Could the Dust Bowl Have Been Prevented?

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While this was a sensitive topic in its day, many scholars agree that the Dust Bowl could largely have been prevented from happening. Scholars from the University of Illinois agree with the idea that the Dust Bowl tragedy occurred due to a combination of human and ecological factors, meaning it might not have been 100 percent preventable, but its effects could have been less severe with better farming practices.

The Dust Bowl refers to a period during the 1930s during which drought and persistent dust storms (high winds carrying massive clouds of dusts) impacted agriculture and commerce in the American plains states. Much of the area that was impacted by the Dust Bowl was once grassland that had been converted into agricultural space, leading to ecological and landscape changes that, when combined with a prolonged period of severe drought in the region, led to the perfect mix of conditions for widespread, devastating dust storms. The drought was, of course, not in human control, but hindsight on the issue indicates that better farming practices could have dramatically lessened the scale of the disaster.