Alsoknown as DirtyThirties,theterm DustBowlwas used to refer to the Great Plains region hit by severe duststorms in the 1930s. The dust storms occurred during a period ofsevere drought, which was witnessed in three waves that is at 1934,1936 and 1940 (Worster, 2004). The drought led to the drying up ofvegetation in the plains. As a result, most of the soil becameun-anchored leading to it being blown away by the wind to formimmense clouds of dust that swept over the Midwestern USA. This stormchanged the lives of the American people in a great way leading tothem being innovative in an attempt to find better ways of dealingwith the devastation it brought. This paper discusses the dust bowland the impact it had on the American people.
Someecological specialists describe the dust bowl as a catastrophe thatwas created by the man himself. During the 1930s, the World War 1 hadjust ended and crops were at a very high demand with the mostcultivated one at the time being wheat. Farmers then over cultivatedthe land caring more about the increased profits that came along withthe high demand. As a result, the soil lost its productiveness, andtogether with the lack of rainfall led to the crops dying and duststorms stated blowing the loosened top soil away. This caused damageto the land, creating landscapes that resemble the appearance of abowl (Worster, 2004).
Thedrought and dust storms became so severe that many of the farmersdied from inhaling the dust. For instance, the Oklahoma Panhandle washit by dust storms for 22 consecutive days, in a year 139 days hadsuch severe storms. Around 350 million tons of soil were estimated tohave been blown away by 1934. Some roofs collapsed due to the weightthat the dust exerted (Worster, 2004). The dust storms forced many ofthe residents to leave their homes, though the dust made travellingdifficult for the people. The national government came to their aidby creating a soil conservation service which bought a lot ofhectares of the over cultivated land and left it unused for thevegetation to grow back again. Farmers also adopted better methods offarming to prevent further such occurrences with the governmentpaying those who practiced better farming practices. A law was alsopassed to limit the number of animals that ranches could keep. Thedirection of the rows of crops on hilly land was also changed to belengthwise so as to retain more rain water and promote crop growth(Worster, 2004).
Inconclusion, the dust bowl was a significant event that displacedmillions of people from their homes and caused the death of others.Despite the fact that man had no control over the climate, hisactions also played a huge role in the dust bowl as the storms were aresult of a combination of both natural and environmental factors. Toavoid another dust storm event in the future, human beings should notonly being concerned with making profits from the land, but shouldalso propose to take good care of the environment by adopting betterfarming practices. The result of this would be a good environment,preventing such a devastating event from occurring again in future.
Worster,D. (2004). DustBowl: the southern Plains in the 1930s.New York: Oxford University Press.