Remembering the Dust Bowl by Gabriel Thoumi

In ecology, history, North America, society on November 17, 2012 at 18:33

From: Remembering the Dust Bowl: it could happen again by Gabriel Thoumi, Mongabay,

By 1880s, the immeasurable bison herds of the Great Plains had been slaughtered and the Beef Bonanza began. Then severe winters killed the cattle herds bankrupting the cattle industry. Next the homesteaders moved in with promises of an Eden where any person, whether a suitcase in-town farmer or a rugged homesteader, could feed their family and make money off the land. Fueled by the global wheat boom of the 1910s and 1920s, the “Great Plow-Up” began when homesteaders plowed under tens of millions of acres of native buffalo grass in the Southern Great Plains for wheat production.

    “This wind-driven dust, fine as the finest flour, penetrates wherever air can go.” – Caroline Henderson, Oklahoma

With too much wheat under crop, most of the native grasses plowed under, and drought occurring, black dirt and sand dust bowl storms began to ravage the southern Great Plains. These storms could be 100 miles long with 60 mile an hour winds and would turn day into night, covering crops, destroying homes, and in the worst cases smothering all life in their path.

    “It was just unbelievable. It’d blister your face. It would put your eyes out.” – Pauline Robertson, New Mexico

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: Mongabay


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