The most pressing problems in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley—some of the most notable including toxic wastes, depleting usable water and lumber, and invasive species—result from the overexertion and mishandling of limited resources. Essential industries like mining and logging have instigated serious damages to Montana’s forests, water, climate, et cetera, and decreased the economic earnings from such industries. These problems are rooted within history because the processes which caused them have been necessary to developing society. The nature of limited resources means these problems will only become more prominent as time goes on, unless a new solution can be created.
Bitterroot Valley, and Montana in general, works as an explanatory model for global environmental issues because it reflects the nature of the world on a smaller scale. Just like Montana, the world has a limited amount of resources which are necessary for society’s function, and the way these resources have been historically and are currently handled causes vast environment problems. The repercussions Montana is currently facing foreshadow the environmental consequences the world at large will eventually face. As pointed out by Diamond in the text, Montana’s economy has declined from one of the most prosperous states to one of the poorest, and this can be anticipated to occur on a worldwide scale, as areas where environmental resources are relied on will begin to flounder and fail as those resources are harmed and lost.