- Explore a historic example of US agro-ecological system collapse.
- Consider appropriate prevention measures to protect from similar future events.
- McLeman, R. A., Dupre, J., Ford, L. B., Ford, J., Gajewski, K., & Marchildon, G. (2014). . Population and Environment, 35(4), 417-440.
- History Brief: The Dust Bowl (2013)
- LQ2: The Great Dustbowl & Anticipating Uncertainty (drop a note below if interested)
- DP2: The Great Dustbowl & Anticipating Uncertainty
Read the McLeman et al. (2014) article reviewing the published literature on The Great Dust Bowl to draw lessons for future climate uncertainty. Then watch the History Brief (2013) video about The Great Dust Bowl.
Watch the lesson slideshow video Wk10L2: The Great Dust Bowl & Anticipating Uncertainty Part 1. As you watch, consider the adaptations plants and animals native to North America’s Great Plains possess. How do these species contribute to this temperate grassland ecosystem? Additional videos are linked below if you wish to follow up more on Great Plains native species, but is not required.
Additional videos highlighting native plants and animals of the Great Plains:
Watch the video Understanding Social-Ecological Systems (2017) from the Stockholm Resilience Center to learn more about elements of a social-ecological system (SES) and how these different entities work together to create a functioning SES.
Then watch the videos Plains Indian Tribes (2014) and The Return of Wild Bison to the American West (2017; sorry for the car commercial). The second video is filmed on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. As you watch, think about the following questions:
- How can we describe the relationship between Native Peoples and native plants and animals of the Great Plains?
- Why are bison so important to the ecological system? Human communities?
Watch the lesson slideshow video Wk10L2: The Great Dust Bowl & Anticipating Uncertainty Part 2.
Watch the video How African Americans Settled the West (2016). As you watch, consider the following questions:
- Which group/s took advantage of the “free” land offered by the US government under the 1862 Homestead Act?
- Why was this opportunity so important for these different groups?
- What group/s was/were left out of this opportunity to own land?
Watch the lesson slideshow video Wk10L2: The Great Dust Bowl & Anticipating Uncertainty Part 3.
Watch the lesson slideshow video Wk10L2: The Great Dust Bowl & Anticipating Uncertainty Part 4. As you watch and listen, think about how the impacts of each action taken by humans in this SES compounded into direct and indirect effects during the Dirty 30s.
Watch the video FDR & the Dust Bowl (2018). While this video sums up much of what we have already discussed, it also describes how President Roosevelt’s administration and the US Government responded to the largest manmade environmental disaster our country has ever experienced. Consider the following as you watch:
- What actions did FDR and the US Government take specifically (programs, laws, etc.) to mitigate the Dust Bowl’s impacts? Prevent future similar events?
- Given that the Dust Bowl happened at the same time as the Great Depression (1929-1939), how did these environmental actions also support economic mitigation?
Watch the lesson slideshow video Wk10L2: The Great Dust Bowl & Anticipating Uncertainty Part 5. In consideration with the previous video, think about the effectiveness of government/policy interventions from the perspective of federal and/or local level responses.
Respond to the following question on the discussion boards.
The Great Dust Bowl has had long-lasting effects on American culture, economics, society, and the Great Plains landscape. In the McLeman (2014) reading for today, the authors claim that this event “still has much to teach us about preparing for and responding to the acute socio-environmental challenges that will continue to arise in our present era of anthropogenic climate change, food and water scarcity, and global economic uncertainty” (435). Given what you have learned in the readings and lesson today, how is the Dust bowl a useful historical research analog to understanding the physical effects and societal responses to climate change? Provide an example of each in your response.
- Rosenzweig, C and D Hillel (1993) Journal of Environmental Quality 22: 9-22.
- Cook, BI, RL Miller and R Seager (2009) . PNAS 106(13): 4997-5001.
- Hornbeck, R (2012) . American Economic Review 102(4): 1477-1507.
- PBS (2013) Mass exodus from the Plains. WGBH Educational Foundation.
- James, K (2016) From the ground up. Comstock’s Magazine, 1/12/16.
- Holleman, H. (2017). . The Journal of Peasant Studies, 44(1), 234-260.
- Timeline: Surviving the Dust Bowl, 1931-1939, PBS American Experience