The Dust Bowl: How It Made Us More Environmentally Friendly

In the American Prairies, the Dust Bowl was a time with severe dust storms in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl was not only a natural disaster, as it impacted large regions of the United States, and it’s environment and culture by displacing multiple people. Nonetheless, the full extent of the detrimental effects on the environment from human activities was exposed during this tragedy. The Dust Bowl made people shift their climate and business activities towards being more friendly towards the environment by putting them through life-threatening situations.

Railways were constructed all over the United States in the 1800s. At that time the state promised free land to anyone who spent five years in the prairie. Free land was a good reason to move, while migration was assisted by the railways. They had cultivated millions of acres of land that had been plowed with hard work. Farmers looked at this like a big money earning trick in plowing so much land, but for one moment they ignored that the land lost its primary protection, the grass, in those years. In the 1920s, people had new, quick and effective crop production methods, new equipment and work was much more efficient. The land was abused. The environment was neglected. The drought began and nothing would flourish, instead, it would dry up. The plowed land and the winds caused a major cloud of pitch-black dust that hurts people's lungs and makes living extremely risky and challenging. So the great Drought had begun.

In the 1920s, when there was ample rain, farmers planted and harvested a lot of crops in the Great Plains. They had no idea what damage would be done as they planted crops year after year. Without letting the nutrients and minerals in the soil replenish. That left the soil barren and desolate. The once grass-covered fields were stripped away from cows grazing and sheep grazing. No one knew these factors would contribute to nearly a decade of catastrophic events. Strong winds swept dust across the Great Plains and filled the air with clouds of sand and dirt. Making this disaster a man-made disaster supported by this statement “The dust storms of the 1930s were the worst man-made environmental problem, the United States has ever seen. Whether measured in physical terms or … economic impact.”

Times were tough and settlers found it difficult to produce anything in the area. Some families gave up and left, but most of them stayed and tried to take the best. Everything was plowed away and nothing left to keep the soil. The property was marketed ideal for farming. Because of the dust winds were worse than usual. Several farms have been broken; others have been selling at auctions. The local banks didn’t support the current financial crisis. There was an unprecedented amount of farmers ceasing operations of their farms and selling them. The ones that didn't sell and move away to places like california where they called them “Okies”. “Daddy came in, he sat across from Ma and blew his nose. Mud streamed out. He coughed and spit out med. (Hesse 33)”They survived endless dust that flew into their houses, hit humans and farm animals, and several deaths caused by pneumonia. The coal miners and farmers suffered from it was just as bad as the black lung disease. The disturbances became known as black blizzards, and visibility was sometimes restricted completely. The Dust Bowl was an economic and human disaster exacerbated by agricultural exploitation and long-term drought. Millions of acres of agricultural land have become worthless and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave.

The American farmers were also utilized by a man named Hugh Bennett. When he toured rural areas, he frequently stayed overnight in farmhouses, admired local cuisine and spoke of his accomplishments in Alaska or the Amazon. Farmers depended on his relaxed and sensible style, and this mutual appreciation in the years to come will prove necessary.

Bennett committed himself to the eradication of soil erosion. He published a large number of reports, yet was in large part ignored. His ideas contradicted famous belief. In 1909 the Bureau of Soils posted a bulletin mentioning that that soil was inexhaustible Bennett countered, by saying that this was costly misinformation spread by the government.

Bennett was granted the leadership of the new Soil Erosion Service leader. And in 1935, the Congress assigned it to the Department of Agriculture and formally founded it as the SCS (Soil Conservation Service). Through the Service, Bennett could perform research and education, set up experimental projects and help growers via technical advice, contracts, and monetary assistance. The SCS became the key to Bennett's victory over the catastrophe of soil erosion.”The work of the SCS spurred one of the most important conservation developments of the time, state-level soil conservation districts: “In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote”. This shows how the SCS was a huge pioneer in the conservation of not only soil but the environment.

Now Farmers have adopted a lot more environmentally friendly approach towards farming not only in the US but around the world. The dust bowl played a huge factor in this as it was one of the worst droughts in that time. “Nearly one-third of the world's farms have adopted more environmentally friendly practices while continuing to be productive, according to a global assessment by 17 scientists” this shows how the world is becoming environmentally friendly and using methods that conserve not only water but electricity and other resources.

Drip irrigation is a method used by farmers in water ridden countries to conserve water. Drip irrigation is known as a very effective watering system for plants. The typical sprinkler system, for example, has an efficiency of around about seventy percent. In comparison, drip irrigation has productivity improvements approaching over eighty-five percent. Through decades this improvement in the quality of water delivery would make a substantial change in cultivation and the end result of the business. Drip irrigation has, predictably, becoming the popular irrigation system in areas where supply of water is limited supply, such as those of the US arid areas. Drip irrigation systems are fairly simple and cheap to implement, and were also simple to build and help improve vegetative growth and conserve water.

The Dustbowl put a lot of humans on the brink of survival. Making it the worst drought in history. Simultaneously, the Dust Bowl used to be a warning to people that their local weather and commercial enterprise activities must shift towards being more environment-friendly and conscious society as the entire thing was majorly caused by humans. The proof of that are the many modern methods used to prevent loss of water and people like Greta Thunberg constantly fighting the government in different countries around the world. To bring change and teach the kids, who are the future to become more environmentally friendly so the earth is safe. Or as she would say “ We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”


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16 December 2021
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