Following the onset of The Great Depression in 1929, the United States caught the second blow to its population right in the gut the next year. Directly in the heart of the country, the lower midwestern plains of North America began to experience a manmade disaster brought on by years of undisciplined farming practices and drought. These two circumstances combined turned this country’s once-fertile with rich, deep topsoil into a baron wind-blown dust bowl. This phenomenon happened due to farmers’ lack of understanding of the area’s ecology, non-rotation of crops, and improper plowing techniques, all of which promoted erosion of the topsoil.
Cutting Their Losses
As the situation worsened in the Midwest, many farmers who were already financially strapped packed up their belongings and left. As many as 2.5 million people exited the Midwest during the 1930s due to the conditions brought on by this ecological disaster. Some rural areas in the Midwest saw population drops as much as 40%. Many relocated to the west coast of the country. There they worked the abundant farms in California, Oregon, and Washington. This migration, brought on by a manmade ecological disaster, was the largest in U.S history.
This massive migration is an example of climate migration. Climate migration occurs when people have no other choice but to leave their homes due to the changing environment, more frequent storms, higher tides, more frequent flooding, long periods of drought, more frequent wildfires. These are all examples of ecological scenarios that may cause people to up and leave their homes searching for a more stable environment to thrive. With the acceleration of climate change brought on by our industrialized societies, we see more of these massive migrations take place. For example, the Central Americans moving north towards Mexico and the United States. Many are leaving due to a changing climate that is causing more and more drought affecting their farmlands, causing food prices to soar, and leading to overall instability in their communities.
If we continue doing the same things we’re doing, more and more people from everywhere will have to move. It won’t only be people from other countries coming into the United States to escape the environmental problems in another country. Look at the map posted below. That is a map of the drought in the United States as of May 25th, 2021. Look at it. Roughly one-half of the country is experiencing some sort of drought conditions. And if you look at it deeper, the areas deep in drought have been there for a long time. The land can only sustain a large number of people for so long without water. Eventually, all those people will have to move east.
I ask myself, “Why have our leaders let it get this far?” Why have they politicized the issue to the point that a group of educated people doesn’t even believe it’s real? When will these people think it’s real? When they have to leave their country to live in a foreign land? By that time, it’s become too real. Many climate change deniers I know claim to be God-fearing Christians. If that’s the case, did God not leave us, human beings, as stewards of the land? As a father, if I built this immaculate house and then left it to my son and in a few short years it was in utter ruin, I’d be a rather disappointed father. Aside from the religious appeal, it’s also being a responsible person to maintain a nice living area, RIGHT? I digress and am putting my soapbox away.