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 82 - Cash Out

South Korea is elminating coins and requiring shoppers to upload their cash receipts to a digital database; Indians are still reeling from a 2016 decision that turned 86% of the country's cash worthless in a matter of hours; migrants and refugees are being targeted for new schemes of financial inclu...


Episode 76 - Self-made

For once we thought it would be nice to look at a culture of building things up, rather than the slow collapse of everything around us that we normally discuss. We find this culture in a huge variety of different fields from repair in the home to hacking and building in farming fields to careful exp...


Episode 68 - Mask Off

Half of all US Citizens have their faces in a database that can be searched by facial-tracking software, and the slow creep of surveillance technology means more of us are being watched and analyzed by AI face-detection cameras, often without us knowing, and almost always without our consent. So wha...


Episode 67 - Collapse Chat: So Long and Thanks for All the Surveillance

This week we're trying a new format for periodic updates. Daniel, David, and Moriah King all sit down together to discuss a handful of important articles and texts they selected covering everything from dolphins to tragedies. We go over the key points of each piece and spend a little time discussing...


Episode 57 - Do No Harm

By now we are used to the idea that every action we take in the world is tracked, but what happens when that all-pervasive panopticon is turned inside each and every one of us? An explosion of personal medical technology, health programs, and terrible data practices have meant that the very records...


Episode 51 - Eyes on Me

Surveillance technology continues to creep into our lives, whether it’s facial tracking in NY kiosks, invasive monitoring in Venezuela, China’s expanding social credit system, or entire cities being designed from the ground up in Egypt to better capture the intimate lives of its residents. These ini...


Episode 48 - Black Ballot Box

Of all Western Democracies, the US is ranked last in terms of free and fair elections (52nd worldwide). On top of the political reasons for that, our election systems (voting machines; registration lists; centralized election management systems; reporting sites) are all vulnerable and easy to hack....


Episode 32 - For Better or For Worse #2

This week we explore updates to many of the subjects we've tackled so far. Guest host Moriah King joins us as we discuss our biggest fears, as well as updates in government surveillance, water insecurity, automation, financial crises, and so much more. Strap in: it's a few months of bad news all at...


Episode 17 - For Better or For Worse #1

One of our hosts is out of town, so we take this week to explore updates to many of the subjects we've discussed so far. Guest host Moriah King helps us explore everything from the power grid to pensions, state surveillance to sea level rise, and so much more. Strap in this week: it's a few months o...


Episode 15 - Terms of Service

Facebook has entered nearly every part of our internet connected lives. Most of us aren't happy with this, but tolerate it as a part of modern day living. But as we dig deeper into this social media and advertising juggernaut, we start to learn that maybe we shouldn't trust Zuckerberg and crew with...


Episode 09 - Nothing Left to Hide

The relationship between government intelligence, the military-industrial complex, and big business goes deep. In technology hubs around the world, complex surveillance products are developed and sold to governments that deploy the tech on journalists, lawyers, academics, and their own citizens. How...


Episode 03 - Permanent Record

Every minute of your day you're tracked by a host of companies using a plethora of tools and techniques. In this episode, we dig into how this technology has infiltrated the real world, follows you into the digital domain, and shapes the world around you. Join us as we delve into the shadowy reality...