Posted by: Mary W. Farkas | June 28, 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf: Human Crisis?

Something has caught my attention regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
We all know facts about the drought that created the Dust Bowl in the Midwest states in the 20’s and 30’s.
That, and years of speculative investing and the stock market crash of 1929, led to the events that started a migration of entire class of people, sharecroppers, small farmers, and small businesspeople leaving their homes, farms, and businesses to the West. We know this story from literature like John Steinbeck’s book The Grapes of Wrath and from the folk music of Woody Guthrie and others, and from our history classes.
My dilemma: Will the ongoing crisis from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico lead to a human migration akin to the Dust Bowl, along with its ecological devastation?
I ask for your thoughts. Thank you.


  1. It seems that the similarities vastly outweigh the differences comparing this BP oil spill catastrophe to the dust bowl. Since the oil started spilling because of corporate greed and incompetence, and since it is still spilling, today’s crisis may be worse. Add to that the growth (since the 30’s) in economic interdependency creating a system more complex and fragile by several orders of magnitude and I think it is capable of becoming much worse than the dust bowl. Worse in terms of human misery and ecological damage.

    • Based on your premise, which is well thought out and to the point, the socio-economic disaster as well as an ecological one is a given.
      There is another issue. In the thirties, there were some jobs available in the West in agriculture.
      Now, there aren’t even those kind of jobs available. Where would the emigrants go?


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