Throughout the Bitteroot Valley of Montana there are many environmental issues, some of which beginning over a century ago and some which still continue today. The Diamond reading gave me a much more inclusive understanding of those issues, especially those concerning toxic waste and timber harvest. The mining industry has been rather prevalent to the Montana landscape and its communities. What I noticed to be extremely frustrating to come to terms with is the historical abandonment mining companies have demonstrated when their sites prove to be no longer profitable. More specifically, before the 1970’s and the rise of environmentalism these companies had no legal responsibility of protecting water quality from the toxic chemicals they release during and after operation. The logging history of the Bitterroot Valley is very interesting especially when you think about the natural climate of Montana and the need for economic income. Commercial logging has been described to be going on in this landscape for a rather extending period of time but it is not nearly close to what it was back in the late 19th century. All of the Bitteroot Valley’s old timber mills have been shutdown either because of the lack of publicly owned timberland or due to the recent logging completed on privately owned timberland. Although Montana has some of the most undisturbed and pristine natural landscapes; due to the short growing season, lack of rainfall and elevation in certain areas trees have been observed to grow at much slower rates than the southeastern United States.
I believe Montana and the Bitterroot Valley provide rather good models for understanding the world’s environmental issues. Although the landscapes seem rather pristine in natural beauty there does exist visible climate change, loss of biodiversity and the other issues I mentioned above. This results in many social and economic security issues which are also extremely evident throughout many Montana towns and counties.