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Dust Bowls of EmpireImperialism, Environmental Politics, and the Injustice of "Green" Capitalism$
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Hannah Holleman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300230208

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300230208.001.0001

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Ecological Rifts and Shifts: The Accumulation of Catastrophe

Ecological Rifts and Shifts: The Accumulation of Catastrophe

Chapter:
(p.96) Five Ecological Rifts and Shifts: The Accumulation of Catastrophe
Source:
Dust Bowls of Empire
Author(s):

Hannah Holleman

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300230208.003.0006

This chapter argues that the Dust Bowl is a perfect example of the accumulation of catastrophe, the result of decision makers shifting ecological problems down the line and denying the nature of the changes required to develop sustainable farming on the plains. As a result, the plains and the people living there in the 1930s suffered what Russell Lord, who worked for the Soil Conservation Service, called “the most spectacular mass sacrifice to strictly commercial mores in the history of mankind.” Over the decades, cultivated soils have become more exhausted and eroded. Agricultural science often has been applied to mask the effects of this degradation rather than to restore natural soil fertility. Moreover, the increased use of insecticides and herbicides in lieu of more ecological approaches to controlling weeds and insects, and synthetic fertilizers to replace lost soil nutrients, has led to further problems.

Keywords:   Dust Bowl, ecological problems, sustainable farming, soil erosion, agricultural science, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides

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