In the 1930s a severe drought, multiplied by wind erosion created a phenomenon known as the dust bowl. Dust rained down everywhere—covering dishes and lining the inside of mouths and noses. In one storm alone, twelve million pounds of friable topsoil blew from the Great Plains all the way to Chicago.
Just a decade before, the Great Plains were well suited for farming and drew many looking to colonize a homestead for themselves. Imprudent practices led to the uprooting of native grasses and plants that had evolved to hold the soil in place. And a decade later, when the rain stopped and the winds rolled in, there was nothing left to hold the dust down.
As I have been tracking our own weather here in Minnesota, our own drought conditions are worsening. Lakes are low, yards are brown, and the trees are beginning to turn. Our flourishing is deeply tied to the health of our ecology—and so these drought conditions deserve observation and action.
If you feel any fear or anxiety about our changing climate and environment, you are not alone. And while we can choose to live within a spirit of hope instead of fear, we also want to be prudent about how our actions are affecting the flourishing of our ecological future.
Our human bodies go through seasons of abundance to drought, teaching us to rest or dig deep into our reserve tanks. We notice, or perhaps it’s pointed out to us, that after our own drought season, we’re in need of some deep watering. We might need to reestablish some habits that grow deep roots that keep us anchored.
What are the roots that hold you down?
What practices are helping sustain our ecological future?
What practices are not sustainable and what will we stop doing?
While I sip clean and clear water from my dust-free glass, I am thankful for the ability to pivot my behaviors. I pray for rain and will monitor my water usage. I can be grateful, anxious, emboldened, and frightened all at the same time. Church, I encourage you to think on these questions and engage with them around your table today. I’d love to hear back from you on what you’re learning and experimenting with.