You might have heard snippets of conversations about food and water shortages, changing climates, and other worrisome topics. If you've brushed them off as unimportant or unrealistic, you might want to reconsider that. If you think that humans are too small to impact their environment or cause disasters, consider this — it's already happened.
During the 1930s, when the Great Depression was already wreaking havoc on the lives of millions, a series of droughts hit the American prairies. The droughts were simply natural events, but the damage done to the land — and subsequently to the residents' lives — could have been easily prevented.
The dust storms were so enormous that they blew across the country and affected East Coast cities, including New York and Washington, D.C.
Since the farmers at the time had limited knowledge of proper farming techniques for the natural landscape, they had inadvertently been damaging their land over decades. They plowed too deeply into the topsoil, which killed off the native grasses whose long roots helped hold the soil and water in place.