Currently, the Bitterroot Valley faces air quality, toxic waste, forest deterioration, wild fire, loss of soil and biodiversity, and climate change risks. These issues (specifically air quality, soil, and biodiversity) are extremely important because they have immediate detrimental effects to the Montanan way of life. Although these problems seem relatively new to Montana, they are historical throughout the world. This is because they have plagued nearly all industrialized areas in the past and are currently affecting industrializing areas. Although new practices have been put in place to reduce pollutants associated with industrialization, it can only do so much. Hopefully, the United States and other nations throughout the would will begin to find ways to reduce these effects and to implement them into action.
In my opinion, Montana is a fantastic model for understanding the world’s environmental issues because, it is an extremely diverse state with a variety of ecosystems throughout it. This past summer, I took a course through the Honors College that focused on climate change; one of the resources they provided us with was the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment. The assessment focuses on air, agricultural, and water issues throughout Montana and on a broader extent, the United States. During the course we were able to meet with several stake holders in various industries. Whether it be an experimental forest manager, third-generation saw-mill owner, or representative for Senator Daines, one thing was clear; action must be taken throughout Montana and the world before it is impossible to reverse climate change. With the research that has been created due to funding in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, we now have a better understanding of the negative ways we are impacting the environment. Hopefully, with increasing awareness and the adoption of new policies we will be able to reverse the effects of environmental issues and help the world do the same.