History Ph.D. candidate Bryant Macfarlane joins Spencer Hess and Laurie Johnson for a discussion of the conditions that made for the 1930’s Dustbowl and continue to operate today to deplete soil fertility and instigate climate change. Hannah Holleman’s book, Dustbowls of Empire is the subject of the first part of our conversation. Macfarlane later explains how Latin Common Law was practiced in the American Southwest prior to the Mexican-American War, and how practices that treated water as communal good rather than private property were eliminated by the advent of the English view of property. That began the era of accelerated metabolic rifts that led to the Dustbowl and our current dilemmas, such as ocean dead zones due to fertilizer runoff.
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