I just finished reading this great book about life on the plains during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. It is a heart-wrenching example of how humans can alter their environment for the worst. Eastern Colorado, Kansas, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles became a desert with wild dust storms, no ability to grow crops or even grass to keep the topsoil in place. A drought was made nearly unsurvivable by decades of poor farming techniques that left the soil vulnerable to wind erosion.
I was reading this book during our dry, warm March (warmest on record for the US) and was getting extra nervous that my garden seemed to have turned to sand. Finally we have active precipitation in the forecast and everything is blooming!