collapse of the environment, and if we’re unlucky the end of the world. The name is borrowed from the nursery rhyme “Ring a Ring o’ Roses,” a song that children sing while spinning in a circle before collapsing on the floor in heaps of laughter. Some claim that the lyrics were written in response to England’s Great Plague and Black Death, and the line Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down is interpreted as death and the cremation of bodies. Although apocryphal, this interpretation is fitting for our times. While human civilization owes its existence to the unimaginable wealth that nature freely provides, our current growth trajectory is increasingly being fueled by the direct erosion of biodiversity, ecosystem services, cultural heritage, and more, effectively cannibalizing our future for the sake of short-term “progress.” Our show is dedicated to understanding this process, and illustrating its many forms, which includes everything from environmental destruction and unsustainable economic extraction to social atomization and isolation. Although these themes may appear dark, awareness is what can help open the door to collective action through which the strength of our communities can prevent the great falling down of life as we know it.

Episodes, complete transcripts, sources, links, credits, and more for Ashes Ashes are available here.

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Don't know where to start? We love Ep 44, Ep 34, Ep 31, Ep 28, and Ep 23 (but they're all good). Fan favorite: Ep 63

Are these topics giving you existential dread? Go here: Coping With Collapse


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Episode 52 - Killing Fields

Following the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer, just a handful of companies now control over 70% of the world's supply of pesticides and 60% of patented seeds. Consolidations like this speak to an underlying trend in industrial agriculture, and in this episode we stop to consider the role that pesti...

Episode 26 - Barrier to Growth

There seems to be a perfect storm of factors that threaten to completely reshape who owns farmland here in the US and globally. 400 million acres of farmland in the US alone will change hands in the next 20 years, farmers are retiring and there is a much smaller generation of young farmers to replac...

Episode 16 - What We Reap

Global topsoil is being lost at terrifying rates. So much so that many experts predict less than 60 years left of agricultural yields before the global food system collapses. Add to this questionable chemical inputs, monoculture, and other large-scale industrial practices as well as the dangers clim...