what can we do if 'the dust bowl ' revisiting?

tuanhJuly 13, 2006

I was watching the documentary about Woody and the dust bowl era. the documenary show that the climate was considering very hostility back 1930 and people bravely managed to survive. As i was watching it, i can't stop myself thinking about the drought condition we are experiencing lately. If i am not mistake that we are currently on the fifth years of drought and i wonder what if the dust bowl revisting in these day ? what can we do? can modern and technology save the days? what do ya think?

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ksfarmer(z5/Ks NC Kansas)

My parents and Grandparents went through the dust bowl days of the "dirty 30's". I've heard many a story about how bad it was. Not sure why they stayed here in Kansas but they did and they survived. Things were simpler then. On the farm, everyone had a few chickens for meat and eggs, cows for beef and milk, not much demand for electricty, or gas or oil.
The gardens consisted of tough crops that didn't need a lot of water. My Grandfather said at one time he ate turnips so often he grew to hate them. He talked about the dust that darkened the sky, and the grasshoppers that ate nearly everything green.
Nowdays hopefully newer farming technics such as no-till and irrigation and pesticides will help insure at least a partial crop. Although I an not convinced it can't happen again.
Makes you wonder about Global Warming, or is this just another temporary glitch such as the 30's.
Temperature today in Salina, Kansas was 107, humidity was 25%, rainfal for july totals .75 inch.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 9:03PM
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I saw the same PBS show. It was very good but left the impression that there was only one dust storm. Not the many there actually were.

Some of the new farming technics help but I have noticed where the trees are gone the wind is starting to pickup more dust. Many of the fence rows have been taken out so the bigger machinery can operate. Better for the farmer but nothing to stop the wind. My dad lived in Oklahoma during the 30's and felt the trees not only broke up the wind but provided moisture to the atmosphere.

He thought I would never see a dust storm unless I moved to the southwest. I can remember 2 in the past 15 years. The first I thought it was a severe thunderstrom and it took hours to arrive. My memory is fuzzy but I think it was in 1993. I started seeing a line of "clouds" about 8:30 when I drove to work. It finally arrived about 11:30. No where on the radio was any mention of the dust storm until later in the day. It didn't deposite much dust but I was very worried. The second one was mostly haze and if you didn't know what was happening you would think smog.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:48PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

i think modern technology can 'save the day' up to a point... but how can it save us, when we are doing far more to destroy ou environment and ourselves??
and as we have seen, ironically, modern technology seems to cause as many (or more) problems than it solves. if and when the earth starts heating up above 110-115-120 on a regular basis, we are going to be in serious trouble. might as well do what we can now in our own way, hope our politicians will start acknowledging the situation and doing something about it, and enjoy the life we have now because things might not be this way for much longer.
the thing is.. we are so modern and technologically advanced.. and yet WAY too dependent on farmers, industrial agriculture, petrochemicals, extensive transport systems, civil infastructure, our current supplies of water, and the temps staying relatively stable... to survive. most people don't even know how to grow or raise their own food anymore.. and certainly don't have the land to do it on. and even if you did,, what's the use of land if your crops can't get water and are burning up in the sun??
if everything scientists say is true, all the abrupt changes in these things are going to wreak havoc with civilization as we know it. so, we can either deny it, or accept the very likely possibilities and just do what you can to survive.

let's just say we are WAY overdue for the biggest natural "correction" the world has ever known!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 1:10AM
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I just completed some studies of the process of "desertification." This is a process when there is too little fresh water for too many people. It's estimated that Texas alone is losing one percent per year of arable land due to drought, unavailability of water and other factors.
Very few of the major rivers of the world actually make it to the ocean today because of population increases and farming. It takes 1,000 tons of water to grow 1 ton of wheat. So, although farmers may be using new techniques to increase yields, water is still being lost.
Right now there is serious concern about the Oglala Aquifer. It is being drawn down at alarming rates.
It's not just farming. The largest users of water in this country are cities.
Today, neither the Colorado River nor the Rio Grande reach the sea. All their water is used up before it gets there.
It is a serious problem. Some hydrologists are predicting that if the U.S. continues to grow at its present rate, and we do not somehow curb our water use, we will not have enough fresh water to serve the population 50 years from now. That's not a third world country we're talking about. That's us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Gardens

