Module 6 – Video Review and Discussion 1111 unread replies.1111 replies.
During the 1930s, the United States underwent a major agricultural disaster. The ecology of the Southern Plains; which included parts of eastern Wyoming, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and southwest Texas; underwent a transformational change from moist, rich grasslands to a barren desert-like environment wrought with dust storms, widespread drought, and crop failures. This change clashed with the prevailing climatological theory of the time, which surmised that human habitation and agriculture could effect a permanent change in the terrestrial water cycle of an arid region through soil cultivation, increasing the amount of available moisture by plowing up and releasing water within the ground. This theory is exemplified during the 19th century by Charles Dana Wilber, who coined the phrase, “rain follows the plow”. However, the theory did not stand up to the test of science, nor the test of nature.
Watch the 1-hour video, Surviving the Dust Bowl (PBS). As you view this video, consider the motivations of the vast numbers of farmers who settled the Southern Plains of the United States, and how the semiarid climate did not dissuade them from attempting to farm there. Determine for yourself why “rain follows the plow” did not hold up to reality, and what the causes were for the enormous, regional dust storms that engulfed the country. Examine the fragility of an agricultural region in the face of climate change, how quickly the change can happen, and what impacts to humans, food supplies, and environmental health can occur in its wake. Contemplate the scope of massive human migration during this period, and consider the effects it had on the rest of the country, including air quality and government intervention. Post a minimum of a 250-word summary and personal review, and make any connections with the readings. Review the essays of other students, post a minimum of two thoughtful comments of approximately a paragraph (a single sentence is not a comment), and reply to any and all comments posted about your own review.