Montana, like the rest of the world, has its issues, environmental and otherwise. Montana’s environmental issues include toxic waste, soil, forests, water, air, climate change, biodiversity loss, and introduced pests. These issues are present in the whole country but are particularly noticeable in Montana. All of these issues, while they are current, are also seen through history. For example, toxic waste can be seen as an issue throughout recent history in Montana. Diamond points out that there has been a lot of mining in Montana. He continues to explain how this mining has caused issues in the toxic runoff. Despite the contrast in the types of present problems, they are all intertwined. Mining is a reason for toxic waste issues and also one cause for forest problems. Diamond explains that lumber was taken from the Bitterroot Valley in order to build houses for miners. This is only one way the issues are webbed together. Despite the fact they have been present for years, proper steps have not been taken to address and correct the mistakes of the past. The issues Montana has faced for years are becoming more and more prevalent. As Montana’s population continues to rise, these issues will only continue to grow as well.
Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is a great example of the problems Montana is facing as the valley is home to each of them. Fire partially caused by climate change has stripped much of the valley of its forests, trees have been cut for lumber, toxic waste is present from mining, apple orchards have exhausted soil nitrogen levels, years of irrigation along with common droughts affect water, and introduced wildlife are easily found in the valley. This opportunity to study so many problems in one geographic location is one of a kind.