Dust Bowl Short Paper

Dust Bowl
The Great Plains region of the United States has, throughout history, been subjected to periodic droughts. The hot, dry areas of the Southern Plains, in particular, have experienced periods of below-average rainfall. For hundreds of years, with the natural vegetation growing on the plains, the droughts did very little lasting damage. However, as the settlers began to move west, the land would change forever. In the text, Worster hints at a capitalist cause of the Dust Bowl phenomenon, discusses about the direct government relief and hesitant plainsmen, and mentions an American culture chasing after opulence via land exploitation.
There was a drought, during the 1930s, spanning from Maryland & Virginia to Missouri & Arkansas, which in the words of a Weather Bureau scientist, “the worst in the climatological history of the country” (Worster, 12). This monumental drought was accompanied by an intense heat wave that, according to Worster, “In the summer of 1934, Nebraska reached 118 degrees, Iowa, 115” (Worster, 12). These conditions led to the soil to dry up and crops to wither and die. However, according to Worster, this was only partially to blame for the Dust Bowl. Worster claims that it was mainly man to blame, “For the ‘dirty thirties’…were primarily the work of man, not nature…The storms were mainly a result of stripping the landscape of its natural vegetation to such an extent that there was no defense against the dry winds, no sod to hold the sandy or powdery dirt” (Worster, 13). Worster believes that it was the American culture dictated that, “1. Nature must be seen as capital…2. Man has a right to use this capital for constant self-advancement...3. The social order should permit and encourage this continual increase in personal wealth” (Worster, 6). Through these assertions, Worster is ultimately blaming capitalism and the quest for the Almighty Dollar for the ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl.
In light of this Dust Bowl...