HST 207 – Blog Post
Mary Hill Young
At this point in time the Bitterroot valley, and many of the surrounding areas, are suffering from the same interconnected grouping of environmental issues: oil and gas companies, extractive mining and farming procedures, and deforestation. There are of course, a myriad of other contributing factors, but these few factors are the largest, most harmful, and overreaching of the industries at play here. Every single one of these issues has a deeply historical basis. The original European and immigrant settlers to the area had not learned, or not wanted to learn, any alternative to their invasive and extractive tactics they had always employed. This created a cultural trend that, in deeply traditional Montana, has continued to this day, despite its destructive nature.
The environmental issues that have plagued Montana are, while certainly not a microcosm for those that the world struggles with nonetheless offer intriguing parallels worthy of exploration. The most important parallel to be drawn is how human indifference to the environment and our own destructive habits sets us on an inevitable and downward spiral. The adherence to tradition, despite the consequences, that is clearly evident Montana’s economic and environmental downturn is also visible on the worldwide scale.