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 4:42PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

wow... thanks for sharing that info. i am very alarmed about it all too.. but it seems most people are either still in denial or don't care about the issue. it appears to be human nature that no one wants to do anything about a problem until it's right on their doorstep... i guess it's just a hard-wired defense mechanism that has allowed us to survive. katrina was a very good example, ALL the scientific evidence pointed to what was very likely going to happen.. but most people just said. "well whatever, can't worry about it now".. but then when it DID happen it was disastrous and there was much wailing & gnashing of teeth,, people crying "why didn't they TELL US??" and mad at the govt for not warning them or taking care of them. but that's a whole 'nother story,, but just an example of how people in general don't like to plan ahead or think of the future. (then there is the extreme opposite where you have survivalists stockpiling canned gods in a bunker waiting for armageddon! lol)
but here is the #1 biggest problem that is SO taboo that NO one can talk about: OVERPOPULATION. it seems obvious to me that every single problem we are talking about in the world-- drought, global warming, pollution, stress, wars, species extinction, illegal immigration, famine, etc. etc. ec. etc. is caused by that one thing, that no one wants to talk about (not that these things can't exist without overpopulation-- obviously they do and they have in the past. but it definitely is exacerbating everything on a huge scale). because NO ONE wants to be told they shouldn't have as many offspring as they want, it's their natural-born right, after all! and if you bring up the issue with a 'third-world' nation, then you're just called a racist. the chinese govt has been the main one cracking down on it, and now it's been turned into a human rights issue there. and it would be unthinkable to even MENTION it in our good old USA, land of the free, where we can do whatever we want no matter what the cost, even if we have to pay the price. so, you just can't win.
the only solution i see is if WE can't control our numbers,, then nature is gonna have to do it for us-- and it seems that it will, and in a BIG way. but, it's not gonna be pretty.

btw, here in texas folks in cities are pretty oblivious to what's going on around us. out in the country people are freaking out because many of their wells have gone dry for the first time (or in a very long time). we love our beloved aquifers (even though we can't stop paving over them and building stupid walmarts and strip malls and such-- but hey! there's profits to be made!!).. and we can't bear the thought that they actually may be in the process of going dry. actually, most people probably don't care, thinking 'well, you can't see them, so how does it affect me? who cares? i've got my i-pod, let's go shopping!' but you better believe you would care if you can't eat or get any water-- you will care REAL quick, and nothing else will matter. that is, unless you can find your own water source that no one else knows about, and grow your own food! and how many people know how to do that nowadays, or have the land and means to do it? not many!
and as all the ultra-rich in their uber-mansions-- not being able to water their perfect fertilized lawns as much as they want (which they do anyway, even when there's water restrictions for the rest of us peons)-- will be the LEAST of their worries.
anyway... the next generation will have to deal with this in a big way. those of us from an older generation *might* just get off the hook (depending on your age). i hope i'll be gone before things get really bad.. i can't bear to watch the beautiful lush green earth turn into a desert. it's heartbreaking to think that the same world won't be here for future generations.. but i think if we get thrown back to the stone age it would be a good thing. maybe the earth can get a chance to recover a little bit then.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 2:01PM
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Texas is one of the hardest hit areas in the U.S. Studies (by USDA) indicate that Texas is losing one percent of arable land per year, due to declining levels in aquifers.
I agree it's a very serious problem, one that we're going to have to face long before global warming (if that is even real) and any other thing. I say the next big war will be fought over water (or its corollary: food).

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Gardens

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:58PM
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There is a strategy for addressing the problem. It's one of those neat and easy solutions that, if everybody just jumped aboard en masse, would solve that and many other problems tomorrow.

The problem is getting people to do it.

We all have to change our lawns into organic gardens. We have to rebuild our local food production infrastructure. We have to stop shipping millions of tons of water, in the form of fruits and vegetables, from country to country.

Organic agriculture uses way less water than industrial agriculture, and produces higher yields per acre, with less irrigation. Organic soils retain water far better than ploughed soil.

I could list dozens of positive aspects to such a movement, but your all gardeners, I think you already know most of them.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:49PM
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It takes as much water to grow a cow as it does to float a battle ship. Not to mention the food crops that they eat. Meat truly is a luxury.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 3:36AM
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