The Bitterroot valley and Montana at large are faced with a whole host of environmental problems like low amounts of rainfall, depleted soils, toxic soils, toxic water, and improper forest management. It has also seen the effects of global warming common around the rest of the United States. A lot of these problems, if not all of them can be blamed directly on humans. One of the biggest things effecting the Bitterroot is the lack of water actually available for people that live there. More and more people keep coming and there isn’t enough water to support the population growth seen in the area. People are having to dig their wells deeper and deeper to keep up with the demand of water. The mass amounts of mining and negligent action by mining companies to avoid having to clean it up has not helped the water situation either. Many of the mines leftover from the boom are actively poisoning the earth and will likely continue to do so for the rest of time. Many of the companies that own the mines choose to default on the blame and pay as little as possible in cleanup efforts. Many also just choose to declare bankruptcy and reshuffle their assets so they can’t be sued or blamed over the poisoning of the land. It is obviously very difficult to sustain society without water and we see the effects of our past and the effects of society in general that have taken their toll on that particular part of Montana. Many choices made throughout the history of our state are having direct environmental outcomes that have really become prevalent in todays society.
I think Montana shares an excellent model in understanding environmental issues around the world. The way that Montana has seemingly done this to themselves with decisions that citizens, corporations, and governments have made throughout history is how it has happened everywhere else in the world. It has been thought that we have a direct impact on our environment with the decisions that we make and the laws that we put in place. The environment, if left alone, would be bound to change over time. But the decisions that we have made and things that we have done have altered the speed at which the environment will change and created issues that would not have come up if left alone.