Back in December, when Husband and I were taking an evening of refuge at the Barnes & Noble from our frigid house, courtesy of the ice storm that knocked down power lines and left us in the dark for three days, I picked up Tim Egan's The Worst Hard Time, a tale of the Dust Bowl and those who lived it. Not the Okies who fled to California, so immortalized by Steinbeck that we're still known by this idea, but the Oklahomans (And southeastern Coloradans and Texas Panhandlers) who remained in the black, choking dust, drought and despair.
Born and raised an Oklahoman, I've always held that era with some morbid fascination, even though my kin lived in northeastern Oklahoma and, like most of the country, had some of the dust, but not its brunt. Egan's book is a real reader, a page turner (and it would be, he's a journalist, and we write the best stuff!). But it's also a rather frightening warning for us in this era of climate change. Because for all those who think that humans can't change the climate, think on this: We did it before. That's what the D
ust was, our stupid folly, incited by greed and ignorance, and a sheer naivete on what difference we really make on this planet.
And take a look. The first picture is from the '30s. The second picture is recent
ground is moving again. While Iowa and Missouri drowns, the Panhandles burn and wither, and the ground is movin
g again. Not all of it, thanks to soil conservation practices taught to the sodbuster farmers (t
hat is, farmers by economic opportunity, not by heritage) by the government.
I recommend that you read Egan's book. And pray.