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.’

Ed Yong, author of ‘I Contain Multitudes’

There are billions of microbes both in and on our bodies. These invisible organisms form complex ecosystems, which are passed on to us as infants through breast milk, help digest food in our guts, and may even be correlated with a growing list of health conditions like obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autism. It’s no exaggeration to say that human life would not be possible without the microbiome. Science writer Ed Yong has been reporting on the microbiome for over a decade, and has just published his first book, ‘I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.’ In this conversation with producer Mike Osborne, he reveals the evolutionary roots of the microbiome, what we know – and don’t know – about microbiomes across the human population, and how we as humans both create an imprint and are imprinted upon by the microbes in the environment all around us.

Paleoclimatologist Page Chamberlain

We tend to think of the world in terms of our relationship with it: as individuals, communities, civilizations. It’s harder to think about the earth before a textual record, before human history. This week, we dive into deep time with paleoclimatologist Page Chamberlain. What did the Western United States look like in the Cenozoic Era? How do the Rocky Mountains affect Europe’s climate? How can the climate 3 million years ago tell us about the climate today? In this conversation, Page and producer Mike Osborne banter about these and other questions surrounding Earth systems of the past.

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

The Survivor

The solenodon: a venomous, shrew-like mammal, found only in the Caribbean, that has survived for millions of years by hiding underground. Even the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago couldn’t kill this hardy little creature. But after surviving for so long, after outliving the freakin’ DINOSAURS, the solenodon is now threatened by human encroachment into their habitat. Guest producer Laura Cussen brings us this story, originally published in 2014 with support from the Stanford Storytelling Project and a Braden Storytelling Grant.

Producer: Laura Cussen
Featuring: César Abril, Nicolás Corona, Pedro Martínez, and Alexis Mychajliw
Special thanks: The Last Survivors, Natacha Ruck, Will Rogers, Graham Roth, Weston Gaylord, Professor Elizabeth Hadly, to all the people who have made this project possible, and to the Hispaniolan solenodon.
Music: Sunsearcher, Chris Zabriskie, Nicolás Corona
Image via flickr