Drought – All We Are Is “Dust in the Wind”


July 27, 2017 by John Crapper

Drought is an ever increasing risk in our world due to rising temperatures from climate change.   We’re running out of time to take effective action.

“Dust In The Wind”

I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone  .All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity. Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind.  Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea. All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see.  Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.  Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.  It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.  Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind (all we are is dust in the wind).  Dust in the wind (everything is dust in the wind), everything is dust in the wind (the wind).

Dust in the Wind by Kansas is a significant song for me. My wife and I grew up in Kansas City and we used to see them play at a local pub back in the 70’s before they were famous.

We’re getting ready to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. It has been a wonderful ride. I think we have a special relationship. We care about each other a lot. But the time sure has gone fast.

I can’t imagine life without her. She means the world to me. It scares me to think of her passing before me. It’s really hard to think about.

The song she wants played at her memorial service is Dust in the Wind. Every time I hear this song I think of the possibility of having to hear that song without her.

I try to maintain a stoic frame of mind when contemplating all this. I know the life we share will one day come to an end. I know our love for each other matters only to us. They are our shared memories and when we are both gone they will be like dust in the wind.

This same stoic attitude I try to maintain when contemplating climate change too. I know humans have love for their lives here on Earth. We’ve had a hell of a ride. We think we’ve got a special relationship with Earth. We profess to care about the health of the Earth a lot. But the time sure is going fast.

I can’t imagine life without a healthy Earth. It means the world to me. It scares me to think of the current state of the Earth’s health. It’s really hard to think about especially now that we have a climate denier in the White House.

But just like I think about the possibility of having to face that fateful day when I will have to listen to Dust in the Wind without my wife by my side, I think about climate change and what life will be like without a healthy Earth in which to live. I take the time to think about it because Time is Wasting.

So let’s think about climate change for a minute. First let’s take a look at the global dust belt by looking at the map below.

The Northern Hemisphere’s ‘dust belt’ extends from North Africa, through the Arabian Peninsula, to southern and central Asia. As you can see from the above map, Iran is in this ‘dust belt’.

Dust storms have always been a regular occurrence in Iran but there is evidence that they are happening much more frequently. In 2013, 23 of the country’s 31 provinces were affected by dust storms. Tehran experienced dust clouds on 117 days.These storms are a natural result of weather patterns, reaching a peak during the spring and summer months as temperatures rise and rainfall reaches a minimum. However, there is evidence that their frequency has increased as a result of changes in land and water use and also climate change.

Between 2000 and 2009 the frequency of dust storms increased by 70 to 170% in the western provinces, when compared with the preceding 30 years. This increase coincided with a general fall in rainfall and a significant increase in average temperatures.

Iranian scientists have predicted Iran is facing a 2 degree C increase in temperature in the next 25 years and a 9 percent drop in precipitation.

OK, so that is modern day Iran. But take a look back at our history.

U.S. Dust Bowl – 1930’s

The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes) caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–40, but some regions of the High Plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

Could It Happen Again?

The Dust Bowl could definitely happen again. Agribusiness is draining the groundwater from the Midwest eight times faster than rain is putting it back. This area stretches from South Dakota to Texas. It supplies about 30 percent of the nation’s irrigation water. At this rate, the groundwater will be gone within the century. Parts of the Texas Panhandle are in imminent danger of running dry already. (Source: “The Last Drop,” NBC News, July 6, 2014.)

Also, there has been increasing worry over the state of the Ogaliala Aquifer. It “waters 27 percent of the nation’s irrigated cropland.

Larry West sums up the situation succinctly. He said that ironically, the Ogallala Aquifer is no longer being depleted to feed American families. The agricultural subsidies did begin as part of the New Deal. They helped small farm families stay on the land and hang on through the Dust Bowl Years. Those subsidies are now paid to corporate farms that grow crops we no longer need. For example, cotton growers in Texas receive $3 billion a year in federal subsidies. They drain water from the Ogallala to grow fiber that is no longer used in the United States. Instead, it’s shipped to China. There, it’s made into cheap clothing that is sold in American stores. Once the water runs out, the Great Plains will be the site of yet another environmental disaster.

And from National Geographic:

Decades of heavy pumping have caused widespread depletion of the Ogallala in its southernmost reaches, which get very little recharge from current rainfall. Since 1940, a volume of groundwater equivalent to two-thirds of the water held in Lake Erie has been depleted from the Ogallala.

In a recently released study

by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists find more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. … “We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the University of California, Irvine, and the study’s lead author. “This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking.”

The Earth doesn’t care about us. We care about us. As far as the Earth is concerned we are just Dust in the Wind. It would behove all of us to think about the risk of drought brought on by climate change . Time is Wasting (my first post).

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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