Bitterroot Conundrum


                The Bitterroot Valley located in southwestern Montana is, from the words of Jared Diamond, “a land of paradoxes.” The valley, before its destruction due to dozens of different causes, was classified as a “lush” environment, or a place that was deemed suitable for life. Therefore, Jared Diamond soon presses a target onto the territory for the past and very present environmental issues. The author gives reasons of “toxic wastes, forests, soil, water… climate change, biodiversity losses, and introduced pests” to support the topic of the Bitterroot Valley’s downfall. Furthermore, the very reason the land has declined in its once “lush” description is due to mankind. These problems have been seen in the past as much as they have been seen in the present. In previous, similar scenarios, mankind has simply moved onto another land once they have stripped its resources, thus leaving it to either stay barren or to replenish itself. In this case, however, the Bitterroot Valley serves society in more ways than one; logging, mining, valuable species, water—even booming apple orchards, which makes them, in every way, historical in nature.


                I believe the Bitterroot Valley is a good candidate for discussing the world’s environmental issues. Looking into the issue, we see a rise and fall in natural production rates of mankind’s necessities, and whilst mankind strips the land, also leaves it troubled with intense problems. Diamond states that the amount of damage done to the land is far less intense than other situations around the globe, yet he also states that we as a society will not know whether or not Montana’s environmental (and economical) issues will improve or worsen—instead, it’s simply up to the population.

1 thought on “Bitterroot Conundrum”

  1. Hi Kayla,
    First off, I would just like to say you did a great job constructing your initial post, and I found your closing statement to be the most informative. Not only do I agree that the fate of Montana is widely unknown, but the fact that it’s fate still lands in our hands was one of Diamond’s strongest claims. With this being said, however, you also claimed that mining and logging in the Bitterroot valley are historical in nature, which I’m not sure I agree with. While yes, both institutions have been around Montana for a while, can we truly call them historical compared to the things that have been in the area forever and aren’t man made? I just feel as though that’s a stretch, but a more defined time frame for the term “historical” would help determine though.

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