Environmental Issues in Montana and the World

There are many environmental issues in Bitterroot valley Montana, but the two most relevant to me are logging and mining. Logging not only looks terrible but also major environmental consequences. Clear cutting, which was the most common form of logging in Montana leaves no trees behind to shade the ground and rivers. Rivers being unshaded can cause issues at fish breeding grounds, similarly the ground being exposed causes snow to melt faster which can lead to increased runoff. Mining also is a problem for Bitterroot Valley, since it is near the Big Hole River, downstream from Butte’s Berkely pit and many other mining operations. Many of the operations are abandened, which leaves no one to clean up the mess from old mining operations. The runoff from mines can contain arsenic, copper, sulfuric acid and more. This runoff pollutes Montana’s rivers and can have devastating effects on our water supply and animals, like fish. There are many other issues in Montana and Bitterroot Valley such as climate change, forest fires, invasive species, population growth, and more. These issues are both problems caused in the past and in the present, and it up to us now to deal with the problems of the past and try to not cause more problems as we move forward.

Montana is a beautiful country and is known for having great air and lands, so using as a case study did seem counter intuitive at first. But even though it has low pollution when compared to other places, it still has it’s fair share of problems. Montana makes a great case study on climate change as the effects of it can be observed by looking at Glacier National Park. Just over 100 years ago there were over 150 glaciers all of which stood for thousands of years. Now there are only 35 and by 2030 there will be none. Montana also has problems caused by mining, which effects our rivers and our fishing, which many of us have a passion for. Montana isn’t a good case study because of any particular example of it’s environmental issues, it is because we love Montana and have a passion for Montana’s wilderness and beauty.

1 thought on “Environmental Issues in Montana and the World”

  1. I think that your overview of the types of environmental issues that Bitterroot Valley is facing was informative and compact, but also provided a few deeper details on how your main focuses (mining and logging) impacted the ecosystem in negative ways.

    However, and this became more obvious in the second paragraph, it appears that you never considered the “people” element. Both in the reading and later in class, a lot of emphasis was put on just how integral people are to how ecosystems change and develop over time. Diamond explicitly referenced how a lot of the rich moving into the area liked how attractive and plentiful the area was, but didn’t actually care how the factors they enjoy may hurt other parts of the ecosystem.

    You mentioned people loving Montana, and Montana having environmental issues, but never that those issues are, predominantly, caused by the very people who “love” it. So, while I don’t find fault with the argument you made, I do question why you chose to leave out such a crucial aspect of the issue.

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