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? Start here: Apocalypse Now

We also 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 86 - Sprawl Above All

What began as a harmless attempt by the wealthy to escape the poor peasants they were forced to rub shoulders with in the cities turned into the greatest infrastructural nightmare ever to be unleashed upon this world: the American suburb. Countless people and generations of their progeny who got swe...


Episode 81 - This Is Not a Place of Honor

It has threatened to start wars and it has (arguably) finished them; its effects and influences can be found throughout our world today; it has nearly limitless power for creation and destruction; and according to some people it may be our only hope. This week (and the last one too) we are digging d...


Episode 80 - The Nuclear Option

It has threatened to start wars and it has (arguably) finished them; its effects and influences can be found throughout our world today; it has nearly limitless power for creation and destruction; and according to some people it may be our only hope. This week (and the next one too) we are digging d...


Episode 13 - Lights Out

What do airports, water treatment facilities, gas stations, and espresso machines all have in common? A dependence on a reliable and stable network of power generation and distribution. In America, and around the world, our electrical grids are aged, stressed, and increasingly at risk of attack. Wor...


Episode 12 - Up in Smoke

In forests, grasslands, and landscapes around the world, poor wildland management and climate change have combined to produce some of the most explosive fires ever seen. This trend is getting worse, and as we continue to push development into these areas, the need to extinguish fires that threaten h...


Episode 05 - End of the Road

The vital systems we rely on (roads, bridges, buildings, pipes, and much much more) are crumbling and in desperate need of repairs. Worse, many of these systems are coming up on the end of their life and will require trillions of dollars to fix - just to maintain the economic status quo. Funding is...


Episode 04 - Net Neutrality

The FCC will vote on December 14, 2017 on whether to reverse common carrier status for broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. This action will have profound effects on the internet and the way it functions. Join us in this episode as we explore exactly what this means for censorship and...


Episode 02 - Concrete Reef

Sea level rise is happening faster than anyone expected and recent studies show it's only going to get worse - and far worse than anyone imagine. Cities are already struggling to deal with this catastrophe and people are finding themselves having to confront a tough choice: move or prepare for an ex...