EcoCollapse is a Social Crisis: The Dust Bowl

How to explain a place where black dirt fell from the sky, where children died from playing outdoors, where rabbits were clubbed to death by adrenaline-primed nesters still wearing their Sunday-school clothes, where grasshoppers descended on weakened fields and ate everything but doorknobs?  How to explain a place where hollow-bellied horses chewed on fence posts, where static electricity made it painful to shake another man’s hand, where the only thing growing that a human or a cow could eat was an unwelcome foreigner, the Russian thistle? How to explain fifty thousand or more houses abandoned throughout the Great Plains, never to hear a child’s laugh or a woman’s song inside their walls? How to explain nine million acres of farmland without a master? America was passing this land by. Its day was done.

–  pages 305 and 306, The Word Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Photos of the Dust Bowl

1st Interview with Tim Egan on Dialogue: The Worst Hard Time

Watch Surviving the Dust Bowl: The American Experience , a PBS Documentary

Surviving the Dust Bowl is the remarkable story of the determined people who clung to their homes and way of life, enduring drought, dust, disease—even death—for nearly a decade. Less well-known than those who sought refuge in California, typified by the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” the Dust Bowlers who stayed overcame an almost unbelievable series of calamities and disasters.

“Only one-quarter of the Dust Bowlers fled to California—most stayed, persevering through ten grueling years,” says producer Chana Gazit.  “I was intrigued by their stories—their stamina and resilience to battle through frighteningly powerful, devastating wind and dust storms.”

Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
Since our class is a English class, Doc. Ray showed me this great website that has poetry about the Dust Bowl.
“Enter the world of a small fictional community that puts a human face on the greatest economic disaster and the greatest environmental disaster of  our history.”

Blame the Government: The Dust Bowl is Man Made

Apocalyptic Living Today

On September 23, 2009, Sydneysiders woke up Wednesday to a confusing orange haze that turned out to be one of the worst dust storms on record, grounding flights and causing all kinds of chaos, wonder and amazement.   Dust Storms In Australia

Is this a picture of what is going to happen with global warming and over-using the land?


3 Responses to “EcoCollapse is a Social Crisis: The Dust Bowl”

  1. Timothy Egan’s book really makes the Dust Bowl era come alive. Thanks for mentioning my Rain site, with its focus on the effect on women, above! But what I’d like to add here is that there’s also a great new film/book out on a related topic, the Writers’ Project of the 30’s, called Soul of a People.

  2. coolaccordionest Says:

    I’ll have to check that book/film out, thanks for the mention. I loved this post because of having to find a whole bunch of new things and I love the Dust Bowl.

  3. Great post. I just did a post about this with a video and a song I wrote on my blog ( and I used a lot of the same pictures. Keep up the good work!

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