Bitterroot Valley vs. the World

As listed in the reading, many of the Bitterroot Valley’s environmental problems are as follows: “increasing scarcity and decreasing quality of water, locally and seasonally poor air quality, toxic wastes, heightened risks from wildfires, forest deterioration, losses of soil or of its nutrients, losses of biodiversity, damage from introduced pest species, and effects of climate change” (Diamond 32). Having just two or three of these problems could have a profound impact on both the people living there and the future of the environment. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), nearly every one of these problems appears to be caused either directly or indirectly by people, rather than them being historical in nature. How could these problems potentially be solved? Move all of the people out or force changes in their collective behavior to be more sustainable. Certainly not everything could be fixed by this. Much of the water scarcity and high fire risk is simply due to Montana’s weather. However, there is still hope for attempting to solve many of the problems the Bitterroot Valley faces.

Yes and no. The Bitterroot Valley does face many of the same challenges listed above as other places around the world. This could give us a good idea of how these problems perhaps work together and if they have similar specific causes. However, Montana is still Montana, and that means it is its own environment with its own climate and ecosystem. It is not like every other place in the world, nor are there many places around the world like it. It’s great for comparing to other similar environments, but in my opinion, only vaguely acceptable as a grand image of how the entire world works.