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The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl

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The Dust Bowl

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Presentation Transcript

  1. The Dust Bowl An Economic and Environmental American Tragedy

  2. Interrupted Ecosystem • Land before interruption • a sea of grass 2-4 feet tall • little rainfall (20” per year) - up to 10 years of drought.

  3. The Ecosystem Before Tragedy • Bison grazed which attracted prairie dogs to short grasses to easily see predators. • PD’s then build burrows near bison. • Bison clean themselves in the loose dirt of the burrows. • This creates holes which collect rainfall.

  4. Soil Erosion • Even in this ideal environment, little rain causes a shortage of grass, bison overgraze, prairie fires occur due to the heat, wind persists spreading both dust and fire.

  5. What did farmers do to contribute to the disaster?

  6. Moved west in masses during a wet cycle and continued to plow during a 10 year period of drought. • Burned off stubble after harvest subjecting loose soil to wind erosion. • Soil in the air created static electricity which destroyed any small amount of growth ………………………………. • ERA NICKNAME WAS THE “DIRTY THIRTIES”

  7. Consequences • Dust Pneumonia • Dust in food • Cars wouldn’t start (static electricity) • All unable to make a living • Forced to move -- mostly to the West where there were rumors of farm employment. • Dust killed animals

  8. Affected Area

  9. On the move • They traveled the MOTHER ROAD (rt.66) to California. • Dust Bowlers received fliers requesting farm workers.

  10. Problems of the Journey • Hygiene = no clean water • No Money = had to work odd jobs to afford gas to get from to town to town • Had to cross the desert with all possessions

  11. Little opportunity to bathe = disease

  12. Washed clothes in ditches along the way!

  13. They traveled the Mother Road Route 66 to California

  14. People were forced to camp along the roadside

  15. Children were without a school or nutritious food to eat

  16. Trouble for “Okies” • Teachers and school children ridiculed Okie kids • Many Okie kids went to school barefooted

  17. The US government set up camps in California to accommodate the new arrivals • School teachers and students teased “okie” children • Many kids wore old flour or potato sacks

  18. New Deal solutions to problems • Restoration of pastures (rotational grazing-plant grass) • Leave stubble After plowing to hold down soil • Plow in furrows opposite wind direction to prevent wind erosion • Plow ACROSS a hill to prevent water erosion • Strip cropping with hay or sorghum to prevent erosion • Plant trees alongside fields to stop wind erosion • PAID FARMERS NOT TO PLANT=HIGHER PRICES!