Our Fashion Footprint

A trendy outfit has never been cheaper than it is today. Not only that, the fashion industry is churning out new styles so quickly that the entire phenomenon has been dubbed fast fashion. The industry includes retailers like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and even Target and Walmart. Of course, it’s only natural that we love finding the latest styles at affordable prices. But our clothes have abundant hidden costs for both the environment and people. This week, producer Leslie Chang takes a closer look at the footprint left behind by the fast-moving fashion industry. We hear from journalist Elizabeth Cline, author of ‘Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,’ as well as UMass Dartmouth Asst. Prof. Nick Anguelov, author of ‘The Dirty Side of the Garment Industry: Fast Fashion and Its Negative Impact on Environment and Society.’

Food Nudges (Fudges?)

We all need food to stay alive, but when we’re filling up our grocery carts, it’s not like survival is the primary motivator. If you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you live somewhere with food options galore. And if you’re environmentally inclined, you probably take a little more time in deciding what to put in your mouth. Is it healthy? Is it organic? Is it tasty?! So much to think about everytime we eat! Today we have two stories that dive a little deeper into our decision-making process around food. First, we talk to professor Phil Howard, who has investigated the rise of the organic food industry and what it truly means to buy organic products. Then we meet Dr. Tom Robinson, who is at the forefront of understanding the cultural and sociological factors underlying the obesity epidemic in America.

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

Will Allen, Urban Farmer

As cities around the world absorb more and more people, many urbanites want to reconnect with local food. This has led to the rise and spread of urban agriculture, and at the center of this movement is Will Allen, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Growing Power. In today’s episode, Allen shares his life story, and discusses his passion for urban agriculture and food security, as well as how urban farming can strengthen community ties. We also have a short bonus segment this week, brought to us by Reade Levinson. She recently traveled to Alaska to research salmon fishing, which is under threat from the side effects of the Canadian mining industry.

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

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Peak Phosphorous

Five things you may not know about phosphorus (but probably should): 1) It’s an essential element to all life on Earth – so it’s a critical ingredient for industrial fertilizers. 2) The vast majority of our phosphorus supply comes from phosphate rock, mined from geologic deposits. 3) Those geologic deposits are concentrated in just 5 countries, and Morocco alone controls 75% of known reserves. 4) The rate at which we’re consuming phosphorus is flat out unsustainable, to say the least. Experts warn that at current rates we may run out of it this century. 5) If all that weren’t enough, many commercial farms over-apply phosphorus-rich fertilizers, which has catastrophic consequences for freshwater and coastal ecosystems around the world. So, wow, right?! Who knew phosphorus was so important? And given that pretty much no one is talking about the issue of peak phosphorus, what are we going to do? Will we be able to better manage the world’s phosphorus supply before we run out and cause widespread environmental damage, all while continuing to feed the billions of people on the planet?

Image credit: Alexandra Pugachevsky

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